Hi and welcome to Pause & Play!

Do your kids spend more time in front of a screen than anywhere else?

Do you share the frustration of many parents that whenever you pick up a new DVD or book aimed at children you find an indication of something inappropriate or just not in line with God's Best in the blurb?

Do you find yourself wishing that you had access to a much wider range of wholesome entertainment for your family instead of always having to say 'we don't watch this', 'you can't play that', 'I don't care that it's rated PG, you're not going to see it'?

Well hopefully you've come to the right place. This blog will aim to do what it says on the tin and resource CCFH parents with suggestions of wholesome media (DVDs, websites, music, games, books etc) to try at home and encourage everyone in the family to pause and play with a godly focus. Some featured media will be overtly Christian while other review items might simply be mainstream programming or books that have a particularly encouraging message.

I hope you'll enjoy following the blog and will be able to get into using some of the media reviewed here. It would be great if as many people as possible could add their own experiences of using the media in a family setting and also contribute other recommendations for people to try. Please also indicate when you are happy to lend out recommended media to other CCFH families.

Happy Blogging All


Six Steps Towards Jesus - Lent 2015

Hi everyone - well it's been a while and clearly nobody wanted to follow this blog the first time round but my passion for resourcing and encouraging each other in our mission to do faith at home, through what we post online, hasn't changed so let's see if anyone fancies posting this time round :)

If you are a family connected with Christ Church then you have hopefully received your copy of 'Six Steps Towards Jesus' a booklet with 6 weekly Bible Challenges in to use with your family during Lent this year.  If you haven't got a copy and would like one then drop me a message via the church website and I'll happily get a copy to you.

I hope that you will all enjoy having a go at the different readings and challenges for each week and that you will find a few gems of inspiration for your faith journey in there - whether from the readings, activities or just general discussion that happens as you look at each page for a week. Above all I hope that this can just be one simple way that we can consciously move a bit closer to Jesus through this Lent and so be ready to celebrate him with heartfelt worship when we come to the season of Easter.

So you've got the booklet, you've got your family, why do we need a blog?  Well it's great to journey together with God in our homes and with our families and Lent is a great time to really focus on doing this well together, but it can be even more encouraging to remember that we are not just part of our individual families but part of God's Big Family too :)  So this blog is about encouraging each other, doing faith together and spurring each other on to dare to go closer to Jesus than we have ever been, whatever that means for each of us.  We can encourage each other by sharing our experiences as we reflect each week - what has God been bringing to mind for us?  Do we have any questions that we'd like answers to?  Is there something that we're not sure we understand from the readings?  Let's throw it open for discussion!  How have you found the challenges?  Have they made a positive difference to your family life?  There are no small thoughts and no insignificant contributions here - let's share and journey together this Lent - let the posts begin :)


a-MAZE-ing what you find online

Hey guys

Thought we could do with a new post.

My latest discovery for something fun and wholesome for kids to do online was hiding in the 'Kidzone' section of Juniper Hill School's website (I was looking for Term Dates and got momentarily distracted - it's all very professional honest!)

Click here to go to Maze Race

Anyway, I've decided to turn my distractions into something productive for us all on Pause & Play:

This Maze Race game is fun (and slightly addictive!) and is a great example of how something perfectly ordinary can be used to prompt some spiritual reflection and discussion:

Kids use the arrow keys on the computer to control the green ball and move it to the flag before the red ball has a chance to get there (the computer is controlling the red ball).  You and your child could have fun trying to get to higher and higher levels or beat each other's personal best score.  As you do this, it is a great opportunity to reflect on how life can sometimes feel like a maze - every day we have to make choices and decisions, we have to decide what is a good thing to do and what is a bad thing, which is the right way and which is the wrong way.  In this game there is the added pressure that we are racing the red ball to the flag - in life there can be lots of outside pressures that stress us out too.  I found that if I wasn't careful, I would focus on what the red ball was doing instead of looking where I was going in the maze; that was a very easy way to lose - taking my eye off the ball literally!!  In life we have Jesus to help us choose the best way - we need to keep our eyes on him and not on the distractions around.

Perhaps you could do some 'wondering' with your child following the game, e.g.  I wonder what things have happened today/this week that have felt a bit like being in a maze?  I wonder what/who the red ball is in real life?  I wonder what the flag could be really, what are we racing towards?  It is good to allow your child to verbalise their wondering before imposing your own ideas, but remember to include your own thoughts in the conversation at an appropriate point too - it is great for children to know that it is not only them who face choices and confusion in life but that we are all journeying and having to make difficult decisions to try and follow Jesus every day.

Have an a-MAZE-ing playtime ;)


Searching for the Sacred in the Secular

A challenge to every Christian - we are to be in the world but not of the world - this challenge is presented particularly powerfully to our children.  They are presented every day with the choice to prioritise Jesus or compromise God's values in favour of popular trends; to fit in with friends and be 'cool' or to be purposefully counter-cultural.  With our society moving further and further from God's standards, following Jesus or following popular culture are most frequently mutually exclusive choices.  But how fantastic when we come across popular movies, songs, fiction books etc that promote biblical principles as well as being 'cool', when we can promote popular culture as something wholesome for our children.  So I challenge you all to be on the lookout for the sacred in the secular and when you spot God-themes in popular kids tv, films etc. post it here and lets make a big deal about promoting amongst our kids.

My first contribution is the aptly titled Disney Channel Movie 'Jump In' featuring a very young looking Corbin Bleu (of High School Musical fame).

This movie is all about a young boy whose Father is trying to force him into the manly sport of boxing (which is also a family tradition) when secretly the boy loves skipping!  Corbin Bleu's character has to overcome his dad's prejudices, taunting and bullying from kids at school, stereotypes about what boys and girls should do with their time and ultimately the challenge of breaking the mold, stepping out from the crowd and sharing his passion for Double Dutch Skipping with the world!  In doing this he helps out the girl next door who has been his secret best friend for years and the theme of loyalty is also explored.

Whilst it is slightly worrying that I enjoyed this movie so much as a 26 year old, I would thoroughly recommend it as a fantastic family film.  Watch it and post what you think :)