Faith-based Ideas for a Fun Summer

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Visit a local shrine or find one near your vacation spot. Here is the author’s family at the living Rosary of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Two Inlets, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Sarah Damm.

Two weeks from today is my children’s last day of school. Summer is right around the corner. While sifting through summer camp brochures and swim lesson schedules, I wonder how to intertwine our Catholic faith into our summer plans. With a break from religion classes and youth group meetings, how can I help my family keep connected to our faith in fun ways?

Here are seven ideas to keep our faith alive and active this summer. Perhaps some of these ideas will inspire your family, too!

Add in Prayer. Summer provides more flexibility, but that does not mean we should take a break from our relationship with God. In fact, summer allows more opportunity for prayer. As a family, why not add at least one daily Mass, if not more, into the summer schedule? Other ideas include adding an additional Rosary to family prayer time, scheduling a weekly family Bible study, or signing up for a summer holy hour with older children.

Attend Vacation Bible School. Every summer, I enroll my children in our parish’s VBS, and I often try to find one additional program at a neighboring parish or school. VBS is a fun week of Bible stories, songs, crafts and friendship. Plus, VBS is usually a very affordable option that the entire family can enjoy.

Host a Staycation. If there is not a parish near you that offers VBS, why not host your own? Holy Heroes publishes Summer Faith Adventure, which is an at-home Catholic VBS. They provide affordable materials to teach children about the Church, Bible and sacraments. Add some fun snacks, and you are all set for a fun week of faith-based learning!

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Photo courtesy of Sarah Damm.

Visit a Shrine. Wherever you are traveling this summer, consider adding a visit to a shrine, cathedral or other Catholic site to your itinerary. Two years ago, when my family took a weeklong trip to Northern Minnesota, I searched online for Marian shrines. I was pleasantly surprised to find a replica of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes right in my own state! One day, on our way to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, we took a detour and spent some time at this beautiful shrine. There, I renewed my consecration to Jesus through Mary, and our family prayed a decade of the Rosary on “living” Rosary beads. Search online to find a Catholic shrine or historic church near your home or vacation destination, and add it to your itinerary.

Pack It. On your family’s road trip, or even as you run from soccer camp to the library, make sure to have faith-based CDs to listen to in the car. Holy Heroes has produced some outstanding saint dramas that are available for download or on CD. In addition, Cat Chat CDs teach different elements of the faith in a radio-show format. Children will enjoy listening to these, and parents will appreciate the quality of what their children are learning.

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Planting a Mary garden can be a fun, faith-filled activity for the entire family. Photo courtesy of Sarah Damm.

Plant a Mary Garden. After I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, I wanted nothing more than to place a statue of Our Lady in our yard. I do not have a green thumb, so my mom agreed to help me create a garden around my Mary statue. Now, it is one of my favorite parts of my house—inside and out! Mary gardens have been part of our Catholic tradition for a long time. They can be elaborate or simple, depending on your gardening skills. A Mary garden can even be created in large flowerpots by adding a small statue or holy card of Our Blessed Mother among the flowers.

Don’t Forget You. As we focus on making sure our children have a fun summer, it’s important not to neglect our own spiritual growth. This summer, make it a priority to read at least one faith-enriching book. Starting June 6, CatholicMom.com will be reading Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You by Sonja Corbitt. Perhaps you will join us, as we read just one chapter per week through August 1. This is a very doable way to read and grow in our faith. Stay tuned to the CatholicMom.com Web site for more information!

As we continue planning a fun summer for our families, hopefully these simple ideas will inspire all of us to incorporate our Catholic faith into our plans. How will you intertwine faith-based activities into your summer schedule? Please share your ideas below.

Copyright 2015 Sarah Damm.
Photos copyright Sarah Damm. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, cooking meals and helping with homework. She and her husband Greg strive to weave the Catholic faith into their daily lives as well as into their family celebrations. Sarah blogs at sarahdamm.com. In addition to CatholicMom.com, she also is a contributor for WINE: Women in the New Evangelization.

7 Comments

  1. VBS has been a part of our summer schedule for many years. My 16 year old began as a camper, and now is a volunteer leader. My ten year old is still a camper and enjoys seeing her faith formation classmates. I highly recommend it. I also use Holy Heroes lent, advent, and summer activities and videos. I like the ideas you listed, especially attending daily mass. Something so simple can be so meaningful. We also will be busy praying for closure at a local abortion clinic that just opened in our town this summer.

    • Thanks for your comment, Martha! This year, my 12yo gets to be an assistant at VBS, and she is excited! I remember when she was the only one of my 6 children old enough to attend VBS, and now she’s too old! Ha!! And yes, the simple things can be so meaningful … We don’t need to make things complicated, that’s for sure! And what a beautiful way to put your faith into action by praying for the closure of the abortion clinic. That will be something your children will remember always! And a great reminder for all of us that perhaps we can incorporate some acts of service into our summer schedule! God bless you and your family!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    My name is Maureen Lodoen, and I’m the Communications Manager at a brand new Minneapolis nonprofit called the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). Our mission is to help Catholic elementary schools achieve and maintain excellence while increasing student enrollment. Our approach is to share innovative ideas, sound business practices, proven strategies and financial resources to help meet each school’s specific business and academic needs.

    If you would like to learn more about us, here’s a link to our website: https://cscoe-mn.org/. Also, we recently published the first issue of our bimonthly magazine: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9EKD2UDCaDZUjNMVjFCQWRYb1k/view. I’m not sure if your kids attend Catholic school, but if they do, then you may have already seen our magazine around your school/parish.

    I’m reaching out because I came across this blog post, and I absolutely loved it! I would love to add a blog about Catholic education and helpful information for parents to our CSCOE communications strategy, and I’m wondering if you would have any interest in writing for us. If you’d like to chat more, please contact me via email. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks, Sarah!

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