Exploring Sabbath

What makes Sabbath the best day of the week? What else would you like your family to do on Sabbath? How can you enjoy helping to prepare food for Sabbath? Here are some fun ways to explore Sabbath with your family.

Karen Holford is the author of 100 Creative Activities for Sabbath, Pacific Press, 2006.

Editor's note: See the PDF for the accompanying pictures and activities (p. 24): 


Best Sabbath Ever

The Sabbath is a delight: Isa. 58:13 (NIV).

• What was the best Sabbath you ever experienced?

• What made it so special?

• Invite everyone to draw a picture or write a story of their best Sabbath ever.

• Show your pictures and tell why this Sabbath was so special.

• Make a list of what makes Sabbath delightful for your family. Then plan a really delightful Sabbath in the next month.

Sabbath Gift Bag Scavenger Hunt

Sabbath is a gift from God: Mark 2:27.

• Place a colorful gift bag on the table. Send your family on a scavenger hunt to find things that remind them how Sabbath is a special gift from God.

• Here are some ideas:

o A battery: Sabbath helps us to recharge our batteries.

o A clock or watch: Sabbath is time to spend with God and with each other.

o A candle: Sabbath is a light that guides us through our week.

o A treat: Sabbath is a delight.

o A feather: Sabbath is a day to explore nature and God’s creation.

o A heart: Sabbath is a day when we can help others.

o Hand lotion: Sabbath is soothing and comforting.

o A bottle of water: Sabbath is refreshing.

• What else can your family put in your Sabbath gift bag?

The Tough and the Sweet

Share the ups and downs: Rom. 12:15.

• Place a bowl of nuts and raisins on the table.

• Tell each other about the best thing that happened to you during the past week.

• After everyone has shared their “best things,” thank God for the good things that have happened and celebrate together by eating a few raisins. The raisins represent the sweetness of God’s goodness.

• Then tell each other about a challenge you will face in the week ahead.

• After each person has shared their challenge, eat some nuts together. The hard nuts represent the challenges that God can help us face. Pray that God will help you with these challenges.

A Recipe for Super Sabbaths

• What great ingredients would you include in a super Sabbath?

• Use colored paper and cut out simple fruit shapes.

• On each fruit shape write an activity you’d like to do with your family on Sabbath: a walk in the woods, a Bible treasure hunt, an adventure, helping others, an amazing praise service, an exciting children’s story, camping out, etc.

• Dream big and choose your favorite Sabbath “ingredients.”

• Collect all your “ingredients” in a large bowl, adding as many as you like. Then read the ideas and use them to inspire your future Sabbath plans.

Sabbath Crafts

Ex. 20:8-11; Isa. 58:13 (NIV).

• Gather all your best craft materials.

• Invite everyone to make something special to inspire your family to have wonderful Sabbaths.

• You might decorate candles or candle holders that you can use on Sabbath.

• Or design Sabbath placemats for your table. Arrange pictures and stickers on cardstock, then laminate the placemats to protect from spills.

Thank You for Sabbath

A Sabbath psalm: Ps. 136:1.

• Find all your best craft materials and pens.

• Design and make some amazing cards to thank God for making Sabbath for us. • Write a thank you message to God in your card.

• Share your cards with each other.

Sabbath Collage

Ex. 20:8-11; Isa. 58:13 (NIV).

• Think about what Sabbath means to you.

• Look through a stack of old church papers and magazines. Cut out words and pictures that describe Sabbath and make a collage of them on a large sheet of cardstock.

Sabbath Manna

Read the story of Sabbath and manna: Ex. 16:13-31.

• Use a marker pen to divide a paper plate into seven sections, like a pie.

• Label each section with a different day of the week, writing the names of the days around the edge of the plate.

• Make a “tent” in your room, under a table, or under a large sheet.

• Lay a clean cloth on the floor outside your tent and sprinkle it with sweet popcorn (pretend manna).

• Pretend to sleep in your tent and wake up on Sunday.

• Collect some manna (sweet popcorn) and place it on your plate in the “Sunday” section. Eat it, then pretend to sleep again. Repeat this for each day. Then collect twice as much on Friday and eat only half of it. “Wake up” on “Sabbath” and eat the rest.

• Talk about how you can help prepare food for Sabbath by making simple desserts, chopping vegetables, setting the table, etc.

Sabbath: A Day of Joyful Celebration

A psalm for Sabbath: Ps. 92.

• Read this happy psalm together.

• Many Jewish families welcome Sabbath with a traditional celebration.

• Plan some happy ways to celebrate Sabbath in your family. Maybe you could make a Sabbath banner, write your own celebratory song, create a special party or agape meal, play some fun Sabbath games, light candles, create a different fruit-juice cocktail each week, drive to a beautiful place to watch the sunset, have tiny treats or surprises, hunt for a special object, share what you most appreciate about each other, bless each other, and so on.

• Keep your Sabbaths surprising and delightful by adding new ideas to your list. A Day for Helping Others Jesus heals on the Sabbath: Matt. 12:9-13.

• Get a pencil and a sheet of paper.

• Spread out your fingers and draw around each of your hands.

• On each finger write one way you and your family could help people on Sabbath.

• Collect all of your ideas and plan a great way to help someone on Sabbath during the next few weeks.

Share your best Sabbath ideas with others. Why not take turns planning special Sabbath activities for all the families in your church?