There is so much learning and fun to be had in your children’s ministry or Sunday school classroom!
Sometimes we underestimate the power behind memorizing Scripture and even knowing how to use the Bible. Helping kids with these basic skills now will help them as they grow physically and spiritually! Here are some practical tips and ideas for just that.
Bible Memory Pack
Help kids connect with God through His Word! As kids memorize key Bible verses, they’ll be reminded of who God is and what He has done for us. Kids will be challenged to live out their faith as they respond to God’s Word.
Activities and Games
- Have kids create motions to go along with key words.
- Have kids sit or stand in a circle. Give them a soft object to pass around the circle. When kids get the object, they say the next word of the Bible Memory. Or they could bop a balloon around the circle while saying the Bible Memory.
- Let kids work in pairs or small groups to help each other learn the Bible Memory.
- Have kids say the Bible Memory creatively—loudly, softly, standing, and so forth.
- Use self-stick notes to cover up a few words of the Bible Memory. Have kids say the passage. Then cover up more words, and have kids say it again. Keep going until all the words are covered up.
- Lead students in doing sign language to go along with key words. If you don’t know sign language, go online to see videos of how to do American Sign Language.
- Let kids illustrate the Bible Memory. Each kid could do an illustration of the Bible Memory, or small groups could illustrate different parts of the Bible Memory.
- Let kids use modeling dough to create symbols that go along with key words of the Bible Memory.
- Ask students to stand and form a circle. Give a yarn ball to a student. That student should say the first word of the Bible Memory. While holding on to one end of the yarn, that kid passes the yarn ball to someone standing beside him. That kid says the next word of the Bible Memory. While holding on to a piece of yarn, that kid passes the yarn ball to the next person. Students should keep going like this until the Bible Memory has been said. Tell students that they can refer to the Bible Memory poster if they need to. When finished, let students try it again. Ask them to say the Bible Memory a little faster and pass the yarn ball faster.
- Divide the class into two groups. Have the groups stand facing each other, several feet apart. Using the Bible memory poster, ask one group to read together until the first punctuation mark. The second group then reads to the next punctuation mark. Keep going like this for the entire verse. Do again, letting the second group go first.
Activities for Specific Bible Verses
- Genesis 1:1: Divide the class into teams and have kids write or draw the wonderful things God has created. Set a time limit based on the needs of your group. Spend some time thanking God for all the great things He made.
- Deuteronomy 6:5: Ask your kids about this verse. What are some of the ways God has shown His love to you? In what ways can you show how much you love God? Challenge them to choose a special way to show love that day.
- Isaiah 9:6: The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the coming of God’s promised Savior. Read Isaiah 9:6 aloud. Who was the promised Savior the Old Testament prophets told about (Jesus)? What do you do to get ready for school? To go on a trip? To celebrate Christmas? What do you do that especially reminds you of Jesus’ birth? Because Jesus came to live on earth, what do we learn about God (God loves all people. God made a way for our sins to be forgiven.)? Who has helped you learn about the coming of Jesus as our Savior?
- Isaiah 9:6: Have kids form two groups, and give each group a Bible, paper, and pencils. Have kids read aloud Isaiah 9:6 in their groups. Assign each group two of the names mentioned in Isaiah 9:6: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, or Prince of Peace. Aske groups to discuss why the name assigned to them is important and what it means to them and how it helps them have hope in Jesus. Give kids examples to get started (If assigned Wonderful Counselor, kids might discuss how friends sometimes argue. If they turn to Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, they can follow his advice about forgiving.) and then have them share with the class.
- Matthew 6:9-13: Tell students that not only can their words honor God, but the way they sit or stand or what they’re doing during prayer time can also honor God. Ask students to sit or stand in a way that would honor God. Have a volunteer lead everyone in saying and praying aloud, in a respectful voice, Matthew 6:9-13—the prayer Jesus taught His disciples.
- Matthew 6:9-13: Challenge pairs of students to stand a short distance apart and push on each other’s hands as they say the Bible Memory. Try to pair students who don’t know the verses very well with those who do. Tell kids that they can push back, or resist, temptation when they pray and ask for God’s help. Remind kids that Jesus wants us to pray because He knows that God answers prayers.
- Matthew 28:5, 6: Divide the class into two groups. Have the groups stand several feet apart, facing each other. Have one group read verse 5, followed by the other group reading verse 6. Do again; then have the groups change verses. Then lead all the kids in saying the Bible Memory verses together.
- Matthew 28:5, 6: Challenge students to say this message as they think the angel might have said it. Encourage students to think about the tone of voice the angel may have had and what expression might have been on his face.
- Matthew 28:19, 20: Have kids stand in a line against the wall to play this “Simon-Says-type game”. Tell kids to take two steps forward every time you say something that Jesus said to GO and DO. (Examples: GO and PRAY, GO and MAKE DISCIPLES, GO and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, GO and BAPTIZE, GO and TEACH, etc.). If JESUS doesn’t say to GO and DO, kids should stand still until the next command (have fun making silly commands).
- Matthew 28:19, 20: Because Jesus is alive, we know He will keep His promise to always be with us and help us obey His commands. Let’s play a game we can only win by having a partner help us.
Divide the group into equal teams (If needed, you can join the fun!) Teams are to line up in single-file lines on one side of the playing area, leaving plenty of space between teams. Kids become partners with the team member behind them or in front of them in line. Give the first partners in each line a tennis ball. At your signal, the first partners on each team should roll the ball back and forth to each other while moving to the opposite side of the playing area, then back to the line. The next partners repeat the same action. Keep playing until all the partners on each team have had a turn. Switch partners and play again as time permits. When you’re done playing, ask:
What would happen if you had no partner for this game?
How can knowing Jesus is always with His followers help you?
How does it make you feel to know that Jesus promises to always be with you?
- John 3:16, 17: Tell kids to think of someone they love. Then they should say the verses to themselves, substituting the person’s name for “the world” (occurs four times) and “whoever.” After that, they should do the same thing again, but substitute the name of someone they only know a little bit. After that, they should do the same thing again, but substitute the name of someone they don’t get along with very well. Talk about how God wants everyone to accept His gift of salvation—ourselves, our friends, our families, everyone we know, and everyone we don’t know.
- John 3:16, 17: Before class, cut paper into strips that will cover the words “the world” on the Bible Memory poster. You’ll need one paper strip per student. Give each student a paper strip, and have kids use markers to write their names on the paper strips. Give a small portion of reusable adhesive to a volunteer. Ask the volunteer to put the adhesive on her paper strip and put it on the poster covering the words “the world.” Lead the class in reading the Bible Memory, saying the student’s name instead of “the world.” The volunteer can then carefully pull off her paper strip. Do the same for each student, unless there is a student who really does not want to.
- Acts 4:12: Have kids look up the meaning of their names in a baby book. On their name tags, have them write their names and under it the meanings. Then ask kids to talk about the meaning of Jesus’ name (Messiah).
- Galatians 5:22-25: Ask kids to a motion for each fruit of the Spirit, along with a few other key words.
- Galatians 5:22-25: Have kids stand in a circle. Hold a piece of fruit and say the word “love.” Toss the fruit to someone. That person says the next fruit of the Spirit, “joy.” Students should keep tossing the fruit until all nine of the fruits have been named. Then let kids try the same thing again, but saying the entire Bible Memory.
- Ephesians 6:10, 11: Gather oversized clothing (hat, vest, coat or jacket, hiking boots), a belt, and a walking stick before you meet. Ask a volunteer to pretend to go on a hike. The volunteer will put on the articles of clothing in the following order: belt (representing the belt of truth), vest (representing the breastplate of righteousness), boots (representing feet fitted with the gospel of peace), jacket (representing the shield of faith), and hat (representing the helmet of salvation). Then give him or her the walking stick (representing the sword of the Spirit). As the volunteer takes each item, explain the safety qualities of each. Then compare the use of these special protective items when we go hiking to putting on the full armor of God described in the Bible to protect us from evil.
The belt allows us to carry water and other tools for survival.
The vest and jacket protect us from cold or rain.
The hat protects our head from the hot sun
The boots keep our feet strong and dry.
The walking stick helps us stay balanced on crooked paths.
Bible Tools Pack
Help kids connect with the Bible! Kids will explore Old and New Testament maps and discover through Bible time lines that God offers salvation to all people. Kids will also learn Bible tips and tools, be challenged to memorize the names and order of the books of the Bible, and learn that God’s Word is priceless!
Bible Time Lines
- Have kids find the icons that match the events or people being studied. Kids can also create icons for other events or people and add them to the time lines.
- When you have extra time, call out Bible events or people from the time lines. Ask kids to tell whether the events happened during Old or New Testament times or whether the people lived during Old or New Testament times. For added fun, play a game of Top Five. Once a person or event has been located on the time line, ask kids to name five facts about that person or event. If they can’t name five facts, let them use Bible dictionaries and other tools (print and/or digital).
- Encourage kids to memorize the three stages of God’s plan of salvation and make up motions for each. (God prepares for salvation. God sends salvation. God offers salvation.) Discuss why God’s plan of salvation is so important.
- Encourage students to memorize the eight eras of Bible history and make up motions for each. (Creation & the Fall, Patriarchs, Exodus & Conquest, Judges, Kings & Prophets, Exile & Return, Jesus’ Life, Early Church)
- Challenge kids to memorize and make up motions for people and events represented by the icons in a certain era of Bible history.
- Call out Bible events or people pictured on the lines. Let kids tell whether the events happened or the people lived during the stage of God preparing for salvation, God sending salvation, or God offering salvation.
- Call out Bible events or people pictured on the time lines. Have students tell in which era of Bible history the events happened or the people lived. (Creation & the Fall, Patriarchs, Exodus & Conquest, Judges, Kings & Prophets, Exile & Return, Jesus’ Life, Early Church)
- Have kids name a favorite Bible event or person pictured on the Bible Time Lines and tell why the event or person is a favorite.
- Have students name an era of Bible history they would have liked to have lived in and tell why.
- Write each book of the Bible on an index card. Using Bible commentaries and other tools, help kids find out when the books were written. Kids can write those dates on the cards. Then they can place the Bible book cards along the time lines, showing when the books were written.
- Ask kids to find on the maps the places where events took place or where people lived. Kids can also add other place names to the maps.
- When you have extra time, call out places on the maps and ask kids to locate them. Ask kids to tell what event(s) took place or who lived in a particular area or town. Let kids use Bible concordances and other tools to find where the places are mentioned in the Bible.
- Using the Bible maps as a guide, have students draw their own Bible maps.
- Using the Early Church map as a guide, have kids draw their own early church map. Put on the Early Church map some lines and/or arrows to show Paul’s first, second, and third journeys, along with his journey to Rome. Kids could then chart Paul’s journeys on their maps.
- Display a current world map (or find one online to show) so kids can identify and compare Old Testament and New Testament Bible cities, countries, and bodies of water, to those of today.
- Make Bible places come alive! Go online and show students video clips and photos of present-day places such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, and more.
- Let kids name a place pictured on a map where they would have liked to live and tell why.
Bible Tools Posters
- From the How to Get the Most from the Bible poster, have volunteers read the ideas under “Know” and “Tips.” Talk about how kids can do what is suggested. Show kids Bibles in different translations. Keep God’s Word central—this is how the Lord of the universe chose to communicate to us!
- Call out the name of a book in the Bible. Ask kids to name five people or five events mentioned in that book. Have them also tell the names of the other books in the same division.
- Call out the name of a book in the Bible. Ask kids to name its author.
- Challenge students to memorize the names of Bible books in different divisions of the Bible (Old Testament: Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets; New Testament: Gospels, History, Letters, Prophecy)
- Bring to class each of the Bible tools shown (print and/or digital) on the How to Get the Most from the Bible poster. Let kids look at the Bible tools and practice using them. Spend at least a couple weeks on each, helping kids know the differences between them.
- Challenge kids to memorize, in order, the names of the Old Testament books.
- Challenge kids to memorize, in order, the names of the New Testament books.
- Challenge kids to memorize, in order, the names of all the books of the Bible.
- Let students use the Books of the Bible poster as a reference for a game of Bible Dive-in. Give each student (or pair of students) a Bible. Call out the name of a Bible book and let kids find the book in their Bibles. Once everyone has found the book, ask kids to identify which division of the Bible the book is in. Discuss the general contents of the book and why and/or how it fits in that division.
- Discuss the ideas found on the How to Get the Most from the Bible poster. Challenge kids to choose at least one idea that would help them get more from the Bible. Have kids write those ideas on index cards and either place the cards in their Bibles or place them where they frequently read their Bibles.