Children begin building their faith early in the home, even before they can read the Bible or reason through life-choices. It’s our job as parents to provide opportunity and give them the tools they need to build that growing faith.
Taking time each week as a family to teach Bible basics and help our children become familiar with their Bibles is a great way to equip them for life. But how do we do that? I don’t know about you, but at times the thought of equipping them for life is overwhelming. Other times I find we get in a boring rut, doing the same ol’ same ol’ over and over again. The idea is to keep them looking forward to these times, not to view them as drudgery. If you have a wide range of ages and abilities, give the younger guys a head start, or give them easier tasks. Over time you’ll be amazed at how much they pick up.
If you are needing some new life in your family devotions, or you want to begin having regular devotions with your children, here is a list of ideas that will infuse learning with a little fun. Keep things low-key and fun. Sit together around the table, or get comfortable on the living room floor. Cuddle up and enjoy being together.
9 Fun Ideas for Family Devotions
Seek and Find – Depending on how well your children know their Bibles, call out the name of a book (i.e. John or Genesis or Revelation), or an exact scripture verse (i.e. John 3:16 or Genesis 1:1) and have everyone race to see who can find it first. When each person arrives at the appropriate place have them stand. When everyone is standing call on one person to read it out loud.
Who Said It? – Take turns reading a quote from scripture and see if others can figure out who said it. Remember – the idea is not to stump them, but to help them become more familiar with scripture! Be prepared to give clues so they can figure out where to look it up for themselves.
Before and After – Have everyone turn to the Table of Contents (Did you know there is usually a table of contents in the beginning?) Go around the circle and ask “Which book comes before such-and-such book?” or “What book is 2 books after such-and-such book?” Have them name 3 books in the Old Testament or 2 books in the New Testament. As them to name the first book and the last book. The purpose is to get them familiar with the names of all the books in the Bible, the names, pronunciation, order, etc.
Draw-It – After reading a section of scripture (one verse, paragraph, chapter – whatever works for the level of your children) Use a drawing pad to begin illustrating what they heard. Have a parent or older child draw one thing mentioned in the passage, pass the paper around the circle and have each person add their own something to it. It’s fun to see how close the final picture represents the story!
Act It Out – After reading a passage assign parts and have them act out what they heard, or have them act out what’s happening as a parent or older child reads. Once in a while pull out the dress-up box or grab a few towels, sheets and other things for props to make these little skits really come alive!
Sing It! – Many of our hymns, worship songs, and children songs are inspired by specific scripture. After reading the evening’s passage, ask the children to think of a song that fits with what they read – then sing it! The music and rhythm of the song will help the scripture stick in the minds and hearts.
Word Search – Give everyone a pad of paper and pencil, then write a word or name on a white board (i.e. Jesus, Love, Holy) then set a timer for 5 minutes (or whatever amount of time you think appropriate) and have everyone find as many references for that word as they can. Have them list the reference on their page. When time is up, have each person read one of their finds out loud.
Bible Pictionary – Use a white board or chalkboard to play your own version of Bible Pictionary. List out several Bible references on slips of paper and have everyone take turns drawing a verse. Have them look it up and then draw an illustrations so everyone can guess what passage they drew. This is a great way to practice memory verses.
Fill-in-the-Blank – Choose a verse the family wants to memorize together. Write it out on a board that everyone can see. Read out loud together several times. Then have everyone turn their backs to the board while you erase one of the words. See who can remember what word is missing. Each time, erase more words. Pretty soon they’ll be quoting the verse with almost no clues!
There is nothing that replaces reading the Bible together as a family. It lays a strong foundation for all of life, it builds family bonds, it brings growth and strength. While children’s bible can be fun and helpful, giving our children opportunity to read, handle and become familiar with the Bible as a whole is something we can do even at a young age.
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Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mom and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 7 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she shares tidbits, tales, tricks and tips from her days of raising children in various stages of cutting those apron strings. You can also find her on FaceBook, Pinterest, and Google+
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