Rain or shine, kids and their families in Holland, Mich., have something fun and free to do this summer on Wednesday mornings. The SKiP (Summer’s Kids and Parents) program at Park Christian Reformed Church provides meaningful activities for children and their parents, grandparents, or other caregivers.
“We didn’t want to do a drop-off-your-kids activity,” said SKiP director Suzie Steen. “We wanted to engage families and build up relationships between generations.”
The program began when a young mother in the neighborhood mentioned her need for a midweek activity during the summer. “She knew several moms with young kids who would like to have something that would not only bring them together as moms, but also offer something fun for their children,” Steen said.
Each week’s theme involves adventures: a walk to a nearby farm, a bike and trike parade, and a visit from police officers, fire fighters, and a fire truck. The morning also includes a snack and theme-related games and crafts. Whether planting a flower, running relays, or doing gymnastics, SKiP activities encourage children to develop their fine and gross motor skills, imagination, and creativity.
Tina Bush comes with her grandchildren and is thankful for the social outlet. “The boys need to have other kids to play with in the summer,” she said. “And everyone is so sweet.”
This is the second year Park CRC is running the program; average attendance has risen from 12 to 40. This year Park was able to do more publicity and has offered activities throughout the year that connect the church with more families in the neighborhood.
“It is our intention to develop relationships with each person who participates in SKiP,” said Steen. “Hopefully we share and model not only the good news of Christ’s love for his creation—plants, animals, and people—but also wonder at his gifts of creativity, imagination, and the uniqueness of each person.”