If you liked our blog post 7 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Engage with God’s Word, you’re going to love these next seven ideas. After all, what’s not to love about the ongoing delight of finding new and creative ways to engage with Scripture?
When we interact with God’s Living Word we are, indeed, interacting with Him. This is why teaching your child to not only read but interpret, apply, research, respect, follow, and cherish the Living Word of God is more than a discipline—it’s transformational!
With that in mind, here are seven more creative ways to help your child begin to embrace all that Scripture has to offer:
1. Engage your child’s senses.
Sure, your child can memorize the words “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)—but think how much more memorable this verse will be when learned while enjoying a piece of honeycomb or a honey stick!
Or what if you took your child to a botanical garden in your city and, while you were walking amid the riot of vivid colors and fragrant blooms, you talked about the meaning of Matthew 6:28-32: “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For … your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
Finally, imagine walking together into a bakery rich with aromas, and purchasing some oven-warmed bread (or any kind of baked treat!). As you enjoy the tastes and smells of fresh-baked goodness, talk about Matthew 7:9-11: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
When our senses are engaged, moments are imprinted in our brains much more vividly. Look for ways to combine memorizing, discussing, or reading God’s word while engaging your child’s senses of sight, taste, hearing, smell, or touch.
2. Get God’s Word on your teen’s phone.
Teenagers love their cell phones. We get it. And if you’re a conscientious parent, you’re undoubtedly concerned about the content your child is accessing. The good news (literally!) is that there are more ways than ever for your teen to use their phone to connect with God’s Word.
For example, YouVersion’s Bible app makes engaging with Scripture easy, while YouVersion’s Bible Lens makes it fun. When your child takes a photo, Bible Lens analyzes the content of the photo, then overlays a design and correlating Bible verse to create shareable Bible art. Your child can change out the design, color scheme, or design, then share the image with friends via email, Messenger, or Facebook.
3. Pack a little wisdom around that bologna sandwich.
Packing school lunches? Write a verse from Proverbs on your child’s paper napkin every day. (Aaaand if you want your kid to keep reading those napkins, you may want to avoid rushing immediately to all the proverbs about listening to mom and dad. We’re not saying don’t include those verses—just maybe not all at once. Just saying.)
To get you started, here are five verses for your first week:
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. (Proverbs 10:4)
- Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
- Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
- Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:17-18)
4. Incorporate listening to the Bible into your life.
Audio Bibles allow your family to listen to God’s Word while driving, doing housework, taking a walk—the possibilities are endless. Plus, based on learning preferences, hearing the Bible read aloud might be more impactful for some members of your family than reading a printed or digital version.
5. Teach your child that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
It’s convenient to think that just because you believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, your child will, too. Unfortunately, many nonbelievers (and even many believers!) dismiss this idea, so you can’t assume that other influencers in your child’s life are supporting this belief. In fact, the opposite is true—your child will hear from many people and sources that the Bible is merely a collection of myths and opinions. So if you want your child to embrace “all Scripture” as “God-breathed,” (2 Timothy 3:16), you will need to be intentional about teaching and reinforcing this truth throughout your child’s years in your home.
6. Get Crafty
Crafting something that teaches or celebrates a truth found in Scripture is a wonderful way to help your child engage with God’s Word. All it takes is a trip to Hobby Lobby and a stroll through the aisles of craft supplies to spark the imagination of you or your child.
Here’s one idea to get you started:
Decorate a Mason jar with scraps of fabric, burlap, ribbon, plastic jewels, letters, paint, etc. Fill it with popsicle sticks or wooden craft sticks. (You can find a great selection of natural and colored wood craft sticks at Hobby Lobby).
Finally, designate a “theme” for your jar. For example, a jar designated “Talk to Jesus” can be filled with popsicle sticks on which you and your child can write prayer prompts and truths from Scripture. Here are a few ideas of things you can write on the craft sticks:
- Call on Jesus and pray to Him, and He will listen to you. Jer 29:12
- Where two or three gather in the name of Jesus, He is with them. Matt. 18:20
- Love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28
- When you’re praying, if you’re mad at anyone, forgive them. Mark 11:25
- Thank Jesus for 5 things.
- Pray for _________ (include a name of a family member, friend, teacher, etc)
- Pray for someone who has not treated you nicely.
- Ask Jesus to forgive you for something you did that was wrong.
Need more crafty ideas? Search “Bible crafts” on Pinterest for endless ideas.
7. Coordinate your own dramatized reading of a Bible story.
Read a Bible story out loud, assigning different voices and sounds to different family members. For example, the story of Peter walking towards Jesus on the windy lake (Matthew 14:22-23) has speaking parts for a narrator or two, Peter, Jesus, the wind, and a number of disciples.
You can also combine Luke’s and Matthew’s telling of the Nativity story for a fun Christmas reading. Begin with Luke 2:1-20, where you’ll find speaking parts for one or more narrators, the angel of the Lord, a couple members of the heavenly host, and a couple of shepherds (you could also add a few “mooing,” “heehawing” and “baaing” parts for animals around the manger, plus sheep!) Add Matthew 2:1-12 and you’ve got parts for another narrator or two, magi, King Herod, as well as chief priests and teachers.
You can take the fun to a whole new level by recording your reading and creating your own dramatized Bible reading on audio!
What did you think of these ways to encourage your children to engage in God’s Word? What are some of your favorite things you do as a family to instill a desire for God’s Word into your children’s hearts and minds?