Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they that testify of me.
-John 5: 39
Personal and family scripture reading is encouraged at a very young age in our home. My first memory of studying scriptures with my oldest child dates back to when he was a newborn. I would prop up my scriptures on a pillow as I fed him, reading aloud. Time to study scriptures without falling asleep was so short back in those days. Such memories are so precious looking back.
As my children grew older and wanted to participate in scripture study, not only with their ears, but hands, feet, and mouth as well, my husband and I used My First Old Testament Stories and My First New Testament Stories board books. They worked perfectly and held up so well, with beautiful illustrations for our children to enjoy. Reading scriptures became part of our bedtime routines with each child.
Once they grew out of board books, the children graduated to Old Testament Stories and New Testament Stories for children. We’ve used these books for personal scripture study as part of bedtime routines, and also for family scripture study at dinner. The children love the illustrations and stories that are made simple and easy to understand. Our books definitely have some wear and tear, but they work perfectly when trying to keep children engaged.
At the age of 8, our children receive their own King James Version of the Bible. This tends to be when reading and studying the scriptures becomes a little tricky. As a result, I’ve been working to come up with ways to encourage and enjoy personal scripture study in our home.
First and foremost, my husband and I try to lead by example, as we both study our scriptures daily. Our children see us enjoy this and want to feel the joy and blessings that come from scripture study. We talk about the scriptures and relate stories that apply to our children and their experiences on a regular basis. Goals are made as a family to encourage unity and progress.
But at times, this is still not enough. When this happens, I try to bring scripture reading into our homeschool classroom as an activity on our shelves. You may recall I’ve included some of these in The Good Samaritan Activities and The Life of Jesus Christ Activities for Tots & Preschoolers posts. I want so desperately to instill a love of the scriptures in each of my children.
Currently we have two such activities on our shelves.
Scripture Study Word Search with Stamps
For this activity I have printed out scriptures about love. The children will choose a scripture and read it, searching for the word “love” as they read. When they come across the word, they will use the stamp and ink provided to highlight the word. I am using our Melissa & Doug Butterfly & Heart Stamp Set for this activity, but any stamps will do. Depending on the word you choose, you may want to consider using Do A Dot Art Markers instead. As long as you provide a control, (in this activity it’s the word “love” printed out on a card above the scripture verses), this activity will work for preschool children and older. The best part is they’ll be having so much fun stamping and learning about important words, they’ll forget they’re reading scriptures at all.
For this activity the children will study a specific pre-selected verse, chapter, or story. Once reading is completed, they’ll journal about it using pictures or words, depending on their age and abilities. If a control is needed for the activity after the presentation and lesson, provide a picture that goes along with the story you’re having them read.
Scripture reading can be fun for children. It’s all a matter of identifying your child’s needs and preferences. How do you encourage your children to participate in personal scripture study daily? Do you incorporate reading scriptures into your Montessori environment? I’d love to read all about your inspiring lives, and the ideas you use!