Bible Memory Beginnings for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Before our son was born, the topic that Paul and I spent the most time discussing and praying about was Joseph’s spiritual future.

Introduction to the importance of memorizing scripture verses for tots and young kids with free printables

Spiritual future. If you’ve never heard that term before, take a second and let it soak in a bit. The spiritual future of your child is everything that you put before him or her, every lesson, good or bad you teach, every glimpse of Jesus in you, everything that effects your child’s future decision for or against God.

If I’ve just overwhelmed you, I apologize, I promise I remember that moment when I realized it wasn’t all about nursing, diapering, watching a child grow, toddle around, playing catch with their father, nor even the dreaded teen years. Parenting is about how you influence your child’s future spiritual decision.

If you find your way to the pages of Satisfaction Through Christ often, you will most likely see me cover a different aspect of the daunting SF, but for today I want to cover one that is near and dear to me – Bible verse memory. When my husband and I discussed Bible verse memory, I would often declare that I wanted to make sure Joseph memorized loads of scripture during his childhood.
For months now I’ve been feeling God pressing on my heart, “He is ready.” My little man is ready. To learn. To memorize. To start feeding into his spiritual future, and it’s my job to guide him through. So, with a big deep breath, and daily prayers, we are jumping in!

Verse Deuteronomy 11:18 image from Satisfaction Through Christ

I’m not a teacher. I was not gifted to be one! So rather than developing my own creative techniques for teaching Bible memory to my tot, I researched what other brilliant moms do. I’m sharing the results of my research and some thoughts with you today, as well as some free printables I’ve created to help my little guy learn the five scriptures I want him to memorize first! But they’re at the bottom of the post! 😉

If you know someone struggling with how to start memorizing Bible verses with their kiddos, take a moment to pass this post along. The free printables may be the perfect starting point for their scripture memory journey!

Scripture verse Psalm 119:9

Jenni, from jennimullinix.com, wrote a great post, as part of her Truth for Tots series, specifically for bible memory with toddlers. She even has a video of her (then) not yet two year old reciting Joshua 1:9! (I love that verse!) This adorable little girl is not even two years old, so not all of the words are clear, but she does indeed have the verse committed to memory! Jenni shares several strategical hints for helping toddlers to memorize but my favorite are these two:

  • “Sing the Scripture. Catchy tunes are a great way to make scripture memory easier.”
  • “Use Hand Motions. Giving young children something to do with their hands that will help trigger their memory is very helpful.”

These two strategies may seem simple, but we are talking about toddlers and preschool kids here, so simple is best. Jenni’s methods appealed to me because I was able to watch that video and see her one year old quoting Joshua 1:9. And the best part about it? The little girl looked happy; she was enjoying scripture verse memory! I don’t know about you, but I want my Joseph to enjoy learning God’s word!
(Read the post, Scripture Memory Strategies for Toddlers and Preschoolers here. It’s a great resource!)

Scripture verse Psalm 119:11 image from Satisfaction Through Christ.
I also found some great thoughts on verse memory with kids from Natalie at passionatehomemaking.com. Natalie covers some basic things in her post Scripture Memory with Toddlers like:
  • “Start small.”
  • “Be expressive.”
  • “Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.”

But she also brings to light some aspects of Bible memory that I would not have thought of like:

  • “Vary environment” – So that scripture memory isn’t triggered by a certain place, sound, etc…
  • “Learn long passages” – Natalie says, “One bite at a time…” It’s sort of a preparation technique, so they’re ready for bigger challenges when they’re older! And it’s so good for their little minds. Young ones have impressive capabilities!

I especially love when Natalie talks about explaining the “why” of scripture memory to our children when she says: I periodically remind my kids all the reasons we do Bible memory. It really helps them to hear why, rather than me just “making” them. They are small, but they are human. Why not clue them in?” 

As a mom or dad, when you get a grasp of “spiritual future” and your role in it, the “why” becomes so important to who you are! (Definitely a post worth reading if you’re dragging your feet about Bible memory. It’s got wit!)

Scripture verse Psalm 119:165 image from Satisfaction Through Christ.

One common theme in all of my research was that it’s not really the method or technique that you choose, it’s how you present it to your child and the reasoning you offer. In fact, many scripture memory techniques are not much use at this age because so many of them require a child to be able to read. However I want to pass along this post, before we get to that free printable part, which includes several teaching techniques that will make scripture verse memorizing fun for older kids who can read! It was penned by Maurice Sweetsur many years ago from a Sunday School perspective, but it’s got great ideas for you Mama’s with older kids!
(Teaching Memory Verses by Maurice Sweetsur. I especially can’t wait to try the “Diminishing Words” method and the “Mistakes” game!)

Finally, a jumping off point for those of you who would like to begin memorizing Bible verses with your little ones! Five free printable memory verses! A couple of quick notes: I realize that my son, and most toddlers and preschoolers can’t read yet. That’s okay, having scriptures in front of them is still a good idea because memorizing is a big part of learning to read! Secondly, yes I know that blue and green are somewhat boyish colors, but I am after all a boy-mom! However I tested the images in black and white for those who don’t want to use up loads of printer ink and they turned out great that way too! Lastly, enjoy!
 
Oh, and hey, while we’re focusing on the tots and preschoolers today, did you know we have a Pinterest board dedicated to Preschool Activities? If you’d like to see what we’ve found around the web for toddlers, follow along! 
 
 
Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice!
When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Let everything that has breath Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.
As the scripture says, anyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

Dropbox link to download and print all five!

 

Are you planning on attempting scripture memory in your family? Do you have a trusted method for teaching your children about the Bible? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

If you’d like to see more free printables from Satisfaction Through Christ, or if you’d like to learn more about how to impact your child’s spiritual future, go ahead and leave a comment about that too!

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You may want to check out my top three tips for new homeschool moms of preschoolers!

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Shirley spends her days fulfilling her purpose of biblical homemaking and motherhood. She is wild about her husband, Paul, who shares her passion for encouraging young marriages. Together they are wading into a homesteading life on a few acres in south Georgia.

Comments

  1. says

    I love the idea of teaching scripture memory while your kiddos are little. It’s definitely smart to start them while they’re young!

    I memorized tons of verses through the AWANA program when I was young – it’s amazing how much verses stick with you. (Of course, we all know that the Lord brings them back to our memory when we need them most!)

    Thanks for sharing at Wow Me Wednesday!

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Tshanina! I memorized a lot when I was growing up as well, although I don’t know as much as I’d like too. Secretly hoping that teaching my son will help me memorize lots too!

  2. Barbie says

    I have always taught my children and myself to sing the scripture for easy memory, along with placing scripture around our home. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by! I can’t claim a beautiful singing voice, but I’m sure going to use the voice I’ve got to teach God’s word to my little one!

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing at the #partyontheporch! I pinned this to my Faith – Jesus Loves Me and I Love Him board. I still know the verses my mom taught me in Sunday school long ago. Today, I often thank God for giving me a godly mom.

  4. says

    These are fantastic! How early have you all taught these to your kiddo’s? I have a 18 month old and I think we might just start immediately. Shirley, I have a blog over at http://www.funlittlehands.com and I would like to know if it is okay of I share these on my blog. I will keep the downloads exactly as is, with your website name on them and I will link to your page too. Would that be okay?

    • says

      Janita, it really depends on how much speech a child has. When my son was 18 months he already had a pretty good vocabulary, so he would have been able to memorize short phrases. However now that he is nearing four it is much easier to help him grasp the meaning of verses and not just repeat the words. I personally believe it’s never to early to start Bible memory. Also an 18 month old wouldn’t be able to read these printable cards, using them to teach Bible verses may be a boost to him later on when he does start learning to read. :) Always nice to have dual purpose learning! And yes, you are welcome to share these on your blog as long as it links back here to Satisfaction Through Christ. Thank you for seeking permission first. Be blessed! (Your blog is adorable by the way!)

  5. says

    I’ve enjoyed your Nice and Resposible work to your kids!! It’s really important to realize and bare it in mind We are feeding kids spirits with the Word of GOD and the reality is that We there are no young or little spirit though in little bodies!!
    What a great and strong foundation!!
    “If Foundations are destroyed What will a righteous do!!?” Get foundations protected!!.

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