Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nosy Postman in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country that is dear to our hearts. You see, we have precious Christian friends who come from there and they still even have family there. I see that Voice of the Martyrs featured Pakistan on their Kids of courage site for the month of June and I wish I had seen it sooner. Well, better late than never. Please have your children read about a Pakistani teenager named Sidra. After you read this story, please talk to them about what it must be like to be a believer there, and especially what it must be like to be a young person who loves Jesus in that country. Then, most importantly, have them pray for the children there. You can read the article here. If they've changed the article on the VOM site, it will be in archives. I'll try to catch it and move it to the archive link in a few days, but if I miss it you'll be able to find it through the link at the top of the page at the Kids of Courage site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unusual Playmates

Unusual playmates at a zoo! Wonder how these chicks got in there!?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homemade Children's Parties

There's something about children's parties you may not know, especially in our day: Your sons and daughters, of any age, can have just as much enjoyment at a party at home as they could at McDonald's, Chuckie Cheese, or any other place. Going on an outing to the skating rink or the like is great, but the contention here is that for their birthday party, home can be a fun place to have a fun time and for you, it could be at a fun price. If you don't teach them differently -- they won't know any better! It may cost you more time and effort, but less money, and this is a promise: it would be quite meaningful. Here are some suggestions for a good party:

1. Don't Leave God Out

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. This verse applies to a party as well as anything. If you think of ways to have the Lord be a part of your festivities, He will be pleased and you'll have the joy that comes when Christ is honored in the life of your family. If you child has a life verse, maybe that could be brought in somehow. If you put your mind to it, you'll find there are many creative ways that God's Word can be included. And don't forget party favors -- you can often include something spiritual there. A word of caution: don't overdo this, especially if there are children attending who come from unbelieving families, but do try and think of something to bring glory to God.

2. Have a Theme

There is something about having a theme that brings about excitement and anticipation. A theme enhances the enjoyment of party preparations and draws out the imagination and creativity of the birthday child, especially the older one. Usually, the theme of a party is a reflection of your child's interests; thinking up decorations, game and crafts will add even more pleasure to an already happy occasion. If you try it, you'll see.

3. Keep it Short

Two to two and a half hours is plenty of time to get everything in without allowing the goings on to get stale. In some cases, especially for children over ten, three hours will work out okay, especially if there's a meal, but seldom does it need to go any longer. No matter how much fun is being had, after two and a half hours or so, weariness sets in for all, and the likelihood of irritability and crossness increases. You want everyone to part in a good state of mind, and that usually can be accomplished more readily when the party is short and sweet.

4. Let Your Child Help

The older the host child, the more he or she can do. Who cares if everything isn't done perfectly? You'd even be surprised how much younger children can do (with just a bit more patience on your part), such as putting stickers on favor bags or sorting colored strips of paper for craft projects. Actually, learning can take place during party preparations. Be innovative about duties and how you can add them to the overall education process. As they mature, give them more and more responsibilities depending on their aptitudes. Eventually, they and their siblings can do almost all of it themselves and all you need to do is supervise!

5. Have Various Activities

Plan and be prepared. Make a list of several activities -- games, crafts, music, snacks, gift exchanges, whatever. Have plenty to fill the time, and even some extra things in case they're needed. Better to have more activities than needed in case something flops.

Hope in the future we can give you some ideas for themes and some other tips. We've had a lot of homemade parties at our house and loved ever minute of it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guess What?

Yes, "Guess What?" was another page we had on our site for children, and anybody else young in heart for that matter. That page was just for fun and to stretch the mind a bit. It was a page where we would periodically post a puzzler, riddle, or guessing game. This, too, will be a category on this blog rather than a page, with the benefit of being able to go back and read past posts. Also, now kids can make guesses right here via comments, if they would like to. We won't put the answer right away, to give chances for guesses, but if someone really wants to know an answer without waiting, they're welcome to email us (Use Speakables tab to get the email address) at any time and we'll get back to them pretty quickly with the answer.

This post is just to set up the category and to explain what it's all about. A puzzler or riddle will be coming soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Animal Crackers

Now this has been something of a challenge: what to do with the "Animal Crackers" page from our main site. Since it primarily was an activity for the youngsters, it was therefore another of the pages in the child's area, which means it needs to be moved here. We had lots of pictures of critters with clever captions (some from contests on my personal blog) and every so often a new one would be added. Most of them are cute and fun and it would be unheard of to not have them as a part of the family here at the new place.

So, I'm making this post to introduce the category so that we can add them, one at a time, until they're all here with us. Then when the current residents have all been added, we'll keep finding and adding more! To add the ones from the main site, all we'll do is make a post for each of the pictures and the caption without further comment. Then, they'll be in the archives under the category name, to which we'll link from the sidebar. Pretty ingenious, don't you agree? We'll spread this out over a few weeks or so.

You'll have to excuse us; we're an animal loving family, but as you may know, most kids love animals too. I have a category on my personal blog by the same name, because I enjoy writing about God's wonderful creatures and of course, our pets. It's fun when we find cute pictures of them too!


Here is the paragraph which we wrote to the children on that special page:

"Take a look at some cute critters. God made them all! Each of these pictures would be a good topic to write about. Think of a neat title and look up some facts about one kind of animal. Perhaps you can talk about the different species within that Biblical 'kind'; of animal. Make an outline and think up things you've found interesting about that part of God's creation. Maybe you could write a story. You could do a funny story or a serious one. Be creative!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Setting Things Up

I like Blogger's new template designer, and it's just in time for this new blog! We've put together a design which we think is just right for what we're all about--hope you like it too. We're working on setting up the new pages, including six of the seven "Speakables." We've decided that our Child of Courage writing activity will now be one of the categories on this site instead of a page, so that we can pick up stories from the Voice of the Martyrs site on different occasions and they can be archived here.

You will see the tabs for Speakables at the top. One is a general explanation, the rest will be the writing activities themselves. I don't know how often they'll get changed, it depends on so many factors. We just hope they'll be useful to folks from time to time. But we HOPE to be able to have another writing contest in the not too distant future. We enjoy them as much as the children do.

The Gems for Bright Gems is at the page with the tab entitled "Gems" (of course), and I hope to follow the same schedule of changing that one bi-monthly. If you're not familiar with the Gems devotional activity, click on the tab!

Also, we have one more page that we hope you'll read or have your kids read. It's the "A Gift" tab, which you might agree is appropriate for an SG site. But the gift talked about on that page is one of greater value than anything we offer for sale as a company. Please go read it when you can.

I guess that's it for now. I'll be back to say more after we have all the pages up.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Welcome to the new home of "Helping Children Grow," a ministry of Speakable Gifts, a family-run business which is dedicated to helping families live, and give, the message of Christ in and from their homes.

We've had writing activities for children posted at our main site for quite a few years now, and have called these activities "Speakables." Other than these writing projects, we also have had devotionals, as well as puzzlers for fun, and a periodic writing contest.

We're making quite a few changes at Speakable Gifts, adding new products and going in new directions, and it seemed fitting that our kids' section have it own place. So here we are. In the next post, we'll explain what we're doing and how we're going about it.