Using Hand Movements to Help Kids Memorize Scripture

Adding simple hand motions is an easy way to help kids memorize scripture. These don’t have to be elaborate or even graceful. The key is to connect the body movement with the concept as the kids recite their bible memory verse. Here is a recent example from Deuteronomy 6:5 in our children’s church.

Our Movements for Deuteronomy 6:5

  • You shall love (cross arms over heart)
  • the LORD your God (point both hands to heaven)
  • with all your heart (draw heart on chest)
  • and with all your soul (throw hands up in enthusiastic praise)
  • and with all your might (raise arms in strength)
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 (raise fingers for numbers “6” and “5”)

Tips for Bible Verse Hand Motions

1. Keep it simple enough for preschoolers. Each symbol should correspond to a phrase. Sign language can be helpful but is often too complicate for most kids to retain long term.

2. Make at them fun. A little playfulness makes the whole exercise more enjoyable. In the example above the phrase “with all your soul” was supposed to be acted out with great enthusiasm. We even had children volunteer to see who had the most passion in their soul movements.

3. Re-use the same movements. Many Bible memory verses for kids will include similar concepts. Consistent hand motions will help with recall. We typically will point to heaven when speaking of God but make a nail sign when the word is Jesus.

4. Challenge the kids to invent their own. I try to include at least one motion for each verse where the kids get to pick their movement. In the example above the phrase “with all your might” could be rendered as a karate punch, muscle pose, or even dance move. I offered these options when kids first learned the verse.

5. Get ideas from others. You can find some on YouTube (here and here and here) but often your Sunday School teachers are the best source for these motions. Assign verses to different classes or small groups, then have them teach the whole children’s ministry.

6.  Write them down or make a Facebook video for parents. Thee Bible memory hand movements are a great take home activity. Send a note with motion explanations so kids can teach them to their parents. You could also upload examples on video to you church Facebook page.

I’d love to hear you tips and ideas for using motions for memorizing scripture. Click here to leave a comment. Let me know where you get your ideas and how this teaching tool works in your ministry.


  1. Ruth says

    I love this. I used it when i was teaching sunday school to memorize Psalms 23.

  2. says

    I love the idea of learning the Bible verses by motion, in our VBS we usually choose a verse, the youth chorale director put music to it, and the children love and learn it much easier than just memorizing the words.

  3. Beverly Guth says

    I’m a musician, and maybe this is why I thought of this years ago. My son was a Bible quizzer, and we would often clap our verses. This is actually good for the brain in lots of ways, connecting right and left sides, etc.

    We would say a verse, or part of it, in a sing-song fashion, then clap it as we say it. I’ve found my Sunday School students love to do this, too.

  4. says

    I really like this idea…thanks alot. I need to link to it for my kiddos. I think I will do it on our new blog in the top corner…this will really help them learn bible. I have alot of wee tots who can benefit. I appreciate this. Blessings,
    “Aunti Lo-Lo”


    Your voice matters -- Share your ideas with other readers.