Have you ever tried to teach a Sunday school lesson to eighteen toddlers? I have, and let me tell you it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. Those kiddos have absolutelyno attention span! I was doing some research one time and I read that when teaching children, you should add three minutes to every year of the child’s age. For instance, my toddlers class of two-and-three-year-olds should be able to pay attention for as long as 6-9 minutes. Whoever thought of that idea obviously never taught a toddler’s Sunday school class…or children for that matter. I could barely get the children to sit on floor and sing “Jesus Loves Me” let alone try to teach a six to nine minute lesson even with several pictures!
But, children should start learning the Bible even before they are able to understand words. After all, repetition is the key to learning! What’s even better than just reading the stories from the Bible is to get them involved in the story! You’re probably thinking, “Okay, what does that even mean?” Are you ready for this? Here is the ultimate list of creative ways to teach children the Bible!
1. Indoor/outdoor Bible scavenger hunts: Pick a story, read through the passage, choose objects from story, make a list of the items they need to find, read the story to the kids, and let them start searching. Here is just one example.
Here is just one example. Use the 7 days of Creation story and have them find items from inside and outside that correlate with each of the days. Then for the “7th” day have them take their afternoon nap because God rested on the 7th day. This one is great for preschool or kindergarten students or even just little ones at home.
2. Bible menu – cook through the Bible!: Have the kids cook a meal or dish with you that has to do with the latest Bible story they heard. Need inspiration? I found this great list of Bible inspired recipes here!
Bible, Bible, Bible!:
1. Memorize and quote Scripture together: Here is a list of some really simple verses for children of all ages to memorize. . I have found that I need this for my bus route because we have children ranging in age from 4-18 and it can be really hard to find verses for everyone on the bus to learn at the same time.
2. Decorate with Scripture: Hang Scripture everywhere! Have nice framed verses hanging on the walls of your house. Post Scripture on the refrigerator door. Have the kids decorate their own pictures with verses and hang them on the walls in their rooms.
Crafts and Coloring:
1. Bible scrapbook: Break out all of those pictures, stickers, and washable markers and let the kids go to town making scrapbook pages. If you have multiple kids involved, give them each a part of the story and have them create their own page or have them work in groups on a portion of the story. Then, when everyone is finished, put it all together and read them the story book they created!
2.Coloring books and activity sheets: You can find these pretty much anywhere. You can find some online and print them. You can even find Bible coloring books at the Dollar Store or Walmart. My favorite coloring books are the ones that have parts of the story on the page, too.
3. Craft supplies – let the kids use their imagination: This is one I would use if I didn’t get a chance to have a craft already prepared for my Sunday school class. Maybe let them use clay or paper and crayons while you read them a Bible story and see what they come up with at the end of the story. You may be surprised at just how creative kids can be!
1. Purchase from a Christian bookstore: Your church may have some really nice devotionals made especially for kids in the bookstore. If your church doesn’t have a bookstore you can find devotionals here.
2. Write your own devotionals: While you are having your own devotions for the day, think about how the passage you are reading can relate to your child and write out your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or extravagant. Just make it something they can understand.
Engage All Sense:
Sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste: Get creative with this one. Trust me. If you can get kids to use several of their senses when you read them the Bible, they won’t forget it. I still remember some illustrations from a Sunday school lesson on Jonah when I was in 2nd grade. That was about 10 years ago! The teacher had a box with a picture of a whale on the side and hole at the back of it and they asked for volunteers to put our hands inside to emphasize how disgusting it must have been for Jonah to be in the whale’s belly. The put gross slimy noodles inside the box and we got to touch it (eww). Another illustration I remember was when the teacher taught about the feeding of the 5,000 he had the other teachers pass out pieces of bread to each of the kids to eat.
1. Climb a tree – Zacchaeus
2. Pool or ocean – Jesus calms the storm
3. Sheep farm – David the shepherd
4. Garden – the Garden of Eden
There are so many others you can do, too. Just think outside the box!
1. Bible trivia: You can make up your own trivia questions, find Bible trivia online, or find flash cards or trivia books at the Dollar Store.
2. Bible verses on Lego blocks: This would be a great team game for a class. Put words or parts of a verse on blocks and have them try to “build” their memory verse.
1. Card board boxes – The Battle of Jericho: Have the kids build the “walls of Jericho”, march around the walls, and make them fall down.
2. Stones – David and Goliath: Let the children collect 5 smooth stones and make a sling shot.
3. Fruit – fruit of the spirit: Let the children label their own “fruit of the spirit” and then eat them for a snack.
1. Story sack: Grab a bag and fill it with props to help you tell the Bible story. Engage the kids by giving them the chance to choose your next item from the bag.
2. Play dough Bible stories: tell a whole Bible story by creating play dough characters for the story.
Journey Through the Bible:
1. Chronologically: Start a Bible study with your kids and take them through the Bible in chronological order.
2. A-Z Bible stories: Make an alphabetical list of Bible characters and teach them about a new character each day.*
3. A-Z character traits: Make a list of character traits and teach them alphabetically.*
Know God’s Word:
1. Personal Bible study: Make sure you study the Bible every day. And make sure your kids know that you do. Kids learn from example so when they see that studying the Bible is important to you, they will want to do it, too.
2. Family Bible study: Make family devotions an important part of your daily lives. Remember:
“A family that prays together, stays together.”
This is also the same with Bible study.
3. Church: Worship in church together as a family as often as you can.
1. Bible: Okay, this one may be a little obvious, but sometimes you can unintentionally forget to read the passage of Scripture when you are using a devotional or Bible book. Also, I would recommend having your kids use study Bibles that have devotions and additional tips in them already. You can find some great ones here.
2.Bible apps and games for tables, smart phones, and computers: There are so many to choose from out there. Find some age appropriate games and challenge your kids to play those instead of Angry Birds or Candy Crush (or whatever other games are out there.)
3. Pinterest: There are SO MANY ideas on Pinterest, it’s just ridiculous! Create a specific board for pins related to teaching the Bible to your kids, Sunday school class, or bus route so you can keep them all in one place.
1. Bible on CD or MP3: Have your kids listen to the Bible on recording. When my mom home-schools my siblings she has DVDs that she will play that have the Scripture on the screen while the verses are being narrated. You can also find CDs that have dramatized readings of the Scripture with background music and different people narrating other characters. Those can get pretty interesting.
2. Scripture songs: You can find CDs with countless Scripture songs or you can even make up your own songs. I always find it easier to memorize something when it’s in a song.
3. Bible movies: Bible movies are a great thing to make the Bible story come alive for children. Show your kids a Bible movie that goes along with the Bible story you are teaching them. Or make a “movie day” for your bus route. You can use a movie as a special treat for your Sunday school class.
Notebooks and Journals:
1. Bible stories: Make a Bible story notebook for your kids and write your own interpretation of the story for them to read on their own.
2. Church notes: Give your older kids a notebook to take notes during church. Have them write down whatever God speaks to them about, not just the outline on the screen or every word the preacher says.
3. Memory verse: Have your kids write out their memory verse in a notebook and keep writing it out until they memorize it. This one has even helped me in college to remember my memory verses. Let the kids decorate the book, too, so they will want to use it all the time.
4. Prayer: Show your kids how to use a prayer journal. They can add to a list of prayer requests and then they can write out specific prayers. Then when God answers them, they can look back later and see how those prayers were answered in the past.
1. Dirty cup vs. clean cup: Teach them the principle of being a clean vessel so God can use them by using cups.
2. Plant a garden: You can do this a few different ways. You can give each of your students their own little pot and seed and teach them about growing in the Lord. Or you can plant a garden in your yard and have your kids pretend they are in the Garden of Eden.
These are just a few objects your kids can use to make puppets of Bible characters. Then they can even make a theater and put on a puppet show for you!
Craft sticks (you can find packages of these at Walmart)
Question and Answer:
1. Quick trivia: Tell your kids to pay attention in church while you make a list of kid friendly questions for you to ask your kids on the way home from church. I would do this with my bus kids. I was a helper in the 4th-6th grade class so I always knew what their lesson was and I would ask them what they learned in church, rewarding them with a treat when they gave me a good answer.
2. Bible Pictionary: You can either buy the board game or make your own. It’s great to have a white board in the class room so you can play this game. We have a mini white board on our bus that we use to play this game with the kids. Or you can have a small white board or chalk board in your home and draw a picture and have your kids guess what it is whenever they see it. Then when they guess it, have the write the answer on the board. Keep changing the picture throughout the day or week or however often you like and keep the game going!
1. Costumes – bathrobes, sheets, towels, material: Have a special box for Bible character costumes in your house or in your classroom. Or maybe you can dress up as a Bible character for your kids or Sunday school class while you teach your lesson from the perspective of the character you dressed up as.
2. Make a set and background: If you really want to go all out with your lesson, make a set with props and everything.
3. Act it out!
1. Drawing: If you are really artistic (unlike me) draw out the story you’re teaching. If you aren’t so artistic (like me!) have the kids take turns helping you draw a picture to illustrate the story.
2. Chalk or paints: If the day is nice, take the kids outside to draw the Bible story in chalk. Or if it’s raining outside, don’t fret. You can have them paint the Bible story with you!
3. Cut and pate from coloring books: Have the kids color their own pictures of the story from a coloring book, cut them out, and then paste them to a poster board to hang in your classroom, on the bus, or in their room.
1. Bible action figures: Use these to help you illustrate the story and then reward some of the best behaved students with the action figures after the lesson.
2. Bible puzzles: You can find these at the Dollar Stores, too. This is great for a rainy day activity for your kids. While they are trying to finish the puzzle, you can read them the Bible story that goes along with it.
1. Be animated and enthusiastic: This is a must for anyone that teaches children. If you’re excited about what you are teaching, they will be just as excited about learning it.
2. Keep their attention span in mind: Every kid is different with how long they can pay attention. Just remember, it’s probably not the wisest idea to teach your kindergarten class a five point outline lesson.
3. Teach one truth at a time to preschoolers: Don’t teach all 7 days of Creation or go through the entire life of Joseph in one lesson. Teach one thing at a time and review the next time you teach.
1. Flannel graphs: These haven’t gone into extinction yet! You can still find them and they do work pretty great for younger kids.
2. Pictures and photos: Slide shows work great for Sunday school lessons. Another thing that would be great is to have your kids dress up in costumes as Bible characters, take pictures of them, and make it into a slide show to use for the lesson. The kids will love to see themselves in the pictures!
3. Kid’s Bible maps: Use maps as a visual aid in your lesson. Find some really awesome maps especially for kids here!
4. Flash cards: Flash cards are a great way to help kids memorize verses or learn Bible truths.*
1. Teach your children Proverbs: Write a Proverb of the day on a white board and put it somewhere where everyone will see it. Then, you can ask them to explain what it means to you.
2. Teachable moments: Use things that happen throughout the day as moments when you can reinforce the truths you have been teaching the children.
1. Read together: Have the children read the passage or verse out loud with you.
2. Bible Dioramas: Use old boxes and craft supplies to make a Bible diorama. Keep it out for decoration throughout the week and use it when you are teaching a lesson.
3. Bible story teller’s box: Have boxes with props and such for the kids to tell the Bible story to their siblings or the class. Label each box with the story that the props for the story along with the passage of Scripture.
1. Bible cartoons: If you don’t want to show your kids a full length movie, you can find short Bible story cartoons online.
2. Bible songs: You can always find Bible songs on You Tube. Some even have the lyrics, too, so the kids can learn the words. You can even find various versions of songs to teach the kids the books of the Bible. We used a song to teach the books of the Old Testament to my bus kids and most of them still know every one of them!
3. Bible skits: This is where you can find inspiration to do your own skits with your Sunday school class or have your kids put on a show with their friends for all of the parents.
1. Stuffed animals: When it’s bedtime of just time for a nap, have the kids sleep with the stuffed animals that correspond with the story. For example, if you’re telling the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, give them stuffed lions to sleep with.
2. Toy animals: Set up animal figurines on a table while you are telling the story. Get a toy ark and let the kids group all of the toy animals two by two while you tell them the story of Noah’s Ark.
3. Real animals: Take the kids to the zoo and tell them about when God created all the animals.
Now I’m sure there are so many more ways to teach the Bible to kids that I haven’t mentioned, but if you are needing a little inspiration to get your creative juices flowing I hope this list helped you.
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, that are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
-2 Timothy 3:15
And just in case you want to keep this list with your Sunday school lesson, your lesson plan for your home schooled Bible class, or with your children’s devotions material, here is a simple outline of some of these ideas to keep you inspired!
*And just as an added bonus for those of you who subscribed, you should have received an email with printable Memory Verse Cards and a list of A-Z Bible Stories and A-Z Character Traits for your personal use!
So, you haven’t subscribed yet, just sign up now using the bar at the top of the page and you will be one step closer to getting your hands on some awesome teaching materials that you are sure to love!