This is Part 2 written by Karen Apple, a well-known name in the kidsmin arena for her many years of teaching preschoolers and teaching others how to teach preschoolers. Thank you, Karen, for sharing your wisdom.
Karen and I grew up together and worked together in children’s ministry when we were high school seniors! So glad we reconnected as part of the kids min world as adults.
I taught preschoolers for years (See Part 1), Then I taught adults about preschoolers for many more years and now I am in the classroom once again. I am convinced more than ever that two-year old’s through kindergarteners REMEMBER verses best when we:
Say the verse together
*When a child demonstrates it in his actions.
* Before and after singing a song that repeats and repeats in your head (the one you wake up to in the morning)
*Throughout the Bible story.
*When you give a specific signal like a wave or a flashing red light at random times during class.
USE THEIR SENSES
When senses are engaged, memories are created and even recalled. I know! There is a certain smell that always reminds me of my grandmother’s house. It triggers the sensation of joy and safety. We can provide activities that cement both the words of Scripture and their meaning when we introduce hands-on activities for the senses.
*Touch something soft, rough or squishy while saying the verse.
*Mold with fragrant modeling dough as children take turns repeating the verse.
*Instruct a child to say it as they draw in a sand tray or turn on and off a light stick.
Group and individual activities can cement the words and the truths of individual Bible verses because when the body moves, the brain engages.
*Fly Away. Use a round table cloth in place of a parachute. Gather the children around to hold a spot on the edge of the cloth. Place light weight balls or festive package bows in the middle. Now the children wave the cloth up and down and say the memory verse over and over until all the objects fly away.
*Hop to it. Kids take turns holding either a washable plush bunny or frog. Hand the bunny to a child and say, “Hop to it!” He will jump to a nearby spot, say the verse and hop back. All the kids will hear the verse every time the bunny hops, whether they are watching or not.
*Slap-clap. Say the verse in rhythm while you slap knees and clap hands.
APPLY RELEVANT APPLICATIONS
*Tell stories about “kids like me” or animal characters wrapped around the truth of each verse. Kids also love to hear stories about your life and the lives of your own kids.
Verses memorized “just for memory sake” or “you will need to know this someday” have value, for sure. But when children learn verses that have meaning for TODAY, they will treasure them in their hearts. God’s Word will inspire their actions and bolster their faith. The Scriptures will resonate in the choices they make and will be remembered in times of need.
Those childhood verses I learned so long ago came flooding back in the midst of a critical college situation and continue to pop up while I teach young learners and enjoy every-day life.
They are remembered because they are “treasure in my heart”. Psalm 119:11 NASV