10 Creative Ways for Children to Memorize Scripture

Marvae EikanasTeaching

Children are like sponges. They are able to absorb and remember a surprising amount of information! Why not put that natural ability to work and assist children in memorizing scripture? Is there anything better to have tucked away for future reference?

While memorizing the right words in a verse is important, it is even more critical that children come to know the meaning behind a scripture and how it applies to their lives. That’s why it is important to take the time to go over the meaning of a verse as part of the memorizing process and talk about ways the children can apply the scripture to their young lives.

Keeping the memorizing process fun and full of variety makes memorizing appealing to children. Here are a few fun ideas to get your creative memorizing juices flowing:

1. Scripture Songs

There are a whole slew of songs out there that feature scripture set to music. Some of them have been around for a while, others are new! Here is a small sampling:

Don’t worry if you can’t find the specific verse you’re looking for in the above resources. Set any verse to music by creating your own “piggy-back” song. Just pick a well-known song like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Mary Had a little Lamb and coordinate the words with the tune. It’s easy and a tune the children are already be familiar with.

Memorizing scripture with music is especially popular with the preschool set.

2. Motions & Actions

Adding hand motions and other actions that coordinate with the words in a verse appeals to preschoolers and kinesthetic learners. For elementary-age children, let them help create the actions for the verse. Repeat the verse multiple times with the hand motions or actions.

Here’s an example:

It wasn’t their swords (pretend to hold a sword)

that took the land. (hold your palm over our eyes like you are looking into the land)

It wasn’t their power
(reach your arms over head and draw them down to the side and flex your biceps at shoulder height)

that gave them victory. (make peace signs with your fingers or “V’s” for victory)

But it was your great power and strength. (reach your arms over head again and draw them down to the side and flex your biceps at shoulder height)

You were with them (point up to heaven)

because you loved them. (hug yourself)

Psalm 44:3 (ICB) (hold four fingers up on both hands, and then three fingers on one hand)

3. Scripture Blocks

To prep for this method of memorizing scripture, write each word on a separate chalk board sticker. Then apply each sticker to a large block. They can be wooden blocks or large Duplos – your choice. Let the children look up the scripture in the Bible, and using it as a reference, put the blocks in the correct order. Review the verse together several times and then begin removing one block at a time and repeating the scripture until all the blocks have been removed.

Variations on this theme: Instead of blocks and chalk board stickers, use index cards, post it notes, or tongue depressors. You can also use a wide variety of paper cut into shapes such as stars, hands, feet, etc. and hang them on a clothes line.

4. Partner With a Puppet

A puppet always makes things fun! Let the puppet teach the children the memory verse and explain the meaning behind it. The puppet can even help the children come up with some creative ways to apply the verse to the lives of the children.

Or the children can teach the puppet the memory verse after going over it with you first. Of course it is more fun if the puppet has a poor memory and you replace key words with silly words or omit words and see if the children can spot the mistakes and help the puppet out.

5. Erase-A-Word

While not a new way of teaching scripture to children, it is easy and fun. Simply write the verse out on a chalk board or white board and go over it several times together. Then begin erasing one word at a time and repeat the verse until all the words are gone. Then see if the children can remember the verse even though there is nothing left on the board.

Variation on this theme: During the warmer months, write the scripture with chalk on the pavement or cement and then erase the words using a squirt bottle.

6. Get Physical

This is another way to appeal to those kinesthetic learners, and by the way, most kids tend to be kinesthetic learners to some degree.  Repeat the verse several times while doing a different kind of movement each time.  For example, you might want to repeat the verse together while hopping on one foot, doing jumping jacks, clapping, or turning around in circle. You may even let the children come up with some creative ways to move and repeat the scripture.

7. Scripture Wall & Ball Toss

Write each word of the scripture on a separate large post-it-note and place them on the wall in order.  Review the verse several times together. Then mix the words up and spread them out on the wall. Let the children take turns tossing a ball so that it hits the appropriate word. Since this method requires both reading and coordination skills, it is best suited for older elementary-age children.

8. Mix-Up How You Say It

There are two ways you can use this method. First you can vary how you say various words in a single verse like this:

Are there any gods like you, Lord? (whisper)

No! There are no gods like you. (shout)

You are wonderfully holy.  (back to a whisper)

You are amazingly powerful. (a little louder)

You do great miracles. (back to a shout)

Exodus 15:11 (ICB) (whisper)

Or you can repeat the verse varying how you say it each time. You might repeat the verse super slow, then super-fast, at a whisper, at a shout, or in a low, deep voice.

9. Around & Around

Have the children sit in a circle. Have a “hot potato” or some other object that relates to your lesson that day that the children can pass around the circle. After going over the verse several times together, pass your object around the circle and have the child holding the object say the next word of the verse until someone gets stuck. Then start over until the children are able to repeat the verse one word at a time going around the circle. Be sure not to dwell too much on the mistakes – memorizing can be challenging. Do your best to make it fun and keep the activity flowing.

10. Charades

Write the key words to the scripture down on slips of paper. Then let the children take turns picking one of the slips of paper and acting out the word while the others try to guess what the word is. When all the words have been acted out, review the verse together several times.

Variation on this theme: Instead of acting out the words, let the children draw the words on a chalk board or white board.

As you think through which method is best for you group of children, the specific verse you have in mind for them to learn, and your lesson, there are few things to keep in mind. Be sure to pick a method of memorizing scripture that is…

1. Appropriate for your age group

2. Fitting for the reading levels and skills reflected in your group

3. Well suited for your scripture

4. Ideal for your time frame

5. Perfect for reinforcing your lesson

For example, when teaching on Dorcas, you might want to use the clothesline mentioned under variations in idea #3 or use blocks when teaching a lesson on the tower of Babel.

And don’t forget to make it easy for parents to reinforce scripture memorization at home. That’s just one of the many reasons we provide Parent Sheets so that parents can reinforce at home what their children are learning at church or school.

If you haven’t been taking the time to memorize scripture I encourage you to start now. Is there anything better than scripture that you can plant in young hearts?

If you regularly include scripture memorization as a part of your lesson, what are some of your favorite ways to make it fun?

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