Week Four: Family Connections Toolkit

Giving and Receiving Extravagant Welcome


Luke 10:25-37 (CEV): The Parable for the Good Samaritan

36 – “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

37 – “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Spend a few moments wondering together as a family about the story:

  • I wonder what it means to be a neighbor?
  • I wonder what would happen if the people in the story were women and not men?
  • I wonder what would happen if the person finding the hurt person was a child?
  • I wonder when someone has been a neighbor to you like the Samaritan was to the hurt man?
  • I wonder when you have been a neighbor to someone?

Practice: 10 Ways to Pray with Kids

We give our children an invaluable and timeless gift when we teach them how to pray. Click on this link for suggestions on how to use art, song, writing, movement and more to incorporate into your prayer practices.

Image by Dylan Welch

DIY Public Art

playful, creative, tactile, ages 2+

Welcome neighbors and passers-by to engage with something in your yard or a public space near you. For example, offer a musical performance, create an I Spy game with hidden stuffed animals, share large signs of hope, post a daily riddle, set up a light display…

  • What have you enjoyed seeing on walks? 
  • How can you help others feel welcome to interact with what you’ve made?

Create Greeting Cards

creative, active, social, all ages

Turn your art into an act of kindness!

What you’ll need

  • Blank cards and envelopes (or paper you can cut or fold to make a card)
  • Coloring pages or blank paper for drawing or this downloadable thank you card
  • Decorating supplies: markers, crayons, stamps + stamp pads, stickers.

Possible Recipients

Sundar Shadi’s Holiday Display

Game: Speak Animalia

playful, active, creative, ages 2+

Prep: Gather stuffed animals, photos, family pets or look outside for inspiration for your play.  

How to Play: Take turns pretending to be different animals or beings. Spend some time doing an activity. For example, two dogs might sniff around for bones. With older kids, grab their attention by selecting activities they love (reading, art, video games, etc.). During your pretend play, make up a language for each character and allow for different languages.

Purpose: Develop empathy and perspective-taking in a fun, playful way. Consider different accents, words and topics of conversation for different breeds and personalities.

7 Tips for Raising Caring Kids

Download the resource
“The seeds of empathy, caring, and compassion are present from early in life, but children need adults to help them at every stage to nurture these seeds into full development.”

Advocate to Create a More Welcoming Country

reflective, ages 7+

As our nation struggles with the complicated issue of immigration policy, help your children understand the human stories behind the headlines. This book list will help. Then make your voices heard for immigrant justice with this kid-friendly advocacy sheet. Pledge to make a difference — and hold your elected representatives accountable, too. 

Create a Giving Box

reflective, ages 7+

Download the instructions

Collect coins for a cause you love. Create your own Giving Box to collect your family’s charitable donations. When it’s full, decide together where the money will go.

What you’ll need:

  • Container (coffee can, shoebox, jar) with an opening at the top
  • Decorating supplies


  • Decorate the container.
  • Decide how you will fill it. For example, you might have each family member donate a certain amount of his or her “allowance” each week. Or simply put in loose change. 
  • Talk together about which cause(s) you want to support.
  • When your box is full, count your donation and take or send it to your chosen organization.

At the Dinner Table

reflective, engaged, all ages

  • As you divide up a family meal, name who each piece will be for before you dig in to eat. Include communities outside your immediate family members: the earth and the universe, for example (you can still eat those pieces!)
  • Share toasts and celebrate each other and things you have noticed and enjoyed. Clink your glasses together after each one to show your appreciation.  

Extravagant welcome requires deep empathy. Happily, empathy is a skill, one that we can improve with practice. All it requires is time enough to wonder: what would it be like to be them?  Here are a few questions to get you started.

  • What would it be like to be forced to leave your home and move to a new country? What would you pack? What would you miss? What could help make someone new to our country feel more comfortable and less scared in their new home?
  • If you suddenly had to move to a new school and a new neighborhood, what would you hope for? How would you want your new classmates and neighbors to respond?
  • Imagine the world from another person’s viewpoint: How do you think your teacher feels when the class isn’t listening? How do you think your classmate feels when he’s laughed at? Then talk about what can be learned from considering various points of view.

Journal Prompts 

elementary +

For each prompt give yourself at least 1-2 minutes to write or draw in response to these prompts.

Tips: ✐ When you get stuck, keep coming back to the prompt and re-write it to start your next sentence or drawing. ✐  Try to keep your pen moving and don’t overthink your words! ✐ Feel free to speak your truth or write your fictions. 

  • Who are the people you love? What are qualities in them you most admire?
  • How can you love someone even when they are different/hard to be around?
  • You get to throw an extravagant welcome party! Who will you invite? What decorations will you use? What activities do you want to provide? How will you make your party inclusive (include everyone)? 
  • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (Ages 3-6)
  • The Name Jarby Yangsook Choi (Ages 3-7)
  • The Big Orange Splot by D. Manus Pinkwater (Ages 4-8)
  • Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You (Ages 4-8)
  • The Day You Begin by Jaqcueline Woodson (Ages 5-8)
  • Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 5-8)
  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (Ages 8-12)
  • The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Ages 9 and up)

Buy these titles online at a local bookstore! Some we recommend in the Twin Cities: Red Balloon, Mager’s and Quinn & Moon Palace Book.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023