Inspiring Children to Memorize Scripture
The key word is Inspire! First of all you as a Parent or Teacher must be inspired and totally committed to memorizing scripture before you can inspire others. Once you have caught the vision of Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart, the battle is half over. We would like to share some ideas that we have found that work with our children and the children we have worked with and we know they will be a blessing to you.
Fishing Game: Inspiring games is a good way to get children to learn their verses. A game we play with the children is the ‘fishing game”. Cut out of poster board your “fish” and write the references of the verses you want them to learn or review on the fish. Then place a paper clip on your fish and put them all in a bowl on the table. Now tie a magnet to a string and then tied the string to a pencil or whatever your “fishing pole” will be. The children can take turns pulling one fish at a time out of the bowl and saying the verse. If they cannot say the verse then they have to throw that fish back. The one with the most fish wins.
Matching Game: On 3x5 cards put the references to the verses you want your child to learn, one verse per card. Now make another set with the same references so that you have two sets. Keep the two sets separate. Place both sets of scripture cards on the table, face down, leaving a space between the two sets. Now to play the game, have the child point to any card he wishes from one set. Turn the card over so he can see the reference. Have the child say the verse. If he says the verse correctly, he can try to match the verse card from the other set of cards. The most matches wins. (modeled after the “Concentration Game”)
With games like these everyone wins actually, because they are learning scripture as they play.
We have found with our children that if we hand them a microphone they will be more inspired to say their verses out loud. A hair brush, stick, a spoon….these are all good microphones! However, if you really have a microphone and amplifier this is very good because you can turn up the volume and let them hear themselves.
Rewards are very important, especially for young children. Always offer them a reward for their scripture quoting. Little boxes of raisins or gummy bears or something like this is good. (Be sure to brush your teeth afterwards!) Have it in your hand where they can see it. Of course with your older children you may have to use more inspiring incentives than a box of raisins…..like money. The amount you give will vary depending upon the age and amount of verses completed.
We believe that in spite of all the games you play and rewards you give and all the inspiration, there should come a time when your child should learn and say his scriptures out of mere obedience to the parents. Of course this begins with relationship and should just be a continuation of your training at home. They should obey whatever you ask them to do. This is the goal you are working towards. The children should be trained to obey in this area just as much as in other areas of his life such as, putting away his toys, not getting into something, eating his food, etc. (Parents please be loving and kind and not too demanding! Make saying scripture pleasant and rewarding)
One thing we have learned about our children is if they learn to say their verses and memorize at home, when you get out in public and there is an opportunity to bless someone with a verse, they will not let you down.
This brings us to another important point we want to bring out: have your children share what they have learned with others. Teach your children to reach out to people. You can give them some tracts when you go to the store and while you are shopping they can be sharing Jesus with people. Then when you check out, perhaps you can pick up the little fellow and hold him in your arms and have him say a verse or chapter to the clerk. You don’t know what an impact you can have in someone’s life by doing this and also your child is learning to witness. As you walk away point out how happy they made that person and how happy you are and Mom or Dad’s going to get you this little ball (or whatever you chose) because you blessed that person. Those verses he is learning are becoming more real because he sees them affecting someone’s life.
Tape Recorder or CD Player with Headphones
One of the best tools we have found to help children memorize is a tape recorder or CD player. You can make your own memory tape or CD for your child. Also the Hide the Word In Your Heart Club has a tape with all of the badges read on it.
Headphones are good to help the children focus on what they are hearing. Find a pair that doesn’t bother the child too much. At times we have put our small children in their car seats or high chairs and given them some blocks, or coloring to do and turned on a Bible Story tape with headphones and they will sit there even up to an hour.
Listening to Bible CD’s or tapes is also good during naps and bed time at night too. In our home at night you can go from room to room and hear different Bible tapes! Genesis in this room, Matthew in that and Psalms in the other room!
You can also play tapes or CD’s in the room where your child is playing and without much effort at all, they will begin to learn those verses.
Repetition is the law of Memory!
Be Spirit Led
The last and most important point is that you must be Spirit-Led in the scripture training of your children. You will find that what works for one may not work for another. Children learn in different ways. Some learn by hearing, others by seeing, others by doing etc… So in every situation you must ask the Lord what is the best way to inspire your children to learn more of God’s Word. God is faithful to His Word and He says, “Ask and ye shall receive…” There were times we were ministering in children’s church during long services and we would have the children up to three hours or more. Eventually you run out of ideas! Well, that is the time the Lord usually gives you new ideas and new inspiration. Out of desperate situations like that can come some of the most anointed ideas! Remember “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him!” Hebrews 11:6
If you are looking for opportunities to share God’s Word with your children you will find them as you go in your everyday life!
God Bless You!