4 Simple Ways to Teach Scripture to Young Children
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
I’ve always found this passage a rather tough pill to swallow. How can we really think about and discuss God’s Word at every corner of our day? I’ve also found it difficult because my children are so young. At the ages of three and one, how can I discuss biblical matters in ways they understand?
Lately, though, I’ve purposed in my heart to try. And I’ve found that if you look for opportunities to teach God’s Word to your children, you’ll be surprised how often they pop up. I’ve still got a long way to go, but here are some simple, practical ways I’ve found to incorporate God’s Word into my children’s daily lives.
- Keep Sunday School class materials. Those of us who are church-going families often come home with an assortment of crafts, Scripture pages, and coloring sheets. And — I’ll be honest — formerly, I just threw them away. I didn’t see the need for more “trash” on the kitchen table. But I’ve realized that these papers are perfect conversation starters for talking about the Bible. Now I leave my daughter’s coloring pages and worksheets on the bar, and when we sit down for a meal, I’ll ask her about them. “Tell me about this page. What were you learning here?”
- Relate activities to Bible stories. The best way for young children to grab onto God’s Word and enjoy it is through the exciting stories in the Bible. My daughter loves stories like Jonah and the Whale and Noah’s Ark. So lately I’ve been trying to bring them up when they relate to something we’re doing. For example, a few weeks ago we were playing in the yard and she climbed into her daddy’s fishing boat. It seemed like the perfect time to tell her about Simon Peter, who’d been fishing all night with no luck but caught a boat full when he cast his net one more time in faith. We acted out the story, pretending to throw our nets over the boat, and she engaged with the Bible through play.
- Read your Bible in front of them. When my daughter catches me with an open Bible, she usually says, “Hey! Read me the story about Jesus being born!” (or Jesus being raised from the dead, etc.) At those moments — when she’s interrupting my “quiet time” — I have to remind myself that it’s just as important for me to stop and read the Bible to her as it is for me to read alone. So I’ll stop, flip to the requested story, and read it in the most exciting tone I can. I love that reading the Bible in front of her causes her to want to hear it too. It’s modeling a love for God’s Word that she is already picking up.
- Read Christian children’s books. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to instill biblical teaching into young kids. Both of mine have always loved books. But I’m working on adding more Christ-centered books to our collection, rather than ones that are just silly and cute. One of my favorite publishers of Christian children’s books is Tommy Nelson. On my blog, I partner with Tommy Nelson to give away Christ-centered books for kids each month. Their books are catchy, colorful and intentional. If you’re going to read to your kids anyway (which most of us are), why not read books that teach biblical concepts?
These are just some simple ways to “impress [God’s commandments] on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). I’m sure you’ve got more. What are the best methods you’ve found? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thank you for this post. I too find it challenging to teach infats/ toddlers about the Word. I’m a daycare provider and that’s mostly the age range i take care of. I try to either read a children’s Bible to them while they’re eating breakfast or we watch a “Bible” DVD, such as:
K10C (Kid’s 10 Commandments)
The Amazing Miracles
Nest Entertainment The Animated Stories from the New Testament
Adventures in the Book of Virtue
Max Lucado’s Punchinello series (You Are Special, You Are Mine, If Only I Had a Green Nose)
Sheila Walsh’s Gigi God’s Little Princess
Brentwood Kids co. Sing, Stretch and Play
Or we watch one on YouTube, such as:
Boz the Green Bear
The Beginner’s Bible cartoons
Karyn Henley’s songs
I also try to find ways, as you mentioned, to “highlight” what’s in the BIble. An example: we were outside and one of the daycare girls stepped on a bug. I told her not to do that because not only are we giants to the bugs and ants and she wouldn’t want a giant to come step on her, and the bugs and ants belong outside–not in the house, but also because God said in the BIble to take care of every living creature, even the ones that crawl on the ground (Genesis 1:26, 28, 30) If a bug is found inside, I try to catch it in a container with a lid and set it free outside.
There are online lessons/ curriculum. Some that I’ve printed out and laminated, but still need to cut out and organize, such as:
Homeschool Creations http://homeschoolcreations.com/Bible.html
Bible Story Printables http://biblestoryprintables.com/
Confessions of a Homeschooler http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/03/letter-o-preschool-activities-for-kids.html
Pamm’s House http://www.pammshouse.com/toddbible.html
Little Blessings http://lbbl.homestead.com/
Hope this helps.
Great tips, Stacey! We watch many of those DVDs too. And I’m going to have to check out some of those online resources!
I really liked your ideas about incorporating the Bible into our children’s daily life! I have found that if I work at memorizing Scripture in front of my girls (ages 1, 2, and 3) and encourage then to participate that they memorize the verses too. I love hiding God’s Word in their hearts! So far my 3 year old has memorized 9 verses and my 2 year old has memorized 8 verses. Every time they memorize 10 they get a special prize. And I don’t mean really short verses – we choose verses based on what issues we are dealing with – obeying (Eph 6:1), not listening (James 1:19), arguing (Phil. 2:14), ungratefulness (Ps. 107:1), etc. I have been amazed at their ability to memorize. They do not fully understand – but the truth is there for the Holy Spirit to use! And when they are older – instead of writing senteces for punishment, they can write
thr verse that applies to the situation.
Sheilah, what an inspiration! I have just started doing scripture memorization with my 3-year-old. She has memorized one verse and is so proud! Your family is proof, though, that they’re capable of more than we think!
Very practical advice for busy mothers of young children! Thank you for allowing God to use you, and for raising your children with the knowledge of the Word, and to love the Lord!
As soon as my children were old enough for me to teach them not to steal, lie, hit, say unkind words, I would instruct them and tell them why…..”God says…” and then share a scripture with them that I had memorized by heart through the years of serving God and put it words that they could understand. Simply telling your child it is wrong to lie/steal/be unkind is not enough. They need to know as soon as you begin teaching them that we don’t do these things because God says we are not to do them. Really since the age of 3-4 we have talked about these things, even sharing with them what sin is, how we are born to naturally do “bad things”, but that is why God sent His son Jesus to die for us so we could be forgiven and be changed by Him living in our hearts. You will be amazed how they completely embrace it because they have faith that is convicting! As Jesus wants us to come to Him….as little children…that have complete faith. Now that my kids are older (5, 9, & 10) I am starting to see the fruit of daily referring to God’s Word and His expectations that He has concerning how we are to live our lives. I use my own relationship with God, my struggles, how I repent, how I communicate with God through prayer and how God communicates to me through the Bible and preaching…..I teach all this to my kids, they watch me serve God, the greatest example of all to them! It’s wonderful to see God working in their young lives as they are learning how to have a relationship with Him. What a joy that I pray continues for the rest of their lives!!
Kelcie, you have always been good at writing, even as a child. I found and read a few little stories through the years that you left as our house.