By Julie Heath
Helping kids develop familiarity with God’s Word is so crucial to their spiritual development. You most likely encourage Bible skills as you teach but consider more mindfully including these activities in your small-group teaching times.
- Memorization/Retelling: Do you include a weekly Bible verse to memorize in your small group or children’s worship time? Do you ever include Bible story learning so the children can retell that Bible story? Learning verses is essential, and being able to recount Bible stories will help children put those verses in context and better understand how God works in true life.
“Drill” Activities: I learned a “Books of the Bible” chant in my childhood and it is handy for helping me find Habakkuk without resorting to my Bible’s table of contents. Provide opportunities for developing comfort in using the Bible. Speed drills for finding books of the Bible, racing to find specific Bible verses, or a challenge to find a passage that talks about a specific person can be a fun part of a weekly lesson or could be a focus of an evening activity.
- Preview (not Review) Questions: Before you begin, ask your kiddos if they can remember where the story is in the Bible. Ask: Where is the story of the fall of the walls of Jericho located? Then, scale your expected response to the age of your group: young children could answer “Old Testament”; older children could answer “Book of Joshua” or “Joshua, chapter 6.”
- Early Arriver (or Extended Session) Activities: These can include books-of-the-Bible skills games to learn the order of the books. Use items available for purchase (like flash cards or board games) or create your own with anything from clothespins to plastic cups.
- Crafts and Activities: Simple Bible story crafts, Bible activity books, and games are great to have on hand for those times when planned activities do not take up all of your time together. They can reinforce the lesson or introduce another aspect of the story.
Bonus ideas: Use several of the ideas above in the “spaces” of your lessons. Extend the lesson by beginning to memorize a key verse from the lesson and prepare kiddos for a follow-up the next week. Pull out books-of-the-Bible flash cards for individuals to put in the correct order (perhaps you can include prizes or privileges for those who complete the task first). Provide art supplies to allow them to freely create art that they think tells the Bible story of the day.
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