Last week I wrote about the difference family dinners can make in a child’s life and listed 13 ways to make dinners even more appealing and fun.
Here are some additional ideas.
1. Let the kids themselves help with dinner. Young children can add ingredients to a salad or stir a sauce. Older kids may be able to make the entire dinner without help. Give them opportunity to go for it! (Be encouraging even if the peas are a bit overdone and cookies a bit crumbly.)
2. Cover the table with a white paper tablecloth. Plan a dinner without words. All communication is done by marker on the tablecloth.
3. Get the conversation going with a fun question. If you had to eat the same food for every meal during the coming year, what would that meal be? What Bible character would you like to invite for dinner? What skill or talent do you wish you had? If you wrote a book about your life, what would you call it?
4. Say a verse. Give everyone opportunity to say the verse/verses they plan to say in Awana that week. And Dad and Mom – you can learn verses, too.
5. Plan an alphabet meal. Write each letter of the alphabet on a separate piece of paper. Put the pieces into a box and pull out one letter. (You could save the rest for another time.) Let’s say, you chose R. Plan your meal around the letter. Roast beef, rolls, ravioli, radishes, raisins, etc.
6. Guest Bible Character. Dad, Mom … or teen (this is a great way to involve your older kids) dresses up as a Bible character. (This could be as simple as wearing a bathrobe, sandals, etc.) The person comes to the table as that character. The “actor” stays in character during the entire meal, answering questions according to his/her experiences and sharing some of the adventures he/she has had. To make this a true learning experiences, the “actor” should do research, learning not only about the character’s biography, but also about the culture of the day and how that impacted the experiences of the person. You could have a lot of fun with this and it could also be a great learning experience.
7. What would you say? Ask your kids what they would say in different situations. This could be funny such as what you would say if you had to explain to the police that you had a whale in your tub. But you could also do more serious situations such as: What would you say if someone asked you to try drugs? Or, what would you say if someone told you the Bible wasn’t true? On the more serious questions, guide your kids into developing strong, clear answers.
8. The meal of shapes. Now that you’ve done a color meal and an alphabet meal, have a shape meal. Perhaps circles? Chicken nuggets, peas, grapes, tater tots, etc.
9. Ask your kids to make a centerpiece celebrating the season.
10. Celebrate the birthday of someone from history or celebrate their invention:
William Morrison – Cotton Candy
Joel Houghton – Dishwasher
Johaan Vaaler – Paper Clip
11. Eat by candlelight.
12. Eat by flashlight – each person holding their own.
13. Eat outside – even if the weather ISN’T summery and warm.