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40+ Summer Dinners: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, & Refined Sugar Free

It's that time of year! Everyone's getting ready to create the perfect summer dinner menu for their family. 

For us, that means finding a variety of gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, and sugar free meals for Sunshine to enjoy.

It also mean making sure that all of the meals can be citrus and berry free for Bulldozer.

So how do we pull off dinner during the summer?

I'm here to share our summer dinner menu that includes six weeks of meals, recipes links, replacements and alternatives we use to accommodate everyone's needs! I also share how we accommodate sensory needs.

40+ Summer Dinners that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free & Refined Sugar Free

40+ Summer Dinners that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free

Whether you love chicken, turkey, pork, beef, fish, shellfish or are a vegetarian, there are so many fabulous summer recipes here to choose from!

Vegetarian Summer Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free & Refined Sugar Free

Vegetarian Meals

Below you will find some of our favorite summer vegetarian meals. There are also vegetarian options listed as sides to meat meals in the sections below.

1. Veggie Quesadillas

I replace corn with yellow bell peppers and use this soft paleo flour tortilla recipe along with my favorite homemade taco seasoning.

Daiya shredded cheddar cheese is offered to those who can't have dairy.

To ensure the boys will eat this meal as well, I usually add chicken. They will eat the chicken, tortillas and cheese. If they're feeling brave, they may eat the peppers and black beans mixture. 

Sunshine may prefer each part of her meal not mixed up and side by side.

2. Taco Pasta Salad

I use Tinkyada rotini pasta in this recipe. Corn is replaced with yellow bell peppers. 

To ensure the boys will eat something when we serve this meal, I do add chicken. They usually eat chicken, plain pasta and cheese. 

3. Smashed White Bean and Avocado Club Sandwiches

This recipe is inspired by an old Real Simple recipe that I can no longer find. Here's how we make it.

1. Drain and rinse 2-15 oz cans of white beans.

2. Mix and mash beans with 2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until desired consistency.

3. Spread on fresh or toasted slices of homemade gluten free diet friendly bread.

4. Top with sliced cucumber and avocado and serve.

My girls LOVE these sandwiches. Sometimes we serve the toppings with diet friendly crackers. The boys usually opt for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but that's okay with me.

4. Calabacitas with Rice & Beans

I replace corn with diced yellow bell peppers and add 1 cup of lima beans to the recipe, as that is how this dish was served to us originally. 

Goat cheese or Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese are offered as alternatives to the cheese in the recipe.

Dinomite isn't a fan of this meal, but he will eat tortillas or tortilla chips when we serve them with it. Bulldozer enjoys rice and beans.

5. Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Spinach & Chickpea Salad

Instead of arugula I use spinach. Goat cheese replaces the recommended cheese in the recipe.

Pork chops are often served with this meal to ensure the boys have something they'll eat. At times Dinomite will eat the grilled cauliflower.

6. Plantain Burrito Bowl with Mango Salsa

I do not add lime to the recipe until food is on plates to ensure Bulldozer doesn't end up with any as he's allergic to citrus. My kids are not huge fans of onions, so I don't use as many as the recipe mentions. 

To ensure that Dinomite eats something, I usually do serve chicken with this meal.

7.Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I replace corn with yellow bell peppers diced and use Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese instead of the recommended cheese.

I usually serve chicken with this meal so Dinomite has a protein he will eat.

8. Grilled Zucchini Salad

I use diced yellow peppers instead of corn. Goat cheese is usually the preferred cheese alternative, but any cheese alternative will do.

Sunshine can have honey, but other sugar alternatives will work as well.

When we serve this salad, I usually prepare pork chops to go along with it, which everyone will eat.

9. Easy Coconut Curry Vegetables and Beans

When I prepare this meal, I give the option of serving the vegetables and beans without the sauce for those who prefer it that way. I serve this meal with rice and usually a meat to ensure the boys will eat something.

I do not add hemp seeds or cilantro.

Summer Chicken Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, & Refined Sugar Free

Chicken Meals

1. Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 

I replace real maple syrup with sugar free maple syrup. Sunshine can have goat cheese so we use that for her, but other cheese alternatives will work too. 

I usually use baby spinach instead of the other lettuces as Princess is very picky when it comes to salads. Sunshine LOVES salads, so this is always a hit with her.

My boys enjoy the chicken from this meal and sometimes if I offer ice cream or dairy free ice cream, they'll even eat the grilled peaches. The brand So Delicious carries a sugar free coconut vanilla ice cream that Sunshine can have as well.

2. Classic Cobb Salad

We usually present this meal similar to a salad bar, allowing the kids to pick what toppings they want. Some choose to include lettuce and/or spinach. Others don't. Sunshine picks her cheese alternative.

Sunshine loves Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon. I must say it tastes delicious and adds such a great taste to the salad.

3. Peanut Mango Chicken Stir Fry and Rice

When making the sauce for this recipe, I use Jif No Sugar Added Peanut Butter, and coco aminos instead of soy sauce.

If you can't have raw honey or maple syrup, any other sugar alternative will do.

When we make this meal, we usually prepare each component separately and make plates according to the kids' preferences. Some do not enjoy the sauce. We also always buy extra mango as the girls devour it!

4. Chicken, Peach & Spinach Quesadillas

In this recipe, I replace the cheese with either Daiya shredded cheese or goat cheese depending on Sunshine's mood. Instead of arugula, we use spinach as the taste is preferred.

Sunshine can have raw honey, so I do drizzle a tiny bit over her quesadilla, but you really don't need it if your peaches are super sweet and juicy.

I use the soft paleo flour tortilla recipe for those that eat gluten free in the house.

The boys will usually eat the tortillas, chicken and cheese when I serve this meal.

5. Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Noodles

I use Tinkyada brown rice noodles in this recipe. In place of soy sauce I use coco aminos. No one really likes bean sprouts or sriracha here, so I omit them.

When I prepare this meal, I usually keep everything separate until serving as three of the kids aren't too keen on coconut curry, but will eat the rest of the meal when foods are separated.

6. Grilled Chicken, Strawberry, Spinach & Almond Salad

This salad is super simple and so delicious!

Combine the following ingredients:
  • Shredded Cooked Chicken
  • Spinach
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Almonds

We love serving this salad with Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette. For those that can't have sugar, Brianna's French Vinaigrette works well also.

The boys usually enjoy the chicken and almonds. Since Bulldozer can't have strawberries, he may choose to grab a different fruit.

7. Thai Chicken, Mango & Pineapple Salad

When preparing this meal, I usually prepare some chicken and fruit plain for Bulldozer, since he's unable to have orange juice.

The boys and Princess prefer to eat their chicken straight from the kabob stick. Sunshine is always up for a delicious salad, so she eats it the same way the grown ups do. We usually use spinach as our salad green.

8. Pollo Asado and Southwestern Quinoa Salad

When I prepare this meal, I usually make some chicken without the marinade due to Bulldozer's citrus allergy and Sunshine's random pickiness. But everyone else does enjoy the marinade.

We keep all parts of the quinoa salad separate until serving due to Sunshine's corn sensitivity and the fact that she usually doesn't like her food mixed, but will devour all if separated.

9. Grilled Chicken and Pasta Primavera

Depending on everyone's mood, will depend on which marinade I'll use for our chicken. Sometimes people just prefer it plain.

When making the pasta primavera, I omit the cheese, and just allow people to add alternatives when it's served on their plate. Depending on Bulldozer and Sunshine's moods, we may leave out some plain pasta before mixing.

10. California Avocado Chicken with Potato Salad

Sunshine eats Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon when eating on her chicken. The boys usually eat the chicken and the bacon plain.

11. Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Pears

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the May 2003 issue of the magazine Real Simple. I can no longer find the original recipe online.

Here's how I make this meal.

1. Cook 1 lb of Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti
2. Cook boneless skinless chicken and shred (about 2 cups)
3. Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup Jif No Sugar Added Peanut Butter, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tsp salt until smooth
4. Mix sauce with warm spaghetti.
5. Top with shredded chicken, sliced pears, peanuts, and poblano peppers or red serrano chilies diced.
6. Serve immediately.

Some of the kids prefer not to mix the sauce in with their meal and keep all components separate.

12. Southwestern Chicken Salad

This recipe was originally found at Real Simple, but has since disappeared from their website. I love that it's so easy and tastes so good.

  • Lettuce and/or Spinach
  • Shredded Cooked Chicken
  • Red Bell Pepper sliced
  • Black Beans rinsed and drained
  • Tortilla Chips or Potato Chips
  • Dressing
    • 1/3 cup Kite Hill Sour Cream
    • 3 tbsp Lime Juice
    • 1/4 tsp chili powder or paprika

The boys usually just eat the chicken and chips, but everyone else enjoys the rest.

Summer Turkey Meals that are Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Corn Free & Refined Sugar Free

Turkey Meals

1. Turkey Club Sandwiches and Fruit Salad

My turkey club sandwich is inspired by a recipe we found in Princess' American Girl Cookbook.

Ingredients include:
  • Homemade bread toasted
  • Primal Kitchen Mayo
  • Private Selection Mesquite Turkey Sliced
  • Baby Swiss Cheese (for those who eat dairy)
  • Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
Each child prepares their toasted sandwich differently depending on which ingredients they like.

The fruit salad is prepared with whatever fruits we happen to have on hand.

2. Pasta Salad

Everyone loves a good pasta salad. My version includes the following ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Tinkyada Brown Rice Rotini cooked, drained, and cooled
  • 1/2 bag Hormel Turkey Pepperoni, cut into quarters
  • 1 block Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese cubed or equal amounts goat cheese or no cheese
  • 1 small can of sliced black olives drained and rinsed
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced (I usually choose yellow for added color)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrots diced (I usually use about 3/4 bag of baby carrots)

All ingredients are mixed and chilled with my favorite homemade Italian Dressing. I omit the parmesan cheese from this recipe and go light on garlic.

When I make this meal, to ensure my boys eat, I usually prepare a plate with cheese and pepperoni and serve with crackers. The girls always devour the pasta salad with no questions asked.

3. Nachos Bar

Everyone loves a good nachos bar, especially when they can make their plate how they want it. Our nachos bar includes the following choices:

  • Tortilla chips or potato chips for those who are corn free
  • Taco meat (recipe typed above)
  • Cabot Lactose Free Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese or Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Black Beans
  • Salsa
  • Kite Hill Dairy Free Sour Cream
  • Diet Friendly Guacamole or Avacado
  • Olives
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

4. Turkey & Pesto Toasted Subs with Grapes

The recipe is no longer available online so I'll just explain what we do.  Lol.  We make homemade Italian bread loaves and homemade dairy free pesto ahead of time.

When it comes time to make our toasted subs, we spread the pesto on the bread and then layer mesquite deli turkey (Sunshine can have Private Selection from Kroger) and swiss cheese or cheese alternative of choice. The subs go in the oven at 350 degrees F until they are toasted and cheese is melted.

Red and green grapes taste delicious with these subs, served on the side!

Everyone loves this meal!

5. Taco Bar

I make our taco meat using ground turkey, which is why this meal is in the turkey meals. Our recipe is as follows: 

Cook ground turkey. Add taco seasoning and water. Cook on high, stirring occasionally, until all of the water has evaporated.

We use the soft paleo flour tortilla recipe for Sunshine and any others who enjoy soft tacos. The boys usually go with store bought corn tortillas.

Toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, Non Dairy Kite Hill Sour CreamNon Dairy Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese, diet friendly guacamole or avocado and more!

6. Turkey Burger Bar

All of the kids love our turkey burger bar that consists of the following items, toppings, and condiments.
  • Turkey Burgers
  • Diet Friendly Hamburger Buns or Toasted Homemade Bread
  • Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese or Daiya Cheddar Cheese
  • Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avacado
  • Dill Pickles
  • Pineapple
  • Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • And More!

Summer Pork Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free

Pork Meals

1. Kalua PorkCoconut Rice,  Broccoli Slaw & Fresh Pineapple

I omit the liquid smoke in this recipe as we have not been able to find one that is 100% sugar free for Sunshine. If I find one, I'll let you know what brand it is.

When making coconut rice and broccoli slaw, I use raw honey, as Sunshine can have that. We just decrease the amount by half. But erythritol or monkefruit will work too. 

Everyone loves the pork served as part of this meal so no matter what this meal is a win!

2. Pork Chops and Summer Pesto Grilled Vegetables with Penne

I use homemade dairy free pesto and Tinkyada brown rice penne when I prepare this meal.

3. Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloin with Rice and Vegetables

In this recipe I do use raw honey. If you are unable to have honey you can use a different sugar substitute. I use coco aminos instead of soy sauce. Potato starch or tapioca starch are great alternatives to cornstarch.

Usually the boys request their pork plain. 

Summer Beef Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free & Refined Sugar Free

Beef Meals

1. Beef Teriyaki & Extra Vegetable Fried Rice

When preparing the beef teriyaki I omit the corn starch. Arrowroot, potato starch, or tapioca flour can be used instead if desired. I replace soy sauce with coco aminos and then use a sugar alternative. Coco aminos is much sweeter than soy sauce, so I usually cut the sugar alternative at least by half.

 Coco aminos are also used in the fried rice.

My boys will usually eat plain beef sticks. Bulldozer will also eat plain rice. So long as they'll eat at least one aspect of the meal I prepare, I call it a win! Depending on how picky Sunshine is that day, she may eat plain beef sticks and cooked veggies, they're mixed into the rice.

2. Sirloin Steak, Salt Potatoes, & Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad

Everyone in the house loves sirloin steak!

Salt potatoes are an upstate NY delicacy. If you can't find a bag of salt potatoes where you live, just buy a 5 lb. bag of baby gold potatoes and boil them in a pot of water with 1 cup salt. Once cooked, grab potatoes out of the water, cut them in half and drizzle with melted butter or alternative. We use Country Crock Plant Butter.

The cantaloupe and cucumber salad recipe used to be on the Real Simple website, but they have since taken it down. I will share how we make it, though please know the original version came from Real Simple.  Please note, I don't use half of the ingredients they mention.

I combine the following ingredients and let them chill before serving.

  • 5 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cantaloupe peeled, seeded, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 cucumbers sliced
  • 6 oz of feta cheese, goat cheese, or non dairy alternative
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

3. Steak Fajitas

I use the soft paleo flour tortilla recipe for Sunshine. Some meat we do not marinate so that it is safe for Bulldozer. The boys will usually eat the steak in the tortillas without the veggies.

We use Kite Hill Sour Cream and diet friendly guacamole when serving this meal to Sunshine. Sometimes she enjoys salsa too.

4. Hotdogs, Chips & Fruit

Sunshine can have Applegate Farms Hotdogs with Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup. (She's not really a mustard fan.)

When it comes to chips Sunshine loves and can have Cape Cod Original and Salt & Vinegar chips.

Usually the girls and I make a fruit salad with their favorite fruits. If fruits contain too much natural sugar for you, then fresh veggies are always great too!

5. Beef & Broccoli with Rice

Potato starch or tapioca flour are great replacements for cornstarch.  Instead of soy sauce I use coco aminos. When using coco aminos, I usually omit the brown sugar or use half as much honey. One could use coconut sugar or other sugar alternative if needed.

When I prepare this meal, the boys prefer plain beef sticks. 

Summer Fish & Shellfish Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free & Refined Sugar Free

Fish & Shellfish Meals

1. Fish Tacos with the Best Fish Taco Sauce

I use the soft paleo flour tortilla recipe for Sunshine, or she can choose to make this into a nacho type meal with potato chips.

Most often Sunshine chooses to use goat cheese with this meal, but any cheese alternative will do.

When it comes to making the sauce we use Kite Hill Plain Almond Milk Sour Cream and Primal Kitchen Mayo.

Surprisingly my boys love eating fish, so they usually just have fish tacos without the slaw and sauce. If Sunshine's being picky she'll usually have the same as the boys with an avocado and fish sauce on the side to dip.

2. Blackened Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice

I don't usually use as much spice as what the recipe calls for, just because the kids aren't fans, but we do enjoy as much as they'll let us.

When making the coconut rice, I use a sugar alternative, most often raw honey.

3. Sheet Pan Hawaiian Shrimp with Rice

When preparing this meal, I omit the lemon juice and just provide that on the side for people to add to their dish afterwards, so Bulldozer can eat the shrimp.

I prepare shrimp on separate pan than the vegetables for kiddos who are picky about that. Lol.

Finally, we serve with rice for those who like it.

4. Lobster Tails with Bread and Side Salad

I use homemade diet friendly bread crumbs. When I can find dairy free diet friendly parmesan cheese Sunshine will use it. If I can't, she uses Daiya Shredded Mozzarella Cheese instead.  Our family uses Country Crock Plant Butter.

When preparing the lobster tails I will omit citrus from Bulldozer's due to his allergy.

5. Crab Cakes with Asparagus and Potatoes

When preparing this recipe I use Primal Kitchen Mayo, homemade bread crumbs and Country Crock Plant Butter. I do not add lemon juice to the recipe until plates are served individually. 

6. Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Vegetable Skillet

When I prepare this meal, I usually cook the shrimp and sausage together and then cook the vegetables separately, dividing the spices between the two pans. Once the boys have been served their shrimp and sausage, we toss everything together.

I usually do not use as much spice as this recipe calls for as our kids don't like foods that are too spicy.

And there you have it! 

I hope you enjoy these 40+ summer dinners that are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, and refined sugar free!

For those that would like to follow our journey with special dietary needs and receive updates about new recipes, products, resources and more, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods Tips for Helping Children Serve Food A Minimalist Montessori Kitchen Food Issues When Food is Your Child's Enemy Special Dietary Needs: A Beginner's Guide for Parents
40+ Summer Meals: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Refined Sugar Free

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The Best Ballet Books for Kids

 Sunshine is all about ballet right now. She wants to grow up and become a ballerina. I am LOVING this passion so much, as I too LOVE ballet. 

It's so much fun having a common interest.

When our family took a trip not so long ago, Sunshine asked that I bring her back a ballet book.  I agreed to this not knowing how difficult it would be to find ballet books at the bookstore.

Since then I have searched Amazon, checked our local libraries, and spent a lot of time reading ballet books to find the best ones to share with Sunshine.

Here are, in my opinion, the best ballet books for kids.

The Best Ballet Books for Kids

The Best Ballet Books for Kids

The Ballet Book: The Young Performer's Guide to Classical Dance

The Ballet Book: The Young Performer's Guide to Classical Dance by Deborah Bowes

I absolutely love the true-to-life images in this book. Each page is absolutely beautiful with children demonstrating proper technique. The book is so simple yet includes so much detail at the same time. 

Sunshine received this book for Easter and LOVED it. She would go through each page, looking at the dancers and then attempt the moves and positions.

Ballet School

Ballet School by Naia Bray-Moffatt

I love that this book takes children through the routines of dance class while using true-to-life images of ballet dancers that are children, to demonstrate the process. It inspires ballet dancers to continue to practice and progress to performance. This book also demonstrates how to prepare for a performance, which can be very helpful.

Welcome to Ballet School

Welcome to Ballet School by Ashley Bouder

This book, written by a principal ballerina, promotes diversity and is beautifully illustrated. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the emotions on each of the children's faces on every page. The book itself guides children through dance class, but includes so much more.

There are illustrations of dance positions labeled. Tips and steps are provided to help children move with ease. The book includes the story of a famous ballet and does such a great job teaching that ballet is a story of movement. What more could you want in a ballet book?

On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC

On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC by Rachel Isadora

This book is such a fantastic way to introduce vocabulary related to ballet. For each letter of the alphabet, a ballet related word is introduced and accompanied by a beautiful illustration. Words are not just ballet positions.

I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. They are so bright and beautiful, yet child like at the same time.

Boys Dance

Boys Dance by John Robert Allman

Ballet is not just for girls! This book is perfect for the boy in your life who wants to be a dancer and for the girls in your life who don't know that dancing is for boys too. The illustrations in this book are absolutely adorable. The facial expressions are priceless. 

I love that this book highlights aspects of ballet that are specific to boys and men. It's a great way to help boys feel special about their contributions to the world of ballet.

Time for Ballet

Time for Ballet by Adele Geras

This book does a fantastic job of teaching that every child is different and will look different in dance class through the beautiful illustrations and text. The book is very simple, progressing through the different parts of a dance class, encouraging practice at home, and preparing for a recital, but does so in a way that isn't overwhelming or intimidating. 

Lili at Ballet

Lili at Ballet by Rachel Isadora

This book includes so much ballet vocabulary! It's a great book for those who have just started dancing and want to learn and understand more. The illustrations are beautiful and so calming. I love that it also introduces characters from actual ballets.

This book also does a fabulous job of balancing out vocabulary and concepts related to ballerinas as well as boy ballet dancers.

Ballet Stars

Ballet Stars by Joan Holub

If you have a daughter who's excited about ballet and also learning to read, this book may be perfect! The illustrations are quite cute and the story simple, but it's a great book to add to your child's library.

Ballet Heart

Ballet with Heart by Emily Joof

This book is quite special as it includes the journey of a girl and boy starting dance classes. Both parents are supportive of the children's choices to dance and are so encouraging throughout the process. Dance classes include incredible diversity in characters, including a ballet dancer who uses a walker.

I love how the characters have both already been introduced to ballet and specific characters that have inspired them to learn ballet.

Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet

Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O'Connor

This book is everything a little girl could want. It includes ballet and mermaids. It's sparkly and full of so many bright colors. The illustrations are adorable.

What I love about this book is that it walks children through the scenario of a little girl who does not receive the part in the ballet recital she wants and how she handles that situation. It also discusses the reality that a friend does get the part that's desired.

The book is fabulous at explaining emotions and vocabulary terms, while at the same time helping children understand it's okay to feel emotions when things don't go their way.

I can not recommend these ballet books enough. They are truly the best that I've found. If you have a child who enjoys ballet or want to introduce dance to kids, these books are the perfect way to do so!

For those looking for more learning resources for kids, including book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

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Scripture Study Ideas for Families

Each day we make it a priority to study scriptures together as a family. 

Family scripture study has looked different and taken many forms over the years depending on the ages of our kids, but we've always found some way to make it work, because we feel it's so important.

No matter the age of your children, family scripture study time can be enjoyable for everyone without stress and behaviors.

Here are scripture study ideas for families that have worked for us over the years.

Scripture Study Ideas for Families

Scripture Study Ideas for Families

Babies & Toddlers

When our kids were tiny and unpredictable, scripture study happened as we read scripture based board books throughout the day.

Scripture study occurred at night before bed, and basically any time during the day that reading occurred. 

We always kept a basket of scripture themed board books on hand for our babies and toddlers to choose from to read.

The process was short, sweet, and simple, and exactly what our babies and toddlers could handle at the time. 

Our main goal was to prepare the environment to encourage the joy of scripture study for years to come and to always follow their lead.

Preschoolers & Elementary School Children

When our kids were preschool age, we switched from board books to paperback scripture stories with pictures. The kids enjoyed the stories and pictures immensely.

The challenge was finding the perfect time of day to ensure all could handle participating in family scripture study.  We realized a two fold approach worked best. 

Each night my husband and I would take turns reading scriptures to the kids as they ate dinner. 

The kids' hands and mouths were busy, so the scripture study was very successful. Lol.

We'd choose one story each night. Again, it was very short and simple and happened after the blessing on the food.

During this time, we also made sure that each of the kids had their own set of paperback scripture stories with pictures in their bedroom. 

Each night before their bedtime story, they would each pick a scripture story to be read to them. Eventually they would get to the point that they could read the scripture stories to us.

This special time provided opportunities for the kids to ask questions individually and to really enjoy the pictures and stories up close and personal with a parent.

When each individual child felt ready to transition to a set of scriptures without pictures, we would do so. 

If they preferred the scriptures with pictures, we kept going with them for as long as they requested them.

The kids led the way. By the end of their elementary school years, each child felt comfortable reading scripture verses aloud without struggle and had their own set of scriptures.

When it came to reading scriptures without pictures, the kids would set the pace as to how many verses were read or if we managed to complete a chapter or not. 

We would not push more than they were ready for, striving to always make scripture study a positive experience for everyone in our home.

Middle School & High School Years 

By the time all of our children were in middle school they felt comfortable with their own set of scriptures and showed interest in studying scriptures, not just reading them.

For the last two years, each morning we sit down together as a family and read the same chapter of scripture silently to ourselves. 

Once everyone is done reading the chapter, we each share our favorite verse or set of verses, and why we like them. At times the kids have questions and we discuss those as well.

There are mornings where we're looking up words in a dictionary, cross referencing scriptures and stories, and sometimes even looking at maps, etc.

Family scripture study can last as little as 15 minutes. Other times it can extend to 45 minutes depending on what we're discussing. As always, we just follow the kids' lead.

These scripture study sessions each morning with our kids have been absolutely amazing. Their thoughts and contributions are so inspiring. 

I have watched their understanding of scripture concepts grow in leaps and bounds. They are so touched by the words of Jesus Christ and his prophets.

So many important topics have come up during scripture study that otherwise wouldn't, because we're pausing to talk about feelings together each day.

The daily experience is wonderful, so long as the kids have had breakfast first!

Families with Multiple Ages

Our three older children are spaced seventeen months and eleven months apart, so technically, they're all pretty much at the same age in our minds. 

But then Sunshine came along. She's two and half years younger than Princess. 

Sunshine was not ready to transition to a set of scriptures without pictures when her siblings were. She can't read. They can.

The older kids were definitely ready to progress beyond scripture stories with pictures, before Sunshine was.

So what did we do?

We followed the kids yet again, to ensure that everyone enjoys family scripture study.

In the mornings when the older kids are participating in their chapter studies, Sunshine has a basket full of scripture picture books, paper, crayons, church coloring books, and her own set of scriptures to use in whatever ways she likes so long as she doesn't disturb others. 

She listens to what we are discussing, and asks to join in when she has something to say. 

Depending on the day, she will ask for help reading a scripture from the chapter we're studying as well. 

Most often she adds her testimony to the theme of our discussions, which is pretty adorable.

Whether she can read or not, she's hearing the scripture study and immersed in scripture themed activities. 

Then at bedtime, my husband and I continue her scripture stories with pictures individually. 

We progress at her pace, helping her learn to read as we go. And then when she's ready, she'll join our discussions.

There are so many different ways to make studying scriptures a pleasant time for your family each day while following the lead of your children at the same time, no matter their age.

The scripture study ideas we have shared in this post are those that work best for us. You may be inspired to try something else. If so, and it works, be sure to tell us about it!

If you are interested in following our family's spiritual journey, receiving FREE religious printables, and more, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter. 

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the resources below.
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The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids

Friday Game Day is very popular in our house. Instead of engaging in our usual learning routines, we pull out a board game or card game to enjoy.

Playing games can teach so many important lessons. Even though the kids think they're not learning, they really are.

It is a well known fact that I am not a fan of board games as much as I am card games. When it's my turn to choose, everyone knows we're going to be playing cards.

Today I thought I'd share the best card game recommendations for kids in my opinion.

The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids

The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids

Our kids are introduced to card games when they're young and when they show interest in playing games with the family.

We always try to start out with the easiest options to ensure the experience is as positive as it can be. Mind you there's always a chance of issues when it comes to losing a game.

The Best Junior Card Games for Kids

Depending on what type of junior card game you're into, there's sure to be something that meets your needs and styles.

The Best Junior Card Games for Kids

These are our absolute favorites. Sunshine still needs some assistance with a couple of them, but the rest she's really great at.

Skip-Bo Junior Sequencing

Phase 10 Junior

Five Crowns Junior

Quiddler Junior

Clumsy Thief Junior

Uno Junior

All of our kids have found that junior card games can be just as fun as versions for older kids when the whole family can join in the fun successfully.

The Best Card Games for Children Ages 5-10

Once the kids graduate from our favorite junior card games, the move on to four others.

These games have withstood the test of time. Every single kiddo in the house has loved them!

The Best Card Games for Children Ages 5-10

These games range from a starting age of five to eight years old, but have been played by all our kids within that age frame and beyond.

Guess Who?

Sleeping Queens

Go Nuts for Donuts

Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Card Game

Now that three of our kids are older, they love a challenge and a lot of fun as they play card games. 

The Best Card Games for Preteens and Teens

We've tried and tested a lot of card games over the years with our preteens and teens. These are still our favorites and the most worn from use. Lol.

The Best Card Games for Preteens & Teens

Please note that this list does not include our favorite Harry Potter themed card games. For those you need to click HERE.

But this list does include all the rest!

Five Crowns



Spin Doctor

We hope this list gives you a few new games to try and fall in love with. 

Card games are perfect for so many occasions at home, on the road, and more!

Be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletter to receive more ideas and recommendations for family fun!

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


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One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism

 "Stop interrupting me!"

"Would you let me finish my sentence please?"

"If you didn't interrupt me when I was speaking, then you'd know how I feel."

These became common phrases my husband and I would say to one another as we were trying to have serious and/or sensitive conversations.

Conversations became arguments, and well...

Neither of us were our best selves.

That is until we implemented One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism.

One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism

Jason struggles with pausing before speaking in conversations and interrupts often.

His ADHD, autism, and other mental health issues impact his ability to communicate in multiple ways.

Think impulsivity, executive functioning issues, struggles with strong emotions, and so much more.

This does not mean that he's bad or wrong. It just means that conversations can be challenging.

When he speaks he tends to speak for a long time going round and round, and I lose track of his main points.

I become frustrated because I never get a chance to speak and get confused trying to keep up with all of the twists and turns of what he's saying. 

This results in me interrupting him just to get a word in edge wise, before I forget the main point.

Obviously, the situation worsens.

As you might guess, this is a recipe for disaster.

Both of us needed help when it came to communicating with each other effectively.

After having three children with ADHD and autism, when there's an issue in our house, my brain automatically goes to problem solving mode.

What supports can I put in place to help the child be successful?

Because our communication struggles were impacting us in big ways, my brain decided to do the same thing with my husband.

What supports could I put in place to help him?

That's when the idea hit me.

What if we used a timer?

What if we set a timer for five to ten minutes, while one of us spoke? 

The other could take notes on a piece of paper to address on their turn.

Would that help?

My instant gut reaction was that it would help, but this was something that both my husband and I had to agree to try. So, I asked him about it.  

At first he was a bit nervous and felt a little uncomfortable, but eventually went along with it.

Sure enough it worked!

I am so thankful he was willing to try.

Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism

Our conversations may last anywhere from 10 minutes to hours, depending on the subject, but there are no longer interruptions, harsh words, or either of us feeling like we're not heard.

The timer provides Jason with a visual cue to pause. The pen and paper give him a chance to write down feelings, emotions, thoughts, and questions, as I'm speaking in a safe way.

By the time he starts speaking he's able to communicate more effectively and calmly.

I feel heard, which feels amazing.

The paper and pencil also help me to keep track of the main points of what Jason is saying, even when he takes a full ten minutes to express his thoughts and he jumps from topic to topic.

We've been using the timer during serious conversations for about six months now. I don't think we'll ever go back.

The timer has made that much of a difference for us.

Over time, because of the timer, we've also been able to discover and communicate what we need from each other in regards to knowing that we're listening.

Jason loves for me to start my turn speaking by recapping what he said, or at least the main points in a couple of sentences. I now can do this because I'm able to keep track!

He feels validated when I do this.

I, on the other hand, appreciate when he's able to comment positively about something I've said or how I've said it.

When he starts with a compliment, I know we're in a safe space to talk about big feelings and he'll be okay.

The timer may not be the solution for everyone, but it can help so many.

In order for it to work at all, both parties have to agree.

Whether you or your partner have ADHD or autism or neither, this may just may be the perfect solution for you!

Psst! It also works with your kids, especially teenagers.

For those who would like more couples resources related to autism and ADHD and would like to follow our story, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

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