Are you looking to make the most out of summer with your family? Are you interested in deepening your faith? Summers can be long for families with kids home from school. Sometimes the days can stretch on, and sometimes we hear early in the day requests for screen time or hear the words, “I’m bored.” As families, we want to make the most of our days together.

I only have a toddler now, but I’m already thinking about how to make the most of this and future summers. And I’m a person who loves lists.

So, I decided to make a summer to-do list for myself and my family. Nothing specific—just a set of guidelines for our time together including some learning and faith formation.

Summer to-do

Get into words

Summer is a great time to immerse ourselves in words and stories. This includes trips to the library. This includes quiet reading time and reading together. There’s picture books and chapter books and biblical stories. Whenever we read together, we’ll remember the Word that was in the beginning and will be forever, the Word that inspires us and compels us to keep reading and learning. Sparkhouse Publishing has many great books and activities for all ages.

Get into water

Whether it’s getting the sprinkler out or going to your local pool, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off during the summer. In the water, we can remind our children that they are loved, called and claimed as God’s beloved. We can shower our kids with water reminding them of their baptism. We have a water table in our yard that provides a reprieve from the heat and a chance to splash one another marking the sign of the cross on our foreheads.

Get to the table

Summer is ideal for picnics and casual meals as a family. Eat at least one meal together a day. Sit around the table or outside for a picnic. As a family, share in reflecting on your day and engaging your faith through Faith5. Faith5 is a simple way to deepen faith as a family through sharing, reading, talking, praying and blessing.

Get into culture and history

We live in a town of 1,000, so visiting museums and art galleries takes some planning on our part, but it’s a worthwhile task. Pick a day this summer and visit a museum or art gallery. Immerse yourself in beauty, inspiration, creativity, and history. Write a poem about what you see. Or sketch what you find. With the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation approaching, see if you can find an exhibit about German history or art.

Get in community

Summer is all about neighbors, family, and friends; long nights on the porch; cold lemonade; catching fireflies. Invite your neighbors to join you for conversation outside. Order pizza or grill for some friends. Meet at the park for a playdate. Arrange a time to walk with neighbors. Sit and be present to those who are in your community. Savor the long days and a star-filled night with others.

Get rest

Think about taking time each week for sabbath rest. Real rest. Reflect on God’s call for all of creation to rest. Read the story of creation together and see how this rhythm of work and rest is designed for our benefit. Take one day a week and turn off all the screens and phones. Be present to one another. Rest. Play. Pray.

Cheers to a summer of days together enjoying the gift of family.


Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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