If faith is a primary focus for your family, scripture-memory activities can help you instill key spiritual truths in your children's lives from a young age. When you disguise your children's spiritual training as play, they learn scriptural truths while enjoying the fun of games. In doing so, parents can increase the odds that their children will understand and apply the scriptural lessons learned from scripture memory. At the same time, parents can help little ones relate such lessons to everyday life.
Games are an effective way to have your children learn through play. One simple scripture-memory game is to choose a scripture, then write each word of the verse on a card. Then, challenge your kids to race to assemble the cards in the correct order so that, when they are finished, they have assembled the entire scripture in correct order. Another variation of this game is to hand your kids a card with a scripture reference written on it and hide the rest of the cards around the room or house. Have your kids look up the scripture and then hunt for the other cards and place them in order. Try writing a verse in a secret code and let your kids try to decode it and read it aloud. For an extra challenge, kids can create their own codes, encode their verses and trade for decoding. Pass a Bible, ball or another small object around a circle as music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the object must call out the next word of the verse. Continue until the verse is complete. Consider reciting the verse using puppets. Divide your children into two teams and hold a scripture relay race, with each team taking turns writing the verse one word at a time. The first team to finish is the winning team.
Music is a well-known mnemonic device that helps children connect concepts with tune and rhythm for greater retention. Setting scripture to music makes use of this truth to lock the words of scripture in a child's mind as he goes about singing long after the lesson is over. Many Psalms are familiar tunes in many children's religious education programs, but other scripture has been made into music as well. If no existing song comes to mind for the scriptures you have in mind for your children to memorize, you can create your own tune for any verse. Make up motions to go with the songs to engage the motor memory as well.
Some children learn best when their bodies are in motion. Reciting scripture as part of a physical workout can help set the scripture in your child's memory, augmenting her physical and spiritual health at the same time. Integrate scripture into a game of ping-pong, volleyball, badminton or tennis by having each player call out one word of the verse every time she hits the ball. If someone misses, start again and take up where you left off until the verse is finished. Draw a hopscotch path and place a word or phrase from the verse in each box. Have the child hop the path and call out the words as she lands on each spot. Children can also shout, whisper or speak in fast forward or slow motion, reciting the verse while jogging, marching, tiptoeing, walking backward, doing jumping jacks, windmills, frisbee, playing catch or any other exercise.
Artistic children can scratch their creative itches while memorizing assigned scripture passages. Write a verse on a piece of poster board or cardboard. Let your child illustrate it and cut it apart. Mix up the pieces and challenge your child to reassemble the picture and read the verse. To help children focus in on the meaning of the words, they can create a rebus verse by replacing key words with photos or drawings that illustrate the word; a rebus is a device that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words. If you have more than one child, each one can do a different verse, trade and try to read each other's rebus. Hang the words and pictures that relate to the meaning from an overhead support to create a scripture mobile.
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