We parents love displaying our kids’ artwork. It doesn’t matter if the crayon-sketched house is lopsided or if Daddy’s eyes are slightly crossed, whatever our child has created prompts us to praise our child. Wow, we say, you made that!
So should be our response when we step outside: Wow, God, you made that!
Blossoms, trees, sunsets, storms – all bear evidence of a creator. Yet we are often too rushed, unaware, or irritated with the weather to notice ways in which creation beckons us to give God praise.
Young children are wonderful at helping us return to a sense of wonderment. Follow their lead and simply look around. Pause. Ponder. What do goodness do you see, hear, smell, and feel in God’s creation? Voice your praise out loud so your children know they can as well:
I’m so glad God gave lilacs such a delightful scent.
How clever of God to make tree branches grow leaves in the summer to shade us.
God sure did an amazing job when he made the moon. Looking at it reminds me how big and holy he is.
Praising God through his creation can become as natural as saying, ‘Well done!’ when your child shows a piece of her handiwork. Here are some ideas, with a corresponding verse, to get you and your family started:
Cloud gaze. Spread out a blanket and use your imagination to find pictures. Guess which cloud is going to bump where. Imagine what it would be like to be a bird. Contemplate heaven. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
Treasure walk. Take a walk (even if it’s merely down the street) and look for God-made treasures: a leaf, a rock, or a feather. With your child, examine the design details. Say, ‘Isn’t our God creative!’ “Teach [God’s words] to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road…” (Deuteronomy 11:19)
Nature sketch. Set out with paper and pencil and sketch a flower or tree. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
Collect sticks. Help your child spell out his name with twigs. Make a fort for a snail. Older kids could lay sticks to design a dreamhouse floorplan or find a sturdy walking stick to paint. “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)
Press flowers. Pick flowers or find petals. Place them between kitchen roll and press them in a heavy book. See how many colours or varieties you can collect. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Look for tree faces. Whilst walking, keep an eye out for faces in trees. Snap a picture when you find one. Have fun assigning names and personalities. “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” (Psalm 96:12)
For older kids/teens:
Photo scavenger hunt walk. See how many different animals, or flowers, or nature shots they can capture on their phone. Or prepare a list of specific things to find and set off as a group or in teams. “For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” (Psalm 95:3-5)
Create a garden centerpiece. Encourage the kids to assemble rocks, flowers, twigs, and houseplants to make a creation centerpiece for your table. For the mealtime prayer, thank God for specific things you enjoy in his creation. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
For a rainy day:
Funniest looking animal contest: See who can find a picture of the funniest looking (or acting) animal. The platypus alone suggests God must have a sense of humour! The world outside our doorstep begs us to recognise and praise the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of creators. Now get out there and enjoy it!