3 Tips to Make the Bible Fun and Interactive for Small Kids By Dr. Marian Rosado, Psy.D
Updated: Oct 26, 2019
The transition from summer vacation to the start of the new school year could be as equally exciting as it is stressful for parents and children alike, especially if you are just starting the journey through the school years. Furthermore, you might be worried about the influence of a secular learning system will have over your children's spiritual formation. If that is you, you are not alone.
Parents, as you settle into your new routine, I thought to ease your stress by providing you with 3 tips to incorporate biblical teachings throughout the school year.
Tip#1: Getting in the habit of reading the Bible daily
The key is to read scripture that is age appropriate. I encourage you to use a children’s Bible or the kids Bible application to help your child engage in biblical teachings.
For infants and toddlers we recommend: Baby’s First Bible Stories
For preschoolers we recommend: The Jesus Storybook: Every Story Whispers His Name
Our suggestion: For young children (VPK-K): parents could start reading three bible verses daily. For older children: parents could increase readings to paragraphs and chapters according to the grade level, the child’s age, reading ability, and attention span.
Parents could also help your young students memorize a Bible verse. Use the chunking method for memory and recall. When using the chunking method you divide the verses into 1-2 phrases/sentences for younger students, then 2-3 phrases/sentences and they continue to develop, and so on for memorization. How does dividing a verse look like? Let’s take John 3:16 as an example:
(1) For God so loved the world / (2) that he gave his one and only Son (3) that whoever believes in him shall not perish / (4) but have eternal life.
Focus on accuracy, but make it FUN.
"Application of the Word is the ultimate goal"
Think about it, young children tend to sing favorite songs and nursery rhymes; which is a good indicator that they could also remember scripture. Thus, use musical beats, hand gestures, and repetition to help with memorization and recall. When the child develops their ability to focus and maintain their attention for longer periods of time, then add more verses. Once the verse is memorized, teach the next verse. Help your child by providing them with cues and praise their attempts.
Application of the Word is the ultimate goal, thus when reading or memorizing verses in the Bible with your children, it is recommended to use multi-sensory and multi-modal learning techniques to allow for FUN learning, memorization, and recall. We all have different styles of learning that allows to take in information.
Making Biblical Learning Fun to help with recall:
Visual : use a children’s bible with plenty of pictures (see our recommendations above)
Aural/Auditory: The Bible comes in various auditory versions for children, Bible App has a bible for kids version that uses passages from the Bible in video and game form, or it could narrate it for you. Also use song tunes to help remember verses.
Kinesthetic/Tactile: use hands on or real life examples, dance or play out the story, use puppets/dolls for pretend play.
Finally, scheduling time to read and memorize the Bible scripture is just as important as actually doing it. Here are some opportunities where you could take some time to go over the scripture, talk about it, or quiz your little one for fun learning:
-On the drive to and from school or church - If you have Bluetooth in your car, use The Bible App for Kids to narrate the Bible for you.
-Story time before bed or first thing in the morning
-Less TV time more hands on Bible reading
-Play time - Playing with your kids is not only bonding time, it’s also a stress reducer for both kids and parents.
Tip#2: Prayer time and talking to ‘Papa Dios’ (Jesus)
Did you know that there are numerous names to call our Heavenly Father. One of the ways we could help our children talk and pray to God is by helping them establish a relationship with Him early on. Helping our children learn His names and characteristics, will in turn, give them an idea of whom they are actually praying to and relating.
Below is a list of Bible studies for children to learn the names of God and his characteristics from Ministry-to-children.com:
Other resources: Review God's promises with your children.
- Here is a guide of God’s promises with accompanying verses called God’s Promises For Kids Chart by Carson Dellosa
- Also, use a children’s daily devotional - My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt is a great one for incorporating memory verses and applying those verses to daily life.
Lastly, take advantage of the day-to-day moments to pray with your kids. For example:
-Before meals and bedtime
-On the way to school
-When your child gets hurt or is sick
-When they feel afraid or sad
-When your child has a reason to praise and give thanks to God
Tip#3: Use behavioral charts
Behavioral charts are a great way to get your child to stay on track at home and at school. Try using bible characters and their stories to teach positive behavioral characteristics and provide your children with a role model of what your desired behavioral outcome is like.
Next develop a behavioral chart and when your child is modeling the desired behavior give him/her a verbal praise and put points on the behavioral chart. Ultimately as the points reach the goal of your choosing a reward is given.
Some examples are having patience, being a good listener, following instructions, honoring your parents, loving our neighbors, sharing, being brave, listening to God, etc. These are all things we learn from the heroes in the Bible. Therefore, use the Bible and track your child’s qualities as a way to establish and mold these characteristics in our children early on. Go ahead and try it. You can buy a behavioral chart and customize it. Check out this behavioral chart.
Did I say Stress reliever?
Lastly, I must admit that I initially mentioned these tips were supposed to relieve your stress. BUT, if you are feeling a deeper sense of responsibility after reading this post — it is exactly my intent. The truth is, that if I take inventory of how much time I spend worrying and preparing for my daughter’s school development versus how much time I spend preparing for her faith development— then, I must admit I have fallen short on the latter. It is a lot of work and preparation to direct your child in the right path. But, it could also be fun!! Therefore, I pray that you could join me this school year to also focus on developing our children’s faith walk. Let’s disciple our children, the task is not easy but the benefit is great!
I welcome other ideas that parents, who are already ahead of the game, could share. Remember, this is not to bring shame, BUT more importantly it is a way to grow and learn together. I know, if I’m struggling with these things in my own life, then there is at least another mom or dad who is in the same boat. Let’s lift each other up as parents and continue to grow as we pass our faith onto our children.
Disclaimer: The content shared in this page is intended as general advice only, and not to replace clinical counseling, medical treatment, legal counsel, or pastoral guidance.