How to Teach Toddlers Scripture Memory Verses
Memory work is a love it or hate it kind of thing. Those who are masterful at memorization love it. Those who struggle to retain information from words on a page, not so much. And it might seem downright impossible to teach a toddler or preschooler who isn't reading yet to learn the Bible. Not so! Hiding God's Word in their hearts doesn't have to wait until they can read it on their own. Here's how we teach our toddlers Scripture memory verses at home.
Pick a verse they can relate to.
Choose a verse to reinforce Sunday's sermon or one that you know will lend itself to teachable moments in your everyday life. (Consider verses relating to specific character traits you're working on, things God made around you, seasons or holidays, etc.). This will make it easy for them to wrap their minds around the verse by seeing or experiencing it in action.
Choose your translation.
I love the KJV, but sometimes all the thees and thous make it harder for our little ones to grasp the heart of the verses we read. I often choose the New King James Version (NKJV) or English Standard Version (ESV) for easier to grasp language.
Read and repeat, in bite-size bits.
Start by reading the whole verse through, then talk about what it means. Read it through again while they listen. Then, read phrase by phrase (up to about 3-4 syllables at a time) having them repeat each one after you. For our little ones, it helps if I do this rhythmically, almost like a song. We'll do this 3 times and then review the meaning as we move into our lesson.
Now unless your little one is on a Bible quizzing team, you probably don't have to be extremely regimented about how often you review each verse you learned. As the parent, though, it helps me remember to do it if I build it into the schedule. We do our weekly memory verse each morning during our "morning meeting" or calendar time.
Choose a more free-flowing day towards the end of the week to review all of the verses you've learned in the current month. Then choose 1 day a month (may be the last day) to review all the verses you've learned so far in the year. Obviously this can become quite a long list as you near year's end, so you can do this over a few days. This is also a great thing to do in the car, while you're running errands or completing other relatively mindless tasks. These are great ways to put Deuteronomy 6:7 in practice!
"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise" (ESV).
Your littles are never too little to start hiding God's Word in their heart! Even before they can speak, their little hearts will begin absorbing Truth as you read it to them, as they hear you talk about it, and as they see you model it. These are just a few ways how to teach toddlers Scripture memory verses at home. What works well for your family?