The summertime family connection conundrum

Jun 20, 2019 11:14:05 AM / by Valerie Fulton


You have the best of intentions for keeping your parent and child group together during the summer, but once the rhythm of the school year ends and family vacations begin, it can be almost impossible to keep a group intact. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to help your group stay connected even when they aren’t meeting regularly for fun and family bonding.

Here are a few quick and easy ideas to share with your families to make sure the whole group feels supported and encouraged, even when you’re not together:

Vacation Videos

Whether you create a dedicated sharing space on social media or just great a group chat of your own, inviting group members to share short videos of their summer adventures can strengthen the bonds you’re building. Start with a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:


  • Have each family post a video of their first trip to the beach or their first ice cream cone of the summer.
  • Create a video scavenger hunt and ask everyone to find the same short list of items: A pink car, a beach ball, a highway sign, a popular gathering place in your town, etc. Ask families to shoot a short video of themselves enjoying their outing and letting the group know what they’re up to.
  • Share book suggestions by asking families to record themselves reading one of their favorite stories and posting the video to the group.

Where's the Bear?

Choose a stuffed animal “mascot” for the summer—a bear, a dolphin, a bunny, or one of your favorite Frolic characters. Then create a schedule that gives each family in your group a chance to keep the mascot for one week during the summer. Encourage families to take the mascot with them on their family outings and to share pictures or video of their adventures with the group.


Be sure to keep track of who has the mascot and help facilitate the handoff to the next family each week.


Help families celebrate all the ways their little ones are growing and changing during the summer by inviting them to share stories, photos, or videos of some fun and silly milestones. Make a list (or borrow the one below) or encourage families to offer ideas for moments to celebrate.

Have families share their child’s:

  • First mud pie
  • First time feeding the ducks
  • Shortest visit to the zoo
  • Funniest reaction while watching fireworks
  • Most creative napping location
  • Least favorite food
  • Footwear of choice
  • Most colorful outfit they chose themselves


While there’s no substitute for being together as a group, using social media and other tools to help the adults in your group stay in contact and share their ups and downs during the summer can strengthen the bonds they’re creating. With a little effort, your group can come back in the fall feeling closer than ever.


Topics: General Ministry

Valerie Fulton

Written by Valerie Fulton

Valerie Fulton is a freelance writer and community college instructor whose blogs, articles, and web content have appeared in sites and publications as diverse as Movoto, the University of Tennessee, JumpbyDesign, and Peak Corporate Network. Drawing on her 30 years of experience in education, she is set to launch an academic summer camp for girls on her historical property in coastal Maine. She lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter and two standard poodles, Hazy and Astro.


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