Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)
So today's Friday Five features Fun Ways to Get God's Word into Your Little Ones Hearts. I'd thought I'd share some of the ways we are doing this in our house and I'd love to hear from you on how you are doing this! What are your favorite resources, sites and more? How do you structure your time in this? I know there are so many ways to approach this that I've never considered so please leave a comment if you can!
1. Meal Time Devotionals - One of my favorite things about being a stay at home mom is that the girls and I get to have an unhurried breakfast in our jammies! We usually start our day with a story out of The Jesus Storybook Bible. It is an amazing collection of some of the bible's most famous stories with lots of great pictures. After reading this to Teagan for a few weeks I asked her why she thought God gave us the bible. What was He trying to tell us? I thought she'd say something about how he loves us. But nope. She said, "Not to eat apples." followed by "That Goliath is NOT very nice. He needs a time out!" Oh my. I suppose we have a way to go but I love that she is so intrigued by these stories and now asks me to read her favorites by name.
And at night at dinner we aim to read our Little Visits book with 365 family devotionals. This book takes a bit of God's word, gives us a short story that makes it applicable. We answer a simple question about the passage as a family and then say a short prayer that is provided. It is so great and a wonderful way to connect us as a busy family at the end of the day. We also like reading Victoria Osteen's sweet My Happy Heart books which teach about thankfulness for God's blessings. These are such fun little books to read!
2. Prayer - We start meals with fun prayers the kids can say very proudly on their own including:
God is good
God is great
Let us thank Him for our food
In Jesus' Name, Amen
Or, (to the tune of Are You Sleeping?)
God our Father
God our Father
Thank you for our blessings
Thank you for our blessings
Kade and Teagan have started to add the things they are thankful for to these prayers. Their own special little requests can be super funny at times as can the things they are thankful for. The lizard on our front porch, anyone?
I also pray outloud for God's protection when we get into the car and when I need patience (often!). I praise Him for things throughout the day. And when we put Teagan to sleep we get on our knees and pray at the foot of her bed. We thank God for our family, our health, His blessings in our lives, for friends, our church and for the health and happiness of two special Compassion International children named Pascaline (Rwanda) and Darling (The Dominican Repubilc). We want our kids to know they can talk to God about anything, anytime, anywhere.
3. Teaching During Playtime and Craft Time - St. Paddy's Day shamrocks are all the rage in our house this month. We've been coloring them, painting them, making them into cookies, gluing fun bits to them and more. I love that St. Patrick used the leaves of the shamrock to teach the Irish people the concept of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So we've been talking about that. And once a week we pick out a page in a coloring book of Teagan's. Each page has a toddler friendly verse. We make up hand movements to remind us of key words. And we review verses we've previously memorized. It is a-mazing how much Teagan can remember and it really helps me too as I struggle with verse memorization.
Our verse for this week is:
I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength.
[examples of our motions: I (point to self) can do all things (open arms wide) through Christ (point to Heaven) because he gives me strength (make bodybuilder type movement with toddler biceps - too funny!)]
4. Movies, books and computer time - You may wonder just what an asparagus, tomato and cucumber have to do with leading your children to God but let me tell you the Veggie Tales are simply addictive! This clever little bunch of veggies make us laugh while teaching key stories from the bible such as the story of the prodigal son, Jesus' birth, Daniel and the lion's den, and Jonah's message to the Ninevites - just to name a few. And in addition the series teaches some of the 48 Godly character qualities including honesty, forgiveness, kindness and courage. We love watching the movies, visiting their online world at http://www.veggietales.com/index.php and have some of their books including God Made You Special and even Fish Slappers Need a Second Chance! You are gonna love them but don't blame me if you wake in the middle of he night with the catchy tune "God is Bigger Than the Boogey Man..." running through your dreams!
5. Sunday School, Mom's Day Out Programs, Vacation Bible School and Awanas - It may seem odd that I put the church last on my Friday Five list. That's because I want to emphasize our role as the first in line to teach our children. But we are blessed to have a fantastic children's program in our church. It constantly amazes me and I am so truly thankful to all those who contribute their time and energy each day to growing godly children. I also take Teagan to the Mom's Day Out program occasionally which allows me to enjoy a mommy bible study or as in the case of this upcoming week, an inspiring luncheon where I'll meet moms who are missionaries from all over the world. Teagan loves it because they play and make crafts. I love it because I know she is safe and actually learning about Christ. I can't wait until she can join our Vacation Bible School and Awana teams that are dedicated to developing " spiritually strong children who faithfully follow Jesus Christ" via play, crafts and fun that inspires them long after the sessions have been completed.
There you have it. My Friday Five for Friday, February 24, 2012. I so hope you will leave a comment or question. And have an amazing weekend! We'll see you back here for pictures of Kade's 5th ultra cool birthday party, Tuesday's Destination: Inspiration linky party and more!
In Jesus' Name, Michelle