Let’s face it. Memorizing anything tends to be rather boring. All of that repeating the same thing over and over makes you wish you had a photographic memory.
Memorizing at least part of the Bible is so essential to the faith development of our children. We need to find some ways to make memorizing scripture appealing to our children. They are too young to really understand how important it is to have those verses already in your head when you need them.
Enter the balloon memory wall! I gave my students a list of scriptures which I felt fit with what we were studying and would help them in their faith walk. Most were eight to ten verses. I have some really young children, so I also put in a couple of shorter passages. Nothing the average child could “memorize” walking in the door.
Once a child has recited a passage to me from memory, he/she gets to pop a balloon of his/her choice. Inside the balloon is a piece of paper with a number on it. The number corresponds to a wrapped prize.
I am a big believer in “meaningful” prizes. No candy, but little things from the dollar store or Target’s dollar area which can connect them back to God. So my prize closet has little “bug” catchers for observing bugs, plants with special soil and pot, crochet kit, Bible coloring books, story books etc. Nothing cost more than $1, but all look really nice. (Catch them at Target when they are changing and some things cost 30 cents each!) I wrap any prize that is too “girly” for most boys (like the crochet kit) in a different color tissue paper so I can swap it out if a boy picks that number.
If you are working with your own children, you can do something similar. Or maybe you can do what we have done with another class. Anyone that memorizes a particularly difficult passage gets to go on a special field trip. Have fun with it, but try to keep it as meaningful as possible. I would love to hear about your ideas for incentives in a comment below.