August 05, 2021 3 min read

Finding Jesus in everyday life: 5 simple tips for fun, meaningful family devotions

By Brittany Carlson


Of all of the family devotions I had as a kid, the one that stands out to me the most happened during Hurricane Bob in 1991. I was 5 years old, and when the hurricane hit my home state of RI, my Dad was out in it as a photographer for the state newspaper. I remember going down to the basement with my Mom and younger sister during a power outage, and watching my mom light a candle. She told us that just as the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it, Jesus is the light of the world. (John 1:5)


Looking back, what strikes me most about this simple devotion is that it didn’t take a whole lot of planning or preparation. It was a natural reaction for my Mom to talk about Jesus to us, even in the midst of uncertainty and scary circumstances. It happened not because she purchased a special devotional book, but because she made teaching us about God through all of life’s situations a priority in our home. 


Of course, there are great family devotional books and children’s devotional books, (and our family favorites are listed at the bottom of this article). 


But really, I believe the best family devotions happen in the natural course of family life, if parents are willing to pause what they are doing and take advantage of teachable moments. Here are a few ways to make simple Bible story time into a fun family devotion:


  1. Act it out. After you tell the kids a Bible story, invite them to act it out. My boys (ages 6 and 4) love to do this, especially with the addition of some simple costumes (think a sheet or towel for a headdress, or a paper crown for a king). Even without the costumes, the kids love acting out stories in different roles, and it helps them retain the story much better. 


  1. Put on a Bible story puppet show. You don’t need real puppets for this; I use stuffed animals from my kids’ rooms and get behind a couch or put a sheet over a couple of chairs for the stage. My kids ask me to repeat a puppet show over and over.


  1. Use everyday situations as the theme. Are the kids fighting a lot? Talk about Matthew 5:9 (“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”) and invite them to discuss what it means to be a peacemaker. Can they think of when they or someone else was a peacemaker? Why is being a peacemaker important to God? 


  1. Go outside. Enjoying God’s creation is a natural place to talk about God. Check out the details on a leaf and talk about how intricately God made his creation. Look at the ocean or mountains and talk about how big and mighty God is. 


  1. 5. Make your life a continuous devotional. Some of our best family discussions about God stem from bringing God into daily situations my husband and I face as parents. I try to talk as openly as possible to my kids about how my relationship with God impacts what I do. When I’m sad or I don’t feel well, I’ll invite the kids to pray for me. When I’m upset, I’ll sometimes pray out loud, asking God to give me peace and help me. Of course I don’t always do this and I make many mistakes, but my hope is that I can show my kids how to invite God into the details of their lives. 


If you are looking for more ways to have family devotions with your kids, without a lot of advanced planning or purchasing, I hope these tips help inspire you. Teaching kids about God does not need to be complicated. Also, be encouraged: if you love God and invite him to be part of your life, you are giving your kids a wonderful gift. They will see God’s light in you. 


Devotions we love:

“My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts” by Susan Hunt. This one is great for very young kids. It has a verse for every letter of the alphabet, with a story. We love to go through this one in the summer. 


“Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God & Science” by Louis Giglio. This one is for slightly older kids. My 6-year-old really enjoys learning the science behind God’s creation in this one. 


“Love Does for kids” by Bob Goff. This one is great for kids of all ages, and has great stories of practical ways to show God’s love to others.

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