Can you smell a wonderful post covid summer in the air?
Both children and adults are ready to take back the summertime that covid stole from us. As a result, calendars are buzzing with activities.
I have 2, 3, and 5-year-old boys full of energy and ready for a lineup of summer activities.
As parents, we don’t want to let them get bored. Or perhaps, we’re too busy with work, so we sign them up for all sorts of activities- vacation bible school, soccer, swimming lessons, athletics, taekwondo, reading programs, vacation schools, etc. Some lasting throughout the summer. Others for a few days.
However, we must have a spiritual goal for our kids during their free periods away from the “formal” education setting. So, this summer, allow me to introduce you to a challenge the entire family will enjoy. I call this the “Memory Verse Challenge”! Before our kids return to school, let’s ensure that we set a goal of how many bible verses they should memorize before school resumes.
Here is a line from my previous article titled the “Lasting Present” on why we must immerse our kids in the memorization of Scripture- “This is the perfect gift, one that can never get old and be damped. One that will affect all areas of your child’s life: their careers, choosing a life partner, in the actual marriage, in their ministry, in their dark times when they cannot run to you, and in their happy times when they need to point all the Glory to God.”
If you’ve been meaning to do this with your younger or older kids but have no idea how to, here are some guidelines to help you with either category of kids:
For Younger Kids
Here are a few helpful ways to approach memorization of verses with younger kids this summer:
- Memorize anywhere– Whether at home, out for a walk, doing groceries, etc. My kids and I explored learning while in the car, but that did not go well. Explore with your kids and see which places would work best for them.
- Memorize anytime – I explored learning with them in the mornings, afternoon, and evenings. For my kids, mornings seem to work best. Afternoons were ok too, but evening times they were a no-no. Explore various times with your kids and see what will work best.
- Make it fun- please don’t be boring.
- Vary the tonations within a verse. For example, you can make the first part of a verse high toned and the second part lower toned.
- Make it “singable.” Put a rhyme to it; they can’t forget. It doesn’t have to sound perfect. Just remember that.
- Let them run, walk, dance with it, whatever their little bodies will want to do
- Repetition is Key
We started with a memory verse a week. So, every single day in that week, we recited and repeated it as often in the day as we got the chance.
We started the following week with a new verse. We had two verses now. So though, we learned, for example, Philippians 4.13 last week. This week, it’s Psalm 23:1. However, this week becomes both Philippians 4.13 and Psalm 23.1. By week three, we are memorizing three verses. Every week was a build-up of previous weeks’ verses. No verse gets left behind.
For Older Kids
Since older kids can reason with you, you can encourage them to participate in making this a fun one. Here are a few ways:
- Create a challenge
We all love overcoming obstacles- young or old. Make it a challenge—a fun one. Challenge your older kids to learn 5 or 10 or even more verses a week. To make you, the parent, an active participant, give them the verses to memorize. That way, you know for sure it’s not old Sunday school verses they learned that they are just coughing up.
- Give incentives if possible.
We reward our kids for excelling in their academics. So why not reward them for as many Scriptures they can cramp up? If possible, incentivize the activity.
- Build a community if possible
You could ask them if they would like to involve their best friends, for instance, in the challenge. Or cousins of the same age etc.
With older children, the choices are unlimited. And more importantly, if kids devise their own memorization strategy, they will own it and find it more enjoyable. The possibilities are endless.
Helpful Memory Verses to Start
If you are unsure of what verses to start with, here are a few. Some have been slightly paraphrased to help make memorization easier for younger kids. For older kids, though, go with the original verse as they appear in the Bible.
I hope your kids will have a great summer with this summertime hit list:
Phil 4.13– I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.
Josh 24.15 – As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Psalm 23.1– The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want
Nehemiah 8.10 – The joy of the Lord is our strength
Mat 19.26– With God, all things are possible
Deuteronomy 28.13– I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath
Proverbs 9.10– The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
Mark 12:31-Love your neighbor as yourself
Ephesians 6.1– Children obey your parent in the Lord
John 11.35– And Jesus Wept
Psalm 23.6 Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
John 15.7– if you remain in me and my words remain in you. You will ask whatever you want. It will be granted unto you.
Hebrews 13.5– I’ll never leave you nor forsake you
Ecclesiastes 3.1– There is time for everything
1 Corinthians 2. 16-
For whom hath known the mind of the Lord that He may instruct him? But I have the mind of Christ.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Amen.
I Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the Glory of the Lord rises upon you.
I must be in my Father’s house
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
No weapon formed against you shall prosper
Christ in you, the hope of Glory
Ok, So Its Memorized; Now What?
Make using verses memorized a regular part of your language of communication at home and everywhere.
Adopt Scripture as part of your regular everyday jargon in your family.
When my kids are complaining about something they can’t do, I would often say, “Boys, I can do,” and they sometimes respond grudgingly, “all things through Christ that strengthen me” [Philippians 4:13]
Sometimes though, the tables turn, and they get back to me. For example, when I am not feeling up to going out in the scorching Texas heat, even though they want to be out playing, they say, “mommy, you can do,” and then I grudgingly respond, “all things through Christ that strengthens me.” I take them out then because the kids should know that the word of God takes dominance over all things and people, both great and small.
Other times they may want to play endlessly. So I pull out a card- “Boys, there is time,” and they respond “for everything”- [Ecclesiastes 3:1].
It’s not too late to let Scripture be a part of your everyday life with your kids. Start now.
Here is to wishing you a wonderful summertime with this summertime hit list.
The Scripture below sums up all I am trying to say.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.