Fun Activities to Teach Your Kids About Communication

Communication is a wonderful thing…when it works well. Unfortunately, in families – particularly amongst siblings – there can be communication issues that can damage and eventually sever relationships. There are some fun activities connected to Bible stories that can help you start teaching your kids about communication.

For both activities, you will need materials your kids can use to build something. For older kids you want to make the “building supplies” as unique as possible. Think uncooked pasta, straws, marshmallows, etc. For younger children, blocks or Legos work well.

For the first activity, tell your kids the story of the Tower of Babel found in Genesis 11:1-9. Give your kids the building supplies. Tell them they must build the tallest tower possible without talking. The older your kids are, the more difficult you can make the task…like they need to use all of the supplies or it has to hold a certain amount of weight. Giving older kids a time limit can also up the pressure. Be extremely strict about the no talking rule. No noises, etc.

When time is up, ask your kids the problems they faced because they couldn’t talk. Would it have been easier if they could speak? What if they could speak, but spoke different languages? Why is it difficult to communicate without words? Why do our words sometimes make communicating more complicated?

For the second activity, tell your kids the story of Nehemiah found in the Bible book of the same name. This time, your kids need to build a wall using the materials you provided, but this time they can talk. As soon as they start, starting yelling at them and try to distract them like the people did in the book of Nehemiah. If needed, call their names, ask them questions…anything you can verbally do to distract them from their building before time expires.

Afterwards, discuss how distractions can make communication more complicated. How did it feel when one of their siblings was trying to tell them something, but you kept interrupting the conversation and/or distracting them? How much more difficult did it make their communication? What things distract them when others are trying to communicate with them? Why is it important to minimize possible distractions when having a conversation? With older kids, this is a great time to talk about how devices impact communication.

Have fun with it. Future activities can encourage them to communicate well and handle communicating in godly ways with someone when they are in conflict. For now, just get them thinking about the importance of clear, undistracted communication.

Teaching Your Kids Reflection

The Bible contains quite a few verses that discuss the idea of meditating on scripture. Psalm 1 lauds people who “delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night”. The New Testament also discusses meditation, but often uses terms like “think about these things”, which are perhaps more familiar ideas for us.

Whether you call it meditation, reflection or “thinking about”, God wants His people to think deeply about the scriptures He has given us. He wants us to think about what they tell us about Him and what He wants for us and from us. He wants us to use those reflections to think about how to apply those scriptures in our daily lives. He wants the same things for your kids and He wants you to teach them how to reflect on scripture.

Even though I was raised in a Christian home and attended church regularly, I don’t remember being taught anything about how to reflect or meditate on scripture. I’m not sure when it ceased to be a spiritual discipline, but you may not have been taught about reflection either. If you were taught anything, it was to read the Bible, but the plans they used covered so much scripture in one day, you could barely read it all, much less reflect on any of it.

If you want to start your kids off with great spiritual habits, reflection on scripture is an important one. It’s really rather simple to teach – even if you were never taught how to do it. I’ve broken it down into steps, to make it more like a recipe or set of instructions. There are multiple ways you can teach reflection, but this is the most streamlined I could design.

  • Find a time and place. It works best if your child picks a time when something is already regularly scheduled and can just add on a little reflection time. So for example, if your child always eats breakfast or an afternoon snack, he or she may choose this as a great time to do some reflection. We tend to think of reflection as “quiet time”, where one sits silently or chants a syllable over and over. In reality, some of your kids may reflect better when taking a walk or listening to praise songs. Each of your kids may choose a different time and place. That’s fine, because it’s important to find what works best and will help them establish the habit.
  • Pick a source of scriptures. The version you use is important. Try one like the NIrV. It’s a translation, therefore, more accurate than a paraphrase, but is also on a third grade reading level to make it easier to understand. To make it easier to find meaningful verses upon which to reflect, consider using a “Bible verse of the day” setting in your Bible app or from another source. Or use a book like Proverbs, where each verse usually has a lot to think about within it. Without this help, your kids may end up trying to meditate on a list of names or a description of a bit of action in a Bible story.
  • Teach them to read the verse and then say what it means in their own words. This may mean they need to look up the definition of a word or two. If they can’t explain the verse in their own words, they probably don’t understand it well enough to meditate on it.
  • Teach older kids to look for context. Sometimes verses can be confusing if you don’t understand what happened in the verses surrounding them. Job’s friends, for example, say some things that were just totally wrong and made God angry. Taken out of context though, your kids may think what they said was true and important. Often just reading a couple of verses before or after will give them enough context. In complicated situations, they may wish to use a concordance to help them.
  • Teach them to look for a lesson. Ask your kids to think about why God wanted that verse to be in the Bible. What does He want them to learn from it? What does it tell them about God and what He wants for them and/or from them?
  • Teach them to ask themselves what they need to change or do now that they have reflected on the verse. Reflecting on scripture doesn’t do a lot of good unless it is also used. Have your kids think about their lives in light of the verse they reflected upon. Is there something they need to change or do in light of it? How can they make those changes in their lives?

At first, you will want to teach your kids how to reflect on scripture by doing it together as a family. After they are comfortable with the process, let them attempt reflection independently, then discuss their thoughts with you later. Hopefully, before long they will have developed a daily habit of reflecting on scripture.

Using Animals to Teach Your Kids About God

Family fun trips are great times to reinforce what your kids have been learning about God. Zoos, aquariums, nature preserves and even farms are usually full of animals and other creatures God created. (Our suburban yard has even been host to deer, foxes, possums, rabbits and more!) You can use the animals you see as ways to teach or remind your kids of some important biblical principles.

The great news is that you don’t have to preach a sermon to your kids. You don’t have to memorize a lesson plan or a bunch of scriptures. You can just make casual comments as you go. Often these comments are best made in response to something your child has said. Hopefully, some of them will come out of your mouth spontaneously. And of course, you can say other things while you are enjoying God’s creation, just sprinkle in the comments from time to time.

Use your own words, but try saying some of these things to your kids the next time you visit the zoo or aquarium.

  • “God must really love us to have created such an amazing variety for us to enjoy!”
  • ”God is so creative! Did you know God made you in His image, which means He made you to be creative, too?!”
  • ”God is amazing!”
  • ”How awesome is that! God created the (insert creature name) so that (insert interesting fact about animal you just learned). Did you know that the extreme intricacy in God’s creation is what is leading many scientists – even some atheists – to admit that the idea that all of this was created by chance is impossible?”
  • ”Oh! That’s a donkey like the one in the Bible that Jesus rode.”
  • ”I wonder if this animal would have been clean or unclean when Noah was loading the ark?”
  • ”How interesting that all of these different types of (insert name of animal grouping) are related. Noah didn’t have to take one of each variety of these on the ark, just one of each kind, or group of animals. He probably took baby animals so they would have longer to breed after the flood and would have taken up less space and eaten less food on the ark.”
  • ”I wonder what day of creation these were created on?”
  • ”God told Adam humans were supposed to take care of everything He created (have dominion over). How do you think He would want us to take care of all of these animals/fish? What is one thing we can do to help?”
  • ”God sure did bless us by giving us so many beautiful things to see while we are on Earth!”
  • ”Why do you think God created (insert name of creature) so that (insert characteristic)?”
  • ”How many animals did we see today that you think are mentioned by name in the Bible?” (Provides a great excuse for teaching your kids how to use Bible resources to find information.)
  • ”What are some things we saw today that we should thank God for the next time we pray?”
  • ”God is amazing!”

You won’t use all of these every time you go to a zoo or a nature preserve. Some you will word differently because of the personalities and interests of your kids. There are probably dozens of more things you could say, but these should get you started. Have fun with it. Use every chance you have for a teaching moment that points your kids to God.

Great Way to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About God

It’s fairly accepted in ministry now that doubts and questions about faith don’t cause faith to crumble on their own. It’s the act of not helping young people find the answers they are seeking, and allowing Satan to provide his false answers that will pull them away from God.

Even though most in ministry are aware of these studies, it is the rare church that provides regular opportunities for kids and teens to ask questions and express their doubts. Which means, parents have to take a more intentional role in uncovering and answering their kids’ questions and doubts about God, scripture, the church, etc.

Before we go any farther, it’s important to emphasize that you personally don’t have to know all of the answers. Sometimes, you will, especially with younger children. Sometimes, there isn’t an answer, other than that God hasn’t explained it to us thoroughly yet and we will understand better when we are in Heaven. Many times though, you will need to research the answer yourself and that’s actually great. Why? Because you can teach your kids how to find and use reliable resources to answer any questions they may have when they are older. If you don’t know any reliable resources, ask your minister for a few. (Apologetics books often cover a lot of very common questions.)

It’s critical that you don’t just make up answers to avoid looking ignorant. An inaccurate answer, an answer with faulty logic or other weak responses can also be used by Satan later to undermine anything that was true in the answer. If you need a little extra time for research, say so. Or you can ask your kids to give you their questions a few days in advance so you can make sure you are giving solid answers.

Give each child a special notebook or journal. If your kids have a phone, encourage them to set up a special section in the Notes app. Explain that you want them to jot down any questions that they think of….things they don’t understand (which is how kids often express doubts) about God, the Bible, Christianity, etc. Encourage them to take their notebooks to church and jot down questions that come to mind during the sermon or class. Ask them to jot down questions that might come up during the school day or during free time, too.

Then have regularly scheduled question times, where you sit down as a family and discuss everyone’s most recent questions. How often this is will vary depending upon your kids. It needs to be consistent enough though, that your kids believe you really will address their questions, so they will continue to jot them down.

Obviously, this all takes time and intentionality, but you and your kids will benefit from discussing their questions and doubts rather than having others answer them later in ways that will pull your kids away from God.

Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Make Bible Connections

Your kids are probably learning a lot of different Bible stories at church and at home. What they may not realize is that each of those stories is a piece of a puzzle that when put together reveals God’s plan. There’s a fun ongoing activity you can do with your kids to help them begin to understand how things in scripture fit together.

Give each child a large piece of plain paper. You may want to invest in one of those paper rolls if you can afford it. You’ll also want to give them crayons, markers, colored pencils or paint. Have them title their paper “God’s Plan Is A Work of Art” or something similar.

Every time your kids hear or read a Bible story at church, home, or for some school, have them pull out their paper. What symbols or simple drawing best represents the Bible story? Where does it belong in relation to other Bible stories already in the drawing? For example, let’s say they just heard the story of Ruth. They might want to draw grain or a sandal or some other object from the story. Later when they hear a story about David, they may want to place the symbols for that story near the symbols from the story of Ruth, since she was David’s great grandmother. Or if they already have stories near Ruth, they can use arrows or other symbols to illustrate stories that are connected in some way to other Bible stories.

Over time, their artwork should grow larger and larger. Periodically, examine the entire piece together, reminding each other of the stories the symbols represent and the connections to other stories. If you want to spend a little extra, have your kids transfer the completed piece of art to a blank jigsaw puzzle. Then break it apart and see how well they can put it back together.

This activity takes time, but it’s a great way to help your kids better understand how everything in the Bible connects. In so doing, they will also get a better understanding of God’s overarching plan.