I am often amazed at how effortlessly my daughter is able to retain information throughout the course of a day. Whether it’s lyrics from a song, the words from a book, or details from a conversation, it doesn’t take much for something to become pressed into her brain.
My daughter isn’t unique. Our children really are like sponges.
Why not take advantage of this God-given gift for the benefit of their spiritual growth? Seven Mile Road, as we take this season to memorize the Sermon on the Mount together, our children are far from being spectators in this effort.
Here are some tips to help guide you in leading your children in scripture memorization:
Repetition over time works best.
Repeating a verse 7 times in just one day is not as helpful as repeating it daily for 7 days. Successful scripture memorization requires repetition over an extended period of time. Plan to set apart a portion of each day (even just 15 minutes) to memorization. As you keep learning new verses, also plan to go back to previous weeks.
Memorize in chunks.
As we go through the Sermon on the Mount, you will find weeks where we are memorizing 3-5 verses at a time. Don’t feel the need to have your child memorize all of it. Depending on their age, your child may be able to learn more or less each week. Do what makes sense for him/her. Take each day to memorize a portion and add a chunk the next day. Determine what their capacity each week and concentrate on retaining as much as they are able to handle.
Be sure to explain the verse as you help your child memorize.
Our hope is that our children will not only know the Bible, but also believe and live according to it. As you’re helping them to memorize, take time to explain the Scriptures in a way they can better understand. Help them to think through specific ways that these verse apply to them. For example, as you’re memorizing “blessed are the meek,” help your child consider real-life examples of what it would look like for him/her to consider others greater than themselves.
Hang up the verses around the house.
Whether your child can read or not, hanging verses on the refrigerator, in the bathroom, or near their bed will serve as a trigger for you to discuss and continue working on memorizing the verse.
Consider putting the words to music.
Music is a great tool that aids our learning. Whether its a brand-new tune that you create or a melody that they are already familiar with, singing the passage can be a great way of memorization. Try singing the passage together while driving in the car or doing things around the home. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be musically inclined to try something like this. 🙂
Have them illustrate the verses.
As you spend time explaining the verse to them, it may be helpful to have them draw the verses (as best as they can) and have them explain it to you. This is a good way to gauge their understanding of what the Scripture is teaching while making it enjoyable for them. You can also choose to do crafts with them that correspond with the scripture. For example, this week use materials like salt or a candle and bowl to explain Matthew 5:13-16.
Use games to help with memorization.
If your child knows how to read and write, try using these following games to help with memorization:
- Erase a Word – Write the memory verse on the board. Erase the verse a word at a time, each time asking the children to say the verse.
- Put it in Order – Write each word of the memory verse on a slip of paper. Children must place the slips in the correct order.
- A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. – Write the first letter of each word of the memory verse on the board. Children then try to write the verse.
- Secret Code – Give your child a letter containing a secret message. Ask him/her to crack the code and learn your message (the memory verse). Be sure to include the code index (ex: A=Z, B=Y, etc.) with your message.
Memorize the reference.
This will help your children as they learn to differentiate between Old Testament and New Testament passages. It may also help to open up to the verse in a Bible as you memorize so that they become more familiar with finding books in the Bible.