It absolutely blows my mind when I see my children respond to the Bible, to God’s living Word. Who needs reality tv when you have the stories of the Old Testament? And I’m talking about reading straight from the Bible. We have some children’s Bibles and they’re good, but nothing is better than the literal Word of God. My kids love fun, so if I can make learning God’s Word fun, I WILL DO IT!
It’s not expensive props that get their attention; it’s the Word of God and interactive play that help them understand it. Play time with mom is always fun so I like to use it to my advantage to teach them the Word. Jesus used parables to help people understand God. I use Fisher Price Little People. 🙂
Here’s some ideas of what we do.
Adam and Eve. Reading Genesis 2:7-9, 15-25
At the table, we use little people dolls as Adam and Eve. These dolls also function as Moses, Pharaoh, and Noah at the appropriate times. As I’m reading the story, the dolls are acting it out. When Adam falls into a deep sleep, Little People Boy lays down. And my 21 month old says “night night.” 🙂 For the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil I use whatever is laying on the table. Yeah, there’s usually something on the table that can be used because I so don’t keep a clean table most days. So, it may be a book, or a block. That’s the fun thing with little ones, their imaginations are not limited. They don’t care, they go right along with it. And when the animals are brought to Adam to be named, I use my fingers as the animals. I’m pretty sure my kids love this the most. I walk “animals” up to Adam to be named (i.e. whatever I say is what my fingers are, which makes the opportunities endless), so an animal tromps up to Adam and blows it’s trunk (raise finger in the air) and he names it “Elephant.” When we act this out on the ground, we use stuffed animals. My son is Adam and he happily sits on the arm rest of the chair and waits while my daughter and I bring him animals to name. In the making of Adam, he lays on the ground and I (God) “forms” him out of dust, making his hands and feet, etc. Then he falls into a deep sleep, and my 21 month old says night night, and then I take out his rib and form Eve. Enter my 4 year old daughter. Then I stick them in the garden. The garden is the living room. So easy and my kids LOVE it. The kids actually ask for me to read more Bible stories. They’re learning and they don’t even know it!
The Fall. Reading Genesis 3:1-19
Once we’ve read the story a few times at the table, I’ve learned enough of it to start acting it out. I try to use some of the exact verses from the bible while we’re acting it out. So, with this one, I stick Adam and Eve (my 4yo daughter and 3yo son) in the Garden of Eden (the living room) next to the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life (ottomans). We use play fruit from the kitchen to entice Eve. Anything long laying around is the serpent (necklace, paper towel roll). They eat the fruit and then sew fig leaves (pillows) to cover themselves. Then when they hear God walking through the garden they run and hide behind the trees (chair). When they are banished from the garden the cherubim (21 month old) waves her flaming sword (paper towel holder or a shoe) and she loves every minute of it.
The next story is Cain and Abel. We don’t do this one yet. I don’t need my kids getting any ideas. Noah, the tower of Babel (building blocks), the wise and foolish builders (rocks and sand)… anything to make the Bible come ALIVE to my children because it IS alive!! They get absorbed when it’s made SO MUCH FUN. You don’t need anything special. All you need is your kids, a little imagination, and the Bible. We all have that.
We are a family of 6 now! What’s that like? Well, let me tell you. It’s walking to the kitchen and saying, “Son, why are just sitting in the hallway?” To which he replies, “I’m in timeout.” Riiight. I forgot. Hmm, how long has he been sitting here? They only get baths when I can actually see that their legs are darker than their bellies. My prayers are less of the quiet prayer times and more of the getting on my knees in the living room to pray for strength for the next hour with my son climbing on my back asking to “ride the horse” and my 20 month old bent over on her head saying, “ma-ma? ma-ma?” It’s choosing sleep over a shower. I’ll smell clean again one day. Hopefully. It’s wearing a pair of pants to the store with baby pee on them. It’s thinking about maybe leaving the house by myself with all 4 kids until my mind pictures what that actually looks like: getting diapers changed, potty breaks for the older two, shoes on, water cup scavenger hunt, breaking up fights, and then deciding it would be easier to find something really fun to do at home. It’s dealing with a lot of poop. I’m not sure we would have had all these kids if I had known how much poop would be involved. Totally joking, about having the kids. Not joking about all the poop.