This Monday all the kids were back to school after a two-week school holiday. The holiday was amazing. We opened mornings and afternoons, did all kinds of fun stuff, had a skate contest, several visiting teams from the states come and do VBS camps, surf camps and more.
Our idea was to take some time during the two weeks to think and pray about what our regular hours are going to be after the holiday. We knew we needed a change, but just weren’t sure what was going to be best. Things were so busy, we never really had time to talk about it! Finally, Monday morning, Scott and I had to decide on what our scheduled hours would be. We talked for less than five minutes and turns out we both separately had been thinking the same thing. And it was decided as quick as that. So nice to be on the same page!
On Monday we had lots of fun with water color pencils. There’s lots of different ways to use them using paintbrushes and water. We also used them as face paint, which was fun! We introduced a new game as well – “Guess Who.” Do you remember that game? It’s a really great game because it involves some critical thinking skills. It’s been interesting to see the children try to learn and understand the game. From 7 year olds up to teenagers, it’s a little bit challenging for them to understand how to ask questions and through the process of elimination determine which character your opponent has.
Tuesday we made a giant marble run using some tubing. The kids got to experiment setting it up different ways and racing the marbles through, catching them in a tin can. This was really fun. As well as the marble run we made shiny corn syrup paint, which has a great sensation and is a neat medium to paint with.
Wednesday was another amazing day. We taught the kids some English – some basic phrases. The pronunciation is so difficult for the children. We used mini whiteboards with markers and the book “One Fish, Two Fish.” The next day I picked up a curved piece of PVC pipe at the hardware store. With this the children can listen to their own voice and it helps them with the pronunciation. It was fun to watch their reactions as they spoke through the tube back into their own ear!
A highlight from Thursday was sitting on a blanket reading stories to a boy who was having a lot of trouble playing games. I could see he needed to de-stress, so I pulled him away to relax and have a story time. “I don’t like books. I don’t know how to read,” he protested. But I convinced him and several others joined us to read a bunch of books together. Moments like that are priceless.
Friday was a super-fun day. Liz and Lisa, our interns, planned a water balloon fight – they even added a little paint inside the water balloons. It was an epic battle that ended in a huge water fight, screaming, laughter and joy. They created a waterslide at the park next door by shooting water down it and the kids flew down.
These are opportunities these children do not get in their homes or schools, and yet creativity and play are essential components of a healthy childhood. Nothing gives us greater joy than watching children come, relax, explore, be creative, improve their skating skills, stretch their brains in a fun way, build friendships and all in a safe, loving environment, modeling who Christ is to these children.
What a privilege!