Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! Click here to check out all the posts in the series.
As I’ve been putting together the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series, I’ve been surprised by how many resources there are for this topic – particularly resources I’ve never heard of!
Here’s a big list of books, videos, web sites, and games to help as you do Global Missions with Kids…
1. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert // an excellent tool for answering questions like, “should I give money to people begging for it?” and all sorts of other poverty dilemmas. This is a book to read by yourself or with teenagers (not for young kids).
2. Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation by Jason Mandryk// Operation World provides detailed information and prayer requests for every country around the world. It is worth purchasing!!! (Limited information from the book is available on the Operation World web site too.) We go through this book as a family (when we remember!), and I just skim and edit so it’s appropriate/short enough for our young kids.
3. Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone // a kid-friendly companion resource to Operation World featuring full-color photos and prayers for 92 countries. The link is to Sonlight, which sells it new, or you can check Amazon for used copies.
5. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-term Missions with Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore// If you have questions about short-term mission trips, or about the “ethics” of missions in general, this is a wonderful, simple read to think through some of the deeper issues regarding missions (like avoiding the “great American savior” mentality and other cultural blunders.)
6. God’s Love for You Bible Storybook // This beautiful storybook by the president of World Vision tells Bible stories while also tying in our world today through sidebars and special features.
7. The Just Like Me series// These books are lovely, with full-color photographs and interesting info. They were sponsored by UNICEF and I would guess they’ll be available at your local library. The books are best for elementary-age children… my three-year-old isn’t very interested unless I sit and discuss everything with her. Books in the series include Children Just Like Me, A School Like Mine, and A Life Like Mine.
8. Christian Heroes, Then and Now // This is a series about missionaries that came recommended to me by a friend on the Faith Passed Down facebook page. She said it’s “a great series to read aloud around grade 1 or on own around grades 3 and up.” Thanks, Michele!
9. Crazy Love by Francis Chan// If you haven’t read Crazy Love yet, I can’t recommend it enough! It’s a great wake-up call and has been formational for our family in determining to serve God and serve all nations. This would be a wonderful book to read as a family… though it’s certainly an advanced “chapter book,” I think you could talk about it even with young children. There are additional videos and resources on the web site, too.
10. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt // Like Crazy Love, Radical would be a great book to read as a family. It has practical action steps at the end of the book that would be wonderful to implement with your children. I loved reading through Radical several years ago with Marla Taviano’s blog… the posts can be viewed here if you want some additional insights on the book.
11. Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold- Climate Cultures by Sarah Lanier // If you ever interacted with people from other cultures and wonder why they have such a different time schedule as you or why they are so affectionate and you are not (or vice versa!)… this book is totally worth reading! It’s short and quick, but very helpful. I read it over two years ago and still find myself thinking about its concepts regularly. Your elementary-age or older children would likely enjoy the stories, and you could explain any of the deep concepts to them… in any case, definitely worth a read as an adult living in a global world.
12. Adelina Aviator by Jessica Vana // My friend, Jessica, wrote this children’s book, and it is one of our absolutely favorites. It follows the story of a little girl whose family is getting ready to serve overseas in mission aviation. It’s inspiring, touching, and a fun story, too! There’s more information about the book at MKs Rock.
Videos and Radio Programs
12. Kids on Mission Media // You can view free videos at this web site, sponsored by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
13. Torchlighters DVDs // These animated DVDs highlight missionaries and Christians persecuted for their faith around the world like Jim Elliot, William Tyndale, Richard Wurmbrand, St. Augustine, and Corrie ten Boom.
14. Adventures in Odyssey Adventure Club // Adventures in Odyssey is a popular Christian kids’ radio show, intended for ages 8 to 12. (Though I’ll admit I went to bed listening to Odyssey even as a college student!!) The Adventure Club provides access to hundreds of Odyssey episodes, including several about missions, particularly the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship.
15. Weave Family // I only recently discovered Weave Family, a total gem of a site for global missions as a family. There are wonderful ideas like this Advent chain for praying for the nations. They have a comprehensive and well put together list of all sorts of resources for global missions as a family, particularly resources for sale. If you’re looking for even more ideas for books, games, or materials, check out their list!
16.World map coloring pages// These coloring pages from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Mission Friends site are great. You can also sign up for a free Mission Friends account for a downloadable curriculum and activities. I appreciate the colorful maps and cute characters on this site!
17. Kids of Courage// Sponsored by Voice of the Martyrs, this web site focuses on persecuted Christians around the world. If you register for free on their web site, there are several activity books to download.
18. Kids on Mission // a resource from the Southern Baptist International Mission Board featuring downloadable activity pages.
19. Wycliffe Bible Translators // This site has a number of wonderful downloadable resources. The web page is a little strange to navigate, with many images on one single page, but if you click on the links underneath each description, you can download all sorts of different resources. I took a peek at the Bright Ideas preschool ideas and they are wonderful!
20. Mission Aviation Fellowship has a free activity book download, along with info about the Adventures in Odyssey Adventure Club mentioned above.
Classes & Experiences
21. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement // an excellent course available throughout the world, covering God’s view of the world as described in Scripture, along with historical, cultural, and strategic factors in missions. If you are looking for an in-depth class on missions, this is great! Teenagers and adults will appreciate this course… some classes offer child care for kids.
22. Perspectives Family Journey // free curriculum for families to use that coincides with the themes of the Perspectives course… we’ve been going through this as a family and I love it. More on this in the days to come!
23. The Compassion Experience // Our family visited the Compassion Experience when they came to our town earlier this year, and it was wonderful. They have trailers that tour the country, set up with four experiential walk-throughs areas. You listen to someone’s story on an iPod, walking through different rooms to see their journey through poverty. It’s a wonderful, realistic, hands-on experience for kids. We have two little ones (baby and age 3) and we were able to make it through three of the areas before they melted down. It wasn’t too intense for my 3 year old, but we didn’t have her listen to the iPod… just explained the story.
24. Step Into My Shoes curriculum // This week Compassion graciously sent me a free Step Into My Shoes family toolkit, and I am so excited to start! I’ve been poking through the box and it looks wonderful, with high quality lessons and simple idea for families and churches to use in teaching children about world poverty. I’ll be sharing more next week about this excellent resource. It’s designed toward elementary-age kids, but they have suggestions for how to adapt it for preschoolers and teenagers.
Learning about Specific Countries
25. Continent boxes // If you are looking to study specific countries, the Montessori concept of Continent Boxes is a great place to begin. Basically, you put together shoeboxes or tubs with photos, maps, and knick-knacks, from each of the continents. If you Google “continent boxes” you’ll come up with many resources for studying the world (though not necessarily religious ones) . One of my favorite Continent Box pages is from 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. I especially love her Continent Box challenge idea. Even if you choose not to use the Continent Box method, you can still find some good resources and ideas.
26. Missions Packages // Kids on Mission has a number of these designed for individual countries around the world, featuring lesson plans for church group activities (like a church children’s ministry) and newsletters that can be printed for home use.
27. Country-specific activity books // Kids of Courage has downloadable activity books for a number of countries where Christians are persecuted.
28. Around the World from Your Living Room // Later this month, I’ll be introducing a resource I’m putting together featuring a meal, activity, and prayer for five different countries around the world. I hope you’ll consider purchasing it!
Toys and Games
29. eeboo I Never Forget a Face matching game // a memory game featuring faces of children from all over the world.
30. eeBoo world map // This map is perfect for kids! It has little pictures all over the map to show food, animals, and landmarks from those particular areas.
31. The eeBoo world map puzzle // This appears to be the same as the map listed above, but as a 100 piece puzzle.