Fun Bible Journaling For Kids

Spiritual disciplines can be tough for kids to embrace. Reading the Bible in particular can be tough for some kids, as well as scripture memorization. Bible journaling can be a fun way to encourage your kids to read a little scripture every day and writing in the journal can help them begin to memorize scriptures without even realizing it.

The trick is to make it fun and avoid doing things that will make it feel like school work. It all begins with finding the right supplies for each of your kids. Don’t spend the money on a Bible with wide margins, as most have a reading level that is too difficult for many children. Make sure you do have a regular NIrV Bible around for them to find and copy scriptures from into their journal. It’s on a third grade reading level, so most kids will be able to read it independently.

Next, you want to find or have your children make a journal that they love. You can find pretty ones on sale at stores like Five Below. Or you can go old school and create a book from typing paper and the fronts of cereal boxes covered with brown paper bags as the covers. You can even find blank books in the dollar spot at Target or at Michaels. Have your child decorate the cover or the first page to personalize their journal.

Finally, you will need art supplies. Your finances and your kids ages and artistic abilities will determine what supplies you use. Normally adults use really nice colored pencils and watercolor pencils. Since you aren’t actually having them write in a Bible though, they can easily use crayons or markers. Your child may want to try painting with watercolors or use different art supplies on different verses. (Put a sheet of paper or cardboard behind the page they are decorating and the next page when they are using markers or paints – to keep them from bleeding through to the next page.)

Now comes the fun part. Ask each child what types of Bible verses they would like to focus on in their journal. One child might choose quotes from the heroes in the Bible. Another might choose verses that make him feel less anxious. Yet another child may decide she wants to journal God’s promises in the Bible. Or perhaps one child wants to find all of the verses about angels or some other topic of interest.

The two types of topics that will make this project work best are first, scriptures about which they are curious…like finding everything the Bible says about angels. The other topic that will keep their interest is one about which they are passionate. Perhaps verses about taking care of God’s creation or verses that will help them deal with an issue they are having like anxiety or courage.

You can begin teaching them how to use Bible study aids to find the scriptures they want or you can make some suggestions for younger children. Once they have chosen their first verse, have them write it in their journal. Writing the verse by hand will make it easier for them to remember it later.

Then encourage them to illustrate the scripture. They can create their own art or get ideas from one of the many Bible journaling websites and books. Some kids will develop an interest in learning calligraphy to make their journal entries look nicer. Others may focus more on the illustration and still others will be more focused on finding just the right verses. It doesn’t really matter as long as they are working on the journal.

How often your kids write in their journals is up to them. It’s great if they will write a new verse every day and then maybe illustrate several on the weekend when they have more time. For others, that will feel too much like homework and they may do better choosing random rainy days or slow afternoons to work on it.

As they illustrate several pages, start encouraging them to show you their illustrations from earlier and explain why they chose the verse. Or have them tell you about their artwork. You want to do this at random intervals, so they will regularly revisit the scriptures they have chosen. This type of spaced review can help move those verses into their long term memories.

Not every child will love Bible journaling. For those who do, though, it’s a great way to encourage regular Bible study and memorization of scriptures.

7 Great Ways to Add God to Your Family’s Summer

Summer is a gift to families! The kids aren’t in school. The weather is generally amazing. Employers are often a bit more relaxed. You may even have vacation time to use. Your family can get a lot out of the extra time together. You can even spend some of that extra time teaching your kids about God, while you are having fun together and accomplishing your other goals for the summer!

Here are seven great ways to spend family time and teach your kids about God.

  • Read great books. What’s more relaxing than a summer siesta time reading books? The Bible is a library of 66 books. Start your kids out with an NIrV Bible and on story heavy books like Judges, Ruth, Esther, the Gospels and Acts. You can also read some of the secular and Christian books we have suggested in past blog posts and then discuss them over ice cream.
  • Keep academic skills strong. The last eighteen months have put a strain on many students academically. Our Teach One Reach One website (www.teachonereachone.org) has tons of free activity ideas that tie Bible lessons to academic skills practice in fun ways. We have ideas for language arts, math, science, second languages and health and hygiene.
  • Complete family service projects. What’s better than serving others together as a family? Our Teach One Reach One website (www.teachonereachone.org) has about 200 free service project ideas tied to Bible lessons. Designed for groups, most work for families, too.
  • Enjoy family devotionals. Now is the time to start that great habit of family devotionals. Our Teach One Reach One website has over 200 free Bible lessons with activity ideas you can use, if you want to have fun together as part of your devotional.
  • Solve sibling conflict (and more). Now is the time to tackle those parenting issues like sibling conflict that cause so many problems during the school year. The Teach One Reach One website has free printable parenting sheets you can print to help you tackle some of your most pressing parenting concerns.
  • Explore family gifts. Summer is one of the best times of the year to help your kids discover, develop and use the gifts God has given them to serve Him. Search our Parenting Like Hannah website for past posts on the topic to help.
  • Have fun training your kids. The Parenting Like Hannah website has tons of past posts with fun ideas on dozens of ways to teach your kids things God wants them to know and do, while having fun in the process. Just use the search function and look for “fun ideas”.

Your family deserves an awesome summer! Being intentional in how you use some of the time will mean your family can grow spiritually while you are enjoying life.

Great Summer Reading For Kids and Teens

(Here is an annual favorite post on some books to make your kids think and spark family conversations.) Summer often brings reading lists for kids and teens. Sometimes, they are given specific books to read, but often there is a lot of freedom. Wouldn’t it be great if some of that extra reading time could be spent reading books that will encourage your children to live godly lives? There are actually quite a few good Christian/positive secular books for kids and teens on the market.

I have had several people ask me for suggestions, particularly of good non-fiction books. The list below is not complete and not all are technically “Christian” books. They are all, however, books that will get your children thinking. Take advantage of the summer slow times and ask them to share with you some of the things from these books they particularly liked and others with which they are not sure they agree.

Not all of these books are appropriate for every child and many of these should only be read by teens. Please do your own research before giving your child a book to read. Older children can find series like Christy Miller, which will satisfy their desire to read some quality fiction books.

Many of the books today have hidden agendas for promoting ungodly thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Some of these your children will be forced to read in the process of their education. Providing books that encourage godly thinking and empathy can help counter some of these influences. (Of course, the Bible will always be the best counterculture tool you can ever give your child.)

Have fun reading this summer – some of these books I have enjoyed as much as our daughter did – you may want to read the same books yourself. If you find other great books for Christian kids, be sure and let me know. I would love to share them with other readers.

What Your Family Needs For A Great Summer

Many of you have kids in school for another few weeks, but in Atlanta, school is out for the summer. There is a celebratory feeling as school is not only completed for the year, but we emerge from COVID restrictions to a world we vaguely remember. The temptation is to immediately do everything we missed – which many are doing, if the TSA line in our airport is any indication!

The problem with jumping back into everything at once is that it can leave you feeling even worse. Did you know when the people were freed from the concentration camps in WWII, the soldiers gave them food to help them regain all of the weight they had lost. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know is that a stomach that has been starved for months on end must gradually be reintroduced to food. Some died, because they ate too much too quickly.

For your family to have a great post COVID restrictions summer, it’s going to help to have a plan. Call it a summer bucket list. Really discuss what you have missed and what you haven’t. What things were you doing too much of before COVID and what things had you been neglecting?

Where does God fit in to your post COVID world? Sadly, virtual church has meant many of us believe we can skip the messiness of church with real people and merely watch our favorite service. Attending church virtually long term will gradually weaken the faith that is strengthened in relationship with other Christians. If you didn’t have that before, it’s time to be intentional about creating those relationships now. Your kids will need those relationships or studies show they will most likely reject Christianity entirely as adults.

What things does your family need to do to strengthen relationships with each other? What do you need to do to be more intentional about helping your kids build strong faith foundations and grow to their godly potential? What are some things you can do to help them experiment with different gifts to see which ones God has given them to use to serve Him?

Don’t forget to schedule fun! A lot of people believe you can’t obey God and have fun. It’s one of Satan’s favorite lies. Doing fun things with your kids exposes that lie and shows them the truth – sometimes godly fun is a lot more fun than Satan’s idea of “fun”.

So grab your family and make that summer bucket list. It may just be your best summer ever!

Tips for Raising Kids With Godly Self Esteem

Self esteem is an interesting topic in parenting. Christian parenting adds an additional depth to the discussion. How do you raise children who realize they are deeply valued and loved by God, but who also recognize their sin separates them from God and they need to repent? How can you raise children who are confident to use the gifts God has given them to serve Him, yet humble enough to realize those gifts come from God and are to be used to serve Him as well as perhaps to earn a living or just enjoy? How do you raise kids who have a realistic view of their strengths and weaknesses and work on improving their weaknesses avoiding using their strengths to merely gain power, control or other purely worldly goals?

It’s not easy. Many times others will intentionally or unintentionally undo what you are trying to accomplish. And let’s not forget, Satan can use self esteem that is too low or too high to help accomplish his purposes….so he’s working against you, too. That doesn’t mean it is impossible. God wants your kids to have a balanced, healthy, godly self esteem. That’s one of the reasons He gave us a Bible full of His wisdom on the topic and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Christians to help us keep that delicate balance.

If you want to raise kids with godly self esteem, here are some things you can do to help.

  • Teach them how God feels about them. The good and the bad. Teach them how much God loves them. Teach them how sad it makes God when they disobey Him. Balance teaching them about God’s tremendous love for them with teaching them how sin fractures that relationship (but not God’s love) unless they repent of those sins.
  • Help them discover, develop and use the gifts God has given them to serve Him. Understanding God has given them gifts to develop and use to serve Him will give your kids a sense of meaning and purpose. Those are both important parts of a healthy, godly self esteem.
  • Teach them their confidence should be in God, not themselves, but that God will help them live the Christian life if they will let Him. Your kids need to understand they don’t hold the power, God does. They also need to understand that with God’s help they can be more and more like the person He wants them to be.
  • Teach them how to learn and grow spiritually. Your kids need to understand life, especially Christian life, is about continuing to learn who God wants them to be and striving to become that person. They will never reach perfection, which is why Jesus had to die on the cross. The very process of learning and growing will give them a sense of progress – no matter how slow – that can also help their godly self esteem. Partially by the positive aspects of growing spiritually, but also from the humility of realizing they will never be able to stop learning and growing.
  • Teach them how to be godly servant leaders, modeled after Christ. They should be doing things to develop enough confidence to boldly share their faith, while also learning how to serve others joyfully in the humblest of ways.

Like many things in Christianity, godly self esteem is about balance. Teaching your kids how to maintain that balance will help them avoid the pitfalls of negative or overly positive self esteem.