If the only time kids EVER get fed the Word is at church, then they are missing so much! We want kids to be able to experience God's word in their everyday lives, in their homes, and to know it in their hearts! Here are a few things we do to help kids learn to love the Bible...
1) Teach them how to "use" their Bible
We encourage kids to bring their own Bible from home (and if someone does not have one, we have some that they can borrow, and we even have Bibles we can give kids, if they don't have one), and then we let them OPEN it and use it. We don't just do it for them; every week, kids are learning to dig into their Bibles. They learn how to look up verses. They learn how to use their concordance. They learn the books of the Bible, and about the different versions of the Bible. Yes, we know that many people today have an electronic version of the Bible....but we really want kids to know how to study the Bible the old-fashioned way. The more they can learn how to use their Bible, the more they will feel comfortable with it and want to read it.
We have a weekly "Bible Challenge" time in our midweek ministry, that teaches and encourages kids to use their Bibles and look up Bible facts. We also teach them in Sunday School and Kids Church to look up verses, to read Scripture passages, and to use their Bibles to learn God's truths.
2) Help Bible Stories Come Alive
We want to show kids that Bible stories are 1) True, 2) Exciting and Interesting and 3) Relevant. We want to teach them that God can speak to us and teach us through Bible stories. It's not about kids learning just facts; it's about kids learning to let God speak to them through His word. That is why we do so many things to help the Word come alive to kids and help them learn to apply it to their lives. When they can do that, then they can love the Word.
3) Encourage Bible Memory
Every month, kids get two memory verses, and we encourage them to go over them every day and really memorize them. We give kids a memory verse magnet to put on their fridge at home and work on their memory verses with their parents. We go over the memory verses every week and do different games and activities to help kids memorize them. If kids memorize just two verses a month for 1 year, they will know 24 verses (which is more than probably a lot of adults!)! We look for ways to make Bible memory fun and challenging, and we also help the kids apply the memory verses to their lives and put them into their own words.
4) Encourage them to read the Bible at home
It is important for kids to have their own Bible that is age-appropriate and relevant for them. We also share with parents what kids are learning at church, and give parents easy talking points to start conversations at home.
The right Bible is important, as well. A child would have a hard time understanding an adult's Bible that is King James Version. But a kids' Bible with cool pictures, maps, questions, and wording JUST for them is great for kids, and helps keep their interest. We encourage kids to read their Bibles at home every day. If parents read the Bible with their kids, that's even better!
Here are some great Bibles for kids....
The Adventure Bible (for early readers - about Kindergarten - 3rd grade; NIrV)
The Adventure Bible (3rd-7th grade; NIV)
Kids' Quest Study Bible (NIrV, great for answering kids' questions; good for 1st - 5th grade)
The Action Bible (cool Bible that looks like a comic book, great for boys in 3rd grade and up)
*For preteens, I like this Bible for girls: Girls Life Application Study Bible (NLT)
and for preteen boys, I like this: Guys Life Application Study Bible (NLT)
Storybook Bibles - Great for younger kids who can't read; parents read with kids
The Jesus Storybook Bible (weaves the message of Jesus into every Bible story, to help kids understand the big picture)
The Beginner's Bible for Toddlers (great for really little ones)
Egermeier's Bible Storybook (makes Bible stories simple to understand; even good for adults wanting short refreshers on Bible stories)
Read and Share Bible: the Ultimate DVD
This is a great DVD for young kids (age 2-6); the clips are between 1-4 minutes and portray the Bible stories in easy-to-understand clips. We love theses DVDs and use them almost every week. There is also a Read and Share Bible that goes along with it, that kids would love too.
What Bible should you get?
For parents, it can be hard to know which Bible to get your kids. Especially, since there are so many options out there, and they are very specific and can be expensive! This is what I would recommend:
I would get a storybook Bible just for little ones (any of the ones I recommended above are great), starting at about age 2, you can read the stories to your kids, and even show them the DVDs for extra learning.
There are a lot of great family devotionals you can get to read together as a family, with kids of any age.
Once they can read themselves (between Kindergarten-1st grade), I would get one of the early reader Bibles (NIrV version), like the Adventure Bible or Kids Quest Study Bible. These are great because of their animation and easy wording.
When they get to 4th or 5th grade, you can get them a preteen (NIV or NLT) Bible. Preteen Bibles are made for kids in 5th-8th grade. A teen study Bible is an option once they get to 9th grade (NIV and NLT are great versions). These are just suggestions, but your kids may have different preferences. Share what you and your kids like!
What are some other ideas to help kids love the Word?!