Try These Creative Methods to Help Kids Memorize Scripture
“Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
Memorizing scripture is a vital discipline for every believer. Bible memorization helps us find comfort, fight sin, and know our God. Children form habits early which can have a ripple effect through the rest of their life. What a blessing it can be to train a child in the discipline of scripture memorization early in their life. Yet, children don’t usually respond well to the traditional drilling of memorization.
Here are some creative ways to help children memorize scripture in church on Sundays or at home during the week.
1) Post-it Cover Up
For this activity write the memory verse on the front board of the classroom. Practice reading it once together and then use post-it notes to cover up one of the words. Then, practice reading the verse again followed by covering up a second word with post-it notes. Continue this pattern until the entire verse is covered and the children are saying the verse from memory. This is an interesting spin on traditional drilling of a verse by repetition. You could also reverse the game beginning with some words covered and have children guess the missing words.
2) Secret Decoder
In this activity, the teacher will prepare a secret code on paper ahead of time and make enough copies for the class. At the top of the paper, make a code where a number or small icon represents each letter of the alphabet. On the bottom half of the paper write a series of dashes (enough to spell out each letter of the memory verse) and below each dash write the number or small icon which corresponds with the letter of the alphabet. Children enjoy trying to decode the “secret message” and they have fun guessing the verse before they have filled in all the letters!
3) Move it or Lose It
Many children learn best by moving. A creative way to break up long lengths of sitting still in Sunday School is to brainstorm motions with the students to match their memory verse. When children learn movements they are less likely to “lose it” from their memory. I can still remember the motions my friend and I made up to Psalm 119:105 in third grade.
This is a whole group game intended to use as a review of verses already learned. The children will stand in a circle facing one another. The teacher says a reference for a recent memory verse. The game travels around the circle with each child saying the next word to come in the verse. If the child says an incorrect word or does not know the next word they sit down. The verse continues around the circle until the final word is said and then the next child says “Sparkle!” to finish the verse. The child who says “Sparkle!” also sits down. The children continue to play with a variety of verses until there is only one child standing who is the winner. The teacher can choose any word to be used for the “Sparkle!”
5) Word Card Scramble
The teacher writes each word of the verse on separate index cards and mixes them up. Each child is given a set of cards which holds one complete verse. The children spread their cards out on the table or floor face-up and try to unscramble the words to put the verse in the correct order. To add interest this activity can be timed if your class enjoys competition. As a review activity, the children can also create their own cards to be kept in individual baggies for a variety of verses which have already been learned. The children can trade baggies and test their friends on past verses.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105