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Camping with compassion

Camping with compassion

For this activity, you’ll set up a pretend campsite indoors and let your children practice offering comfort and reassurance to siblings and stuffed toys who are afraid of the dark.

Set up a pretend tent by throwing a blanket over a table, then have your children bring blankets, pillows and their favourite stuffed animal to go “camping” with them. Turn off all lights and pretend it’s nighttime, and use a flashlight inside your tent.

Let your children take turns prowling around outside the tent, growling like a wild animal. Encourage those inside the tent to comfort each other, and their stuffed animals, by saying, Hush. There’s no need to cry. Jesus is with us.

Celebrate by making s’mores and singing campfire songs that assure your children of God’s ongoing presence and protection. Finish by reading 2 Corinthians 1:2-4.

In the future, make it a family tradition to offer to “be a stuffy” for anyone who is discouraged or troubled. Remind your children of the talk you had in the tent about how much better it feels to have someone or something offering comfort when we are experiencing difficult emotions.

Questions for discussion
  • What do you do when you need comfort at night?
  • Which is your favourite animal, doll or blanket to use as a comforter?
  • Can you tell about a time when you needed a comforter?
  • When there’s no stuffed animal, parent or friend around, who can comfort you?
  • Why does God comfort us?
  • How can you comfort others?
Key concepts

Most of us find it comforting to be close to someone else if we feel lonely or scared. When children are frightened, it helps them feel better when they hug a stuffed animal, a pet or a parent. We can be a comforter or serve as a kind of “stuffed animal” for someone who is sad, alone or stressed by encouraging them with kind words and offering them a hug. The Bible tells us that God comforts us in our troubles so that we can share that comfort with others who are also experiencing difficulties. Offering comfort is a way of showing compassion for others.

Relevant Scripture

2 Corinthians 1:2-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.