Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scripture memory for toddlers & preschoolers

Awhile back, I posted about how Z had been learning some verses & it was blessing my heart. I've been intentional these last few weeks about teaching him to memorize more Scripture. I figure, if he can remember those Barney & Backyardigans' songs from the DVDs he watches, surely he can memorize Scripture verses.

And you know what? I was right. We started out with just a few verses that I got from the back of the random papers from his Sunday School classes...basically just scaled-down verses of basic truths to help him understand how God's Word is here to help us with our daily lives and teach us how to be holy.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was browsing in the Christian book store during some rare time alone and came across a book called something like "20 Bible verses every preschooler should know." It came with a CD and all kinds of activities to help your child learn a verse each week while enjoying songs and stories to help bring across the point of the Scriptures.

Of course, there was no money in our budget that week to buy a book like this, and I was first disappointed. Then I realized "You can just write down the Scriptures to work on with him at home." :) So I pulled a ridiculously stained, crumpled, old receipt from the depths of my purse and started jotting down references.

I went through those references, shortened/paraphrased the verses to what I thought was an appropriate level for Z, and made up some "flashcards" out of half sheets of basic white computer paper and his box of fun markers. I thought I'd share some of them here with anyone who is interested in trying this with their kids.

Zach knows 7 verses with references now, and we have Bible time most every day where I read from a great book called "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes" by Kenneth N. Taylor. I got this a few weeks ago for pennies at our local library's annual book sale. It's pretty old and the pictures are kind of corny, but it's geared just for his level--3 to 6 yr olds. It's a short Bible story, with a reference (which we read from my "real" Bible later), and then questions for comprehension/discussion at the end of the story.

Honestly, the whole Bible time takes about 15 minutes, but I'm amazed at the questions he can answer. I definitely wouldn't have thought he would have that kind of reading comprehension. Plus, we are discussing truths that help me in teaching & training. This time has become a special time just for the 2 of us while Kenna is napping.

The verses he has learned so far are:
  • I trust in God's Word. - Psalm 119:42
  • We must obey God. - Acts 5:29
  • God loves me so much He sent His Son, Jesus. - John 3:16
  • When I am afraid, I will trust in God. - Psalm 56:3
  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1
  • We love because God loves us. - 1 John 4:19
  • Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. - John 14:6

These are the verses in my "arsenal:"

  • The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. - Psalm 23:1
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. - Hebrews 13:8
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength. - Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. - Psalm 107:1
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart. - Proverbs 3:5
  • Call upon God, and He will listen to you. - Jeremiah 29:12
  • Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only. - Luke 4:8
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13
  • Honor your father and your mother. - Exodus 20:12
  • I hide your Word in my heart so I will not sin against You. - Psalm 119:11
  • Love your neighbor as yourself. - Matthew 22:39
  • Preach the good news to everyone. - Mark 16:15
  • I follow the example of Christ. - I Corinthians 11:1
  • Be kind to one another. - Ephesians 4:32
  • Call to me and I will answer you. - Jeremiah 33:3
  • The Lord bless you and keep you. - Numbers 6:24
  • Blessed are those who hear and obey God's Word. - Luke 11:28
  • We have confidence to talk to God. - 1 John 5:14
  • The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. - James 5:16b
  • Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18a
  • If we confess our sins, he will forgive us. - 1 John 1:9
  • Forgive our sins as we forgive others. - Matthew 6:12
  • How beautiful are the feet that bring good news! - Romans 10:1
  • Come to Jesus and rest. - Matthew 11:28
  • Jesus Christ is Lord. - Philippians 2:11

When I start a new verse, I read it to Z a few times. We talk about what the verse means for a few minutes. If I can, I try to make a rhythym out of it and/or use hand motions. The picture at the top shows a few of the flashcards I made. This was by far the most effective tool for Zachary--he asks me a few times a day to do his Bible verses with him. I need to laminate them, because they're already getting creased and wrinkled!

I hope this is helpful to someone else! If not, I had a great time typing this out & meditating on the verses. Does anyone else have any tips on Scripture memory for kids?

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

thanks, Krista! I was waiting to get to the bookstore to find some short preschool verses, and have not found time to get to the bookstore--- now I don't have to!!! I am super excited about this. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. can't wait to make some posters to put up in Hudson's room! :)