Tween-Friendly Christmas Activities

Remember the days when your little girl wore footie pajamas and pigtails? As our daughters grow older, they may no longer listen for reindeer on the roof, but they still value Christmas traditions and quality family time. Here are some ideas for making this Christmas season special for your growing tween.


Cake for breakfast—Girls love to bake! Invite your daughter to bake and decorate a birthday cake for Jesus. Then serve it for breakfast on Christmas morning!


Secret St. Nick—Give your tween a small budget for “secret” giving. Take her shopping and encourage her to pick out little gifts and goodies for neighbors or friends at school, then help her deliver them anonymously. Watch as she learns the joy of selfless giving!


Outdoor sports—Go ice skating, skiing, or sledding as a family. If you live in a warmer climate, go hiking or swimming over Christmas break. These simple family outings are often a child’s favorite memories over the years.


Crafty Christmas—Have fun searching Pinterest together for tween-friendly crafts such as these wooden stick snowflakes or no-sew holiday throw pillows. If you’re truly ambitious, consider selling your creations and giving the money to a ministry or charity of your daughter’s choice.


Decorate!—Buy colorful lights and string them around your daughter’s bedroom or homework area. Take her shopping at a home goods store to choose a few fun winter décor pieces she can add to the household decorations. This will encourage her love of design and give her a sense of ownership in your home.


Lights, camera, action—Encourage your daughter to create a Happy New Year video where she can highlight blessings from the past year, say thank you for the gifts she received, and share her goals for the coming year. Then send the video to friends and family as a special greeting from your tween.


However you choose to spend this holiday season, be sure to thank God for the gift of a growing daughter. Each day she is one step closer to becoming the woman God designed her to be!

Choosing extra-curricular activities: 5 questions to ask


Choosing extra-curricular activities

It’s August.

And that means (brace yourself) school is right around the corner. Feel free to cheer or cringe or both!

However you may feel about the coming close of summer, prepare yourself, because along with school comes a host of decisions to be made about extra-curricular activities.

If we don’t stop and think about them for even five minutes, we moms soon find ourselves agreeing to a myriad of obligations that drain ourselves, our budgets, and our kids, sometimes for the sole reason that our daughter’s friends are “all” doing the same routine of exhausting activities.

But then again, should we become nay-sayers to every opportunity that comes along, we’ll find our daughters frustrated, bored, and perhaps missing out on some great possibilities.

How can we find some middle ground? How can we develop our daughter’s interests and talents while staying sane and teaching them life balance?

Here are five questions to ask yourself, your husband, and your daughter as you decide what extra-curriculars to get involved in this upcoming school year.

1. Do we have the resources for this activity?

Take a few minutes to calculate what kind of time commitment this activity (or combination of several activities) will require. Does it fit into your life? Will it mess up naptime for young children, family dinnertime, a reasonable bedtime? Can your family function well as you come and go from this extra-curricular?

Also, what kind of money is involved? Are there hidden costs? Trips? Meals? Uniforms? Shoes? Instruments? Figure out if your budget can handle this expense along with the regular expenses of the school year.

2. Is this activity building skills in my daughter’s life or just filling time?

Maybe your daughter needs to explore her talents. If this is something she’s really interested in learning, great! If she already shows signs of possessing this ability and wants to develop it further, even better! But if this activity is just a time-filler, think twice about signing up. There may be better ways for her and you to use your energy.

3. What kind of people will influence my daughter?

Consider the reputation of the coach/teacher/leader. Will they be emphasizing good values, attitudes, and principles as they lead your daughter? Also, consider the peers surrounding your daughter in this activity. Do they have a reputation for decent conversation and attitudes? What is the general tone in this group?

As you evaluate the atmosphere of each activity, also ask yourself how well your daughter does in that kind of setting. Is she competitive? A leader? A follower? Easily discouraged?

This may be one of the biggest factors in your decision-making, since your job as a mom is to be the gateway, deciding who and what pours into the life of your child.

4. What are we giving up for this activity?

Are you forfeiting much-needed rest? Sanity? Family time? Church? Or are you exchanging boredom, laziness, and time that would have otherwise been wasted? Every decision you make embraces one thing while letting go of another.

5. How does my daughter thrive?

Think about what’s truly best for your daughter overall. Is she an introvert? Does she need more alone time to recharge? Does she need space and quiet in order to produce her best school work, attitudes, and develop her walk with God? Or is your daughter more extroverted, needing lots of interaction with others to stimulate her intellectually, emotionally, and even spiritually?

What does the big picture look like for your daughter? Even if she loves socializing and plenty of activity, does this year hold more challenging academics? Does she need to be held back from excessive activity because of particular challenges your family is going through? On the other hand, if your daughter is extremely introverted, does she need a moderate amount of pushing to reach out and make friends and develop skills?

After considering these five areas (and maybe a few extra areas of your own), have a conversation with your husband and your daughter.

Ask for their input. Ask your daughter to prioritize the activities she loves the most. Let her know that saying “no” is an important life skill. Everyone has to learn their personal limits.

Lastly, pray together for wisdom.

Ask God for guidance in your extra-curricular activities. He wants to protect you from exhaustion this year, and He also very likely wants to use you and your daughter in the lives of others as He grows and develops each of you.

He alone knows what is truly best for you, so seek Him, and have a wonderful year of rest and activity!

by Jennifer Ebenhack

Top 10 Summer Activities for Your Tweens

Summer-Activites-for-TweensSummer is here!

This break is something your girls have been looking forward to for months. You, on the other hand, may not look forward to summer with as much excitement. The time off requires a LOT of additional prepping and planning for parents.

There are many great resources around the web outlining fun summer activities for your girls. We’ve compiled our top 10 below!

10. Get a Job
Instill values of independence, discipline, and responsibility by encouraging your tween to work this summer. Now is a great time to help out around the house, babysit, look after a neighbor’s pets, walk dogs, wash cars, open a lemonade stand, sell handmade crafts – or anything else your enterprising young girls can think of!

9. Update A Room
As our girls transition from one grade to the next, we have to accept that they are growing up! Does their room reflect their maturing taste? If not – head over to Pinterest and look for new room inspirations for your girls. Need a starting place? Check out our Redo Your Room board. If you want even more inspiration – check out our Redo Your Room book!

8. Plan Outdoor Movie Nights
Get together with neighbors and work to set up a projector, speakers and family-friendly movie. Really amp up the space with comfy seating, string lights and popcorn! Click for more creative ways to dress up the space!

outdoor movie

7. Volunteer
What causes are important to your family? Reach out to organizations in your area to inquire about opportunities for your girls to serve. Animal shelters and food banks often have tasks for younger volunteers. Through their service, your girls will learn valuable lessons of sacrifice, humility and caring for others.

6. Host a Board Game Tourny
Help your faithgirlz plan a fun-filled day at home. (This is a great option if there are a lot of rainy days in the forecast.) If you don’t have a huge collection of board games, ask friends to bring over one or two of their favorites. Be sure everyone knows the rules for each game and then roll the dice or pick a card to see who gets to select the first game.  For bonus points: If your girls are especially creative – encourage them to create their own game!

Game Pieces

5. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
What is one thing you’ve always wanted to see in your area? Plan a quick day trip or outing to visit a unique landmark, attraction or eatery. Take this idea to the next level by dressing up as tacky tourists! Fanny packs required.

4. Pick a Book to Read Together – and take time to talk about it!
We are BIG advocates of summer reading… and so is our spokesperson Natalie Grant! Together, we’ve developed a great list of Faithgirlz! titles to recommend for your tween. We encourage you to pick one or two to read with your girls. These books are great conversation starters and can lead to some incredible chats about faith. Read up on Natalie’s summer reading suggestions here!


3. Create and Bury a Time Capsule
Identify special mementos that will help your faithgirl remember 2015. Include items to represent her best friend, secret crush (if she has one!) and her favorite Bible verse, class, band, song, sport to play, sport to watch, book, movie, actor and actress! Did you take a trip this year? Include a souvenir or ticket to remember a special family vacation or outing. Have fun with it – and only peek if she says it is okay!

2. Set Up Camp
Love the outdoors? Take an afternoon to create a campsite in your backyard. Grab some sleeping bags and enjoy a night out under the stars! Don’t have a tent? No worries! Get creative with blankets and sheets to make a colorful retreat. The benefits of camping at home? You have quick access to certain amenities (like a bathroom & kitchen) if you aren’t ready for the complete experience. Still seem like a stretch? If your girls aren’t the outdoorsy type – like mine – create a camp of sorts inside!


1. Get Moving
Get your girls off the couch! Summer is a great time to try new activities. Gather all the necessary safety gear and encourage your faithgirlz to meet their friends for a bike ride, test out their roller blades, take a swim, paddle board or canoe on a nearby lake… anything to stay active (and tear them away from spending all summer on the computer or binge watching TV shows on Netflix). Just be sure to set parameters on where they can go, when to be back and who they can go with, etc. Use these ideas to give your girls a memorable, safe and FUN summer!


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