Archive | June, 2016


29 Jun
Walk4Water_studentsPhoto credits: Janelle Gustafson

One of my favorite days of the year is our annual Walk4Water at the church where I serve, Prairie Oak Community Church. We fill our buckets full of water and “feel the burn” as we trudge two miles through suburban Andover, Minnesota.


The purpose of our event is to change two communities: our own by bringing awareness of the need for clean water and the community where a well will be built with the proceeds. This year’s proceeds will go to a community in Liberia that was hard hit by the Ebola virus.

Sierra Leone well(1)
Past project results in a well in Sierra Leone

What I love about this event is how it brings us together as one no matter the age. Parents will often pull younger children in wagons. Dogs are always invited to walk along with us. Every generation is represented in the long line of people in matching blue shirts taking an hour of their time to make a difference in the world.


Last year we added a 5K fun run to the event. I love the cheering and encouraging words that are shouted to the runners- especially by those who have finished the race and who wait at the finish line.


Sponsoring a Walk4Water event in your community is a great way to not only raise money for clean water initiatives, but also to raise awareness in your community of the need for clean water. Ultimately the goal is to change two communities: one in need of water and one in need of compassion.

A Walk4Water event can be any size whether a small group of family members and friends or a large organization of 500.

The event can include a pre-walk party or information session, the 2-mile walk, 5K run and an after-party. During the walk participants carry buckets of water to “feel the burn” that those without clean water near them feel as they walk to the nearest water source. For those who are physically unable to carry buckets, supply water bottles to carry. Families enjoy walking together pulling younger kids in wagons. Also, participants can recruit teams from work, the gym, neighborhoods or extended family. After the walk consider holding a picnic with grilled hotdogs and other simple food.


For detailed information on how to host your own Walk4Water click here. If you would like to donate this year’s Walk4Water project, visit our website.

River’s Edge has a Clean Water lesson for kids that helps them understand that a way we love others as Jesus told us to do is by supplying clean water to those in need. Consider teaching this lesson as a way to prepare for the walk.

Have you done something with your church, family or organization to raise money for clean water? We’d love to hear about it.



Clean Water

27 Jun


There are currently more than 1 billion people who do not have access to clean water. This fact seems very distant inside our world where we can turn on the sink and get a glass of water with ease. River’s Edge Curriculum has partnered with the organization, Walk-4-Water to help work towards diminishing the lack of clean water. This organization aims at not only raising money to build wells, but to involve the entire community in this process. Walk-4-Water has already raised over $40,000 and built numerous wells in the country of Zambia. The first step towards providing clean water access is through education – educating others on the need for clean water. River’s Edge Curriculum has created a lesson that does just that.
clean water book2.jpgIn our new lesson, Clean Water, we expose children to the need for clean water, catch their attention with a fun trivia game, and explore the command God has given us to love one another. At the end of the lesson we provide ways for kids themselves to get involved and raise money, how the church can get involved, and how the church and outside community can unite in getting involved in providing clean water to those without. If you are interested in learning more, check out Clean Water on our website, or to find out how you can get your church community involved!

Top 5 Educational Summer Activities

24 Jun

With three months of summer to fill with activities, it can be challenging come up with answers when the kids state the inevitable “I’m bored”. It can be even more challenging to find enriching activities that engages kids minds, without boring them. Here are 5 ways to combat the “I’m bored” statement that are educational and fun.

1.  Nature Rubbings/Painting

This educational, yet fun activity will get your kids outside and exploring. Collect sticks, bark, flowers, leaves, etc. and bring them back home. Take a piece of paper and carefully place it over the item from nature. Take a crayon and rub it over the top of the piece of paper. The outline and texture of the item will appear. Taking this a step further, next has your students use the items from nature as their paintbrushes and create naturalistic images.


2. Visit the Library

Your local library may be your best source for activities. Most libraries have some activities set up for kids around the Children’s section, while many libraries offer extensive activities, book clubs, and projects for kids to sign up for. If your library does not offer any programming, take your child to the hobbies/How To section of the Children’s area and have kids pick out a book about cooking, cars, how to draw cartoons, or whatever their interest may be. Reading through these books and completing activities that go along with them keeps kids occupied for hours.

3. Check out your local Nature Center, History Museum, or Zoo

P1000449Even if your child doesn’t like bugs, or history, or science, they are bound to be engaged at these various locations. Nature centers and museums aim at helping their subject come alive in an exciting way to kids. Most nature centers are free and many museums and zoos have free days! For example, majority of Chicago’s Museums have at least one free day a month for residents to check out their exciting exhibits.


4. Take a trip to Barnes and Noble and get a free book

During the summer, Barnes and Noble has a kids reading program where they can earn a free book! Barnes and Noble’s reading program is kids grade 1st-6th and they must complete three out of four different reading challenges. When completed, just bring the completed sheet to your local Barnes and Noble and your child will be able to pick out a free book! Click here to print out the reading sheet from Barnes and Noble.

5. Photo Scavenger Hunt


Head to your local zoo or park with a list of distinguishing characteristics of animals, plants, and bugs and the kids must try and find each one and take a picture. Scavenger list ideas include: find a mammal with four legs, find a animal that is yellow, find an animal that is a bird, but can not fly. Kids will be
using their brains and sleuthing skills.



What are your favorite educational activities to do with kids in the summer?