5 Ideas to Help Your Children Love the Scriptures
I just want to start out by saying that I am no expert, nor do I claim to be that perfect mom. I will admit that my children know the story of Nephi (the first book of scripture in the Book of Mormon) by heart, because we start reading the Book of Mormon and then we stop. Then we pick it up again and want to start over so we read from Nephi, and then we stop. At least they read the part where it says, “he was born of goodly parents”, and somehow I hope they at least know how much we are trying!
In Nephi 8:12 I came across a verse that for me captures why I want my children to learn to love the scriptures:
And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
My motivation for teaching my children the scriptures is much the same as in this verse. I love the scriptures and they bring me joy, so I want my children to love them too as well as understand the blessings that come from studying them.
But teaching young children to love the scriptures can be challenging. My husband and I first started out by reading from illustrated scripture readers for our family scripture study. After a while I could tell my children needed more than to just be read to, and I realized that I needed to be creative and get them involved so that they would remember the scriptures in a different way. So after some trial and error, here are 6 things we do as a family to help our young children love the scriptures:
1. FILE FOLDERS
There are some great resources now available for scripture file folders. They are perfect for young toddlers as they utilize games and play to help familiarize children with the scripture stories. (Resources: Finch Family Games, Christian Preschool Printables, 'BookofMormonforkids' on Etsy)
2. FELT BOARDS
While reading from the scriptures it can be fun for kids to see the story on the felt board as if they are reading it from a book.Felt boards are very simple to make, and there are many free online printables that make it easy to do yourself. While you are reading, stop and act out the scene you just read and then continue reading, periodically stopping to act out the rest. (Resources: time4felt.com, funfelt.com)
3. SINGING SONGS
Singing primary songs about scripture stories helps our kids remember the scriptures as well. Again, my kids know the Nephi story because of the primary song “Nephi’s Courage”. Most of the children’s songs in our songbook also have scripture references at the bottom of the song page. We’ve found this is a great way to start or end scripture study. (Here is the link to our faith’s Children’s Songbook)
4. ACTING OUT
Acting out the scripture stories has also been fun for our kids. One story my kids love to act out is Samuel the Lamanite, also from the Book of Mormon. One child stands on the couch while the others threw “stones” or paper wads at them, but it never hits him because he has the “shield” of God protecting him.
5. PLAYING "WHO AM I?"
We play guessing games at the dinner every night: guess the color I am thinking of, guess the number, shape, animal, but now play “Who Am I”. The game is simple, we as parents describe someone from one of the scripture stories we have read together as a family, and the kids take turn guessing who we are talking about. It’s fun to see my 4 year old light up and yell out the correct answer!
As my children have gotten older we read selected scripture passages directly from the scriptures but still try to keep them engaged. One idea that we have used for slightly older children came from something I've tried to do in my own scripture study. I keep a gospel/scripture topic journal, and I've found that using the journal helps me ponder and study, which then helps me remember the scripture or topic better. As we thought about what could help our children ponder their scriptures we decided to help them keep their own scripture journals too.
6. SCRIPTURE JOURNALS
For my kids study journals I bought each one of them their own drawing pad. As we study the scriptures I write the chapter heading on top of the page so we can remember what their notes or drawings are about. My 4-year-olds can only color a picture of the scriptures, but my 6-year-old is able to write something down, as well as include a picture to help him remember what we read that day.
A while ago I came across a quote that has a remarkable blessing for families who come together and read their scriptures. I love this quote and have it framed and placed where we as a family can see it daily:
Now who wouldn’t want those blessings?
Hopefully these 6 ideas will help your children love the scriptures too, and that your home will be blessed as ours has, no matter how many times we've had to get back on track again.