“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalms 119:11 NIV
Making the Bible Come Alive for Young Children
We are instructed in Psalm 119:11 to keep God’s words close to our heart, to intertwine them into the very fabric of our being so that they will intimately influence our lives. Until recently, I didn’t realize how important that calling is for my children too! As parents, it is tempting to rely on Sunday school to encourage and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. However, Deuteronomy 6:7 charges us as parents with teaching God’s Word to our children!
How do we teach our children to love the Lord? How do we take ancient, sometimes conceptually abstract biblical stories and help our children see them as more than just fairytales? We must allow God’s Word to deeply invade our hearts and homes so that experiencing its truths becomes as much a part of our day as breathing!
We can facilitate our children in forming personal connections with God’s Word through engaging their minds and their senses. Let me share some fun, hands-on ideas you can try with your young children!
- Encourage your children to act out the stories you read from the Bible. Provide simple costumes or props, but remember it doesn’t have to be fancy to make an impression.
- Provide your children with a special art notebook they can use to connect through illustration with stories you have read.
- Encourage children to become “Bible reporters.” Start a family newspaper in which they can write about biblical stories as if they are exciting current events.
- Make daily devotions a sweet time! Psalm 119:103 tells us that God’s words are like honey on our lips. Keep treats like small chocolates or lollipops on hand and indulge during your daily Bible-time together.
- Encourage your children to include what you are reading in their play. Children connect with heroic stories or complex concepts in this way!
- Memorize Scripture together. Make it fun with special rewards and exciting goals to work toward.
- Weave lessons about God into routine events. Bath time may be a wonderful opportunity to share the story of Noah’s flood with your young child. And the loneliness that an older child is feeling may allow him to truly connect with the loving presence and companionship that Jesus offers.
This is just a small sampling of ideas. Brainstorm to come up with ways to reach the heart and unique personality of your children for God’s kingdom!
Pray and ask God to meet the needs of your children’s hearts. Ask God to make Himself known to your children in a way that only He can. His love for your children is deeper than anyone could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:17-19)!