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.