How My Toddlers Memorize Scripture

I occasionally post videos of my son quoting scriptures from the Bible on Facebook (Click the links to view the videos (July 27, 2016, June 8, 2016, Feb 18, 2016, July 17, 2015, July 17, 2015).  Generally after a posting, my friends and family start asking me how do I get my toddler to memorize all these scriptures.  In this blog I’ve included some of the simple tips and tools I use; however to start off, it really boils down to these three things:

  1. The younger the better.  In reality it is NEVER too late to learn the Word of God!  I cannot reiterate that enough.  Still it is very helpful to put the word in our babies before their minds are crowded with school work, television shows and social media.  It will not only help them to develop a love for the Bible and develop their brains by utilizing those memory skills, but also their confidence in reciting.

I deliberately started to teach my son scripture by the time he could talk; but I was reading to him the Bible before he was born.  We already know scientists and doctors are constantly encouraging us to read to our children for their benefit.  Imagine if we read to them the Bible while they are developing in our womb, the benefits are limitless!

Looking back I could have taught my son scripture even before he could talk through sign language.  He was signing well before he was speaking.  Now my baby girl (1 yo.) is mimicking her older brother with the movements and gets excited when she hears her brother recite the scriptures.

2. Make it fun.  Learning the Bible should never seem boring or mundane.  What grabs a kid’s attention at any age is someone or something acting, judging by an adult, ridiculous.  So, I have fun with my little guy.  He loved it when I accentuated certain words, put the scripture in a jingle or used elaborate gestures to help him remember the verses.  Knowing what appeals to your children combined with creativity can go a long way.  Keep in mind it’s okay to use resources or incentives to get your children excited about the Word of God!!

3. Be Repetitious. One of the easiest ways I’ve taught my toddlers the Bible is by “minding my own business” and singing or quoting the scripture throughout the day.  I’m indirectly teaching them the Bible.  By nature, they’re at the age they like to mimic me; so they’ll often join me in reciting without me asking.  I love it!

Repetition is a well-known principle that continually  proves to be useful in education, building new habits or learning a new skill.  If we apply the principle to our kids learning scriptures, we will find the success we’re looking for.  Just be persistent and don’t get discouraged.  They will get it!  Remember going over and over the scriptures will only benefit you and your children.

Lastly, repetition has helped my little man retain what he’s learned.  Even if it’s a scripture he learned last year, I have him recite it at least once every week. Furthermore, I embed the word of God in him by talking to him about the scriptures and applying it to our everyday life.  For example, if we are having a conversation about being kind to others, I have him recall his “B” scripture: “Be KIND to one another…” Eph 4:32.  Take every opportunity to repeat the scriptures or set the time!

Earlier I talked about making scripture memorization fun and how creativity can be helpful.  Below are a few tips I have or I know others have used to help their kids memorize scriptures.

  • Flashcards.  For our visual learners this is a great tool to assist in their scripture memorization.  Don’t let the fact that your child cannot read stop you from using flashcards!  I know of a daycare full of toddlers and every morning they recite scriptures from flashcards.  The toddlers associate the scriptures with pictures on the flashcards, eventually they’ll pick up on the words too! Click here for an example I found on Pinterest; however I wish it had images on the cards too: ABC Bible Verse Flashcards.
  • Sign Language.   Since I started using sign language with my son as early as 3 months, even though he didn’t sign back until he was much older, it created a great foundation to memorizing the Bible.  Honestly, I DO NOT know sign language!  I’ve simply “Googled” how to sign key words and repeatedly use the sign for both my son and I to learn.  For a majority of the scriptures he knows I have associated a sign to it.
  • Jingles/Tunes/Rhythm. Music incorporated with memorization is a fantastic and easy way to memorize scripture.  Think about how many slogans and commercials you remember because of their catchy jingle.  It’s business advertising at its best!  They have you thinking of their product even when it’s not in front of you.  Music is a great tool to use. Be creative and develop your own jingle, tune or rhythm with the desired scripture.  You don’t have to be a musician or a vocal artist to do this!  If it helps, use a tune from another song “the itsy, bitsy spider” or “the wheels on the bus.”  With my daughter, she adores rhythm with her hands, feet, or drums.  I already know if I’m going to get her to learn these scriptures, I need to incorporate a beat she can make with her hands, feet or drums.
  • Choreographed Movements/Dance. Bottom line all kids love to move. I noticed after a year of memorizing scripture the accentuated words and the sign language was not going to be enough for my boy to stay interested in memorizing scripture.  I had to add some movement!   Once I did it was automatic success!  Initially, he did look at me as if I was acting out of character but eventually he participated in my silliness.  Who said memorizing scripture requires us to sit down, with arms folded and head forward?? Make it fun! Move!!  You’ll keep your children entertained and intrigued.

For those that are wondering, where or how I chose the scriptures, I originally started with the Ten Commandments.  I really didn’t know where to begin, but I remembered learning them in my Sunday School class and figured it was a good start.  However; once we started to learn them directly from the Bible (not the summarized list we commonly see), I felt that God wanted me to find applicable scriptures my son could use at 2 years old (when he started memorizing them). So, I stopped the memorizing of the Ten Commandments (for now) and pursued a recommendation from a couple of friends.

My friends had suggested an ABC Scripture list they memorized when they were younger. Since my son already knew his ABC’s, it helped us keep track of the ones he had memorized (although, this is a great way for your toddler to learn the ABC’s along with the Word of God).  I found a common listing of ABC scriptures that seemed to mimic “The Road to Salvation” list but it wasn’t quite what God had laid upon my heart to do.  After some digging in Pinterest and other sites I decided to customize my list (Get my free flash cards by clicking on the link).  I was looking for scriptures I could reference in teachable moments.  My husband and I LOVE it!  It’s helping my son in more ways than one.  He’s gaining a better picture of God’s heart, learning how to apply the Word of God, and it’s helping him develop into the man of God we know he’ll become.  You can click here for some ideas to customize your own list: ABC Verses

I hope this post helps many of you to kick-start or continue to teach your children the Bible. I love how God’s Word, gives me new insight, perspective, discernment, wisdom, strength and so much more every time I read it.  It’s so important that we read it over and over.  We want it to take root in our hearts and become embedded in our soul and spirit.  The benefits of reading the Word are so vast, it’s life changing! With all the benefits of what the Word of God can do in one’s life, I would be negligent to not share it with my children.  In this day and age children need the Bible to survive even childhood.  My heart hurts for the babies that battle depression at such a young age and when they think taking their own life is their only solution.  They have lost all hope!  Once hope is lost it becomes detrimental.  Even the Bible refers to the recovery of a broken body but a broken spirit is difficult to bear (Prov. 18:14).

I want to teach my children to hold onto a hope that will never let them down. A scripture I have on my son’s bedroom wall is Hebrews 6:19.  It says, ” We have this HOPE (God’s Word, Jesus) as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Life can be very much like a storm and we’re in the ocean in need of an anchor.  We need some stability, a foundation, something that can secure us, otherwise we’ll drown in the cares of this life. The Bible is our anchor, it is our hope. I put that scripture on my son’s bedroom wall as a constant reminder to him. If he ever feels like life is crashing in on him, I am praying he remembers where his help comes from, for God will sustain him in every storm of life. This is why I teach my babies the Word of God.  I’m praying you will too!

Please share your own videos of your kids quoting scriptures! Do you have any ideas or tips on how we can help our children learn scriptures?  Please share them with us.

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