Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Five: Fun Ways to Get God's Word in Your Little One's Heart


Happy Friday everyone! I can't believe it is already time for a second edition of the Friday Five! Last week a girlfriend and I were talking about our fast our "babies" went from a dream in our hearts to big brothers and sisters...to just weeks shy of their third birthdays! Then I read a statistic that said our children's first five years are the most critical in developing life-long character traits. And I laugh because God must have really wanted me to see that stat. I kept running into it in the most unexpected places over the week!

It convicted me that Brian and I have a vital job to do NOW. Believe this tired mama when I say I'd love to wait for a day when I've had more sleep. When my errands and laudry are done and my to do list has magically cleared itself. But these days are flying and I know it can't be up to someone else to get God's word into our little one's hearts, know what I mean? It would be nice if we could just take them to church once a week then some day wake up to a fifteen year old who magically wants to embrace God and His truth with all his/her heart. But there's something about my own teen years teling me that just isn't the way it's going to go down, y'all!

I think about the power of prayer. How we have a true, vested interest in our own children that can't be replaced. No one will pray for them or over them like a parent will. Ok. Maybe grandparents? I can think of a few I know who are doing this with exceptional dedication. And I thank them from the depths of a mama's heart. But you know what I mean. 

We must teach our little ones about God, His love, His word, His great rescue, how He wants us to live and more. Indeed, we are charged by God to do so in what just may be THE most important job we have as parents:

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
Once again
Once again
Thank you for our blessings
Thank you for our blessings
Amen
Amen

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.
Philippians 4:13

[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

15 comments:

  1. Oh, I just love this. Thank you!!!
    New Follower!
    ~Jen @ Frazzled Five

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  2. I just wanted to say God Bless your efforts! (...and He will). Thanks to my little Christian mama, I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know who Jesus was and what He had done for me and the whole world. I thank God for blessing me with a Godly heritage.

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  3. Oh, I never thought of reading a devotion book at meal time. I have that Little Visits book and ashamadely only use it once or twice a month. Mealtime is an awesome idea. I am a stickler and we always eat dinner at the table so this would be great! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  4. Love the subject of this blog. When my son was little, I was a college student who couldn't afford cable TV. I used Christian videos. My favorites were superbook (which we now use with our daughter), McGee and Me and Bibleman. For books, I had some devotional we used but I read my son ( a little each night) the Chronicles of Narnia - which is about Jesus in an entertaining and imaginative way. My daughter is too young for Narnia yet. I recommend Narnia for kids in 1st through 5th grade.

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  5. I read Bible story books to my daughter at night before she goes to bed, but I need to work at more ideas all through the day.

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  6. I know all children want to know and hear about God...I have witnessed it over and over..and they are like sponges.....I pray for my children everyday..and tell them i am praying for them...i know they tuck that information in their minds and hearts...
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can

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  7. That is so beautiful! I absolutely agree. It is so sweet to see my toddler begin to pray on her own and ask me to add to my prayers specifically to include her requests.

    I just visited your lovely blog and became a follower. I hope your daughter is recovering!

    Michelle
    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  8. Thanks for commenting, Shiloh! I need to read more at bedtime. It seems by then I am just so exhausted! So you are inspiring me there. I am glad you stopped by and hope you'll be back!

    Michelle
    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  9. These are awesome recommendations! I will check out the videos for my little ones. And my nephew is almost in kindergarten so he's closer to The Chronicles of Narnia. I so can't wait to introduce him to this! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Michelle
    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks! I have to say we aren't the best about reading that every night but we try to or a short story out of Teagan's toddler bible. It makes mealtime special. I am so glad you stopped by and hope you'll be back here!

    Michelle
    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  11. I so agree! Thanks for stopping  by. I hope you'll be back often!
    Michelle

    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  12. I loved your sweet post! Makes my heart warm and I so hope my girls feel the same way one day. I loved visiting your blog! Hope you'll be back this way again.

    Michelle
    http://teaganstravels.blogspot.com

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  13. Thank you so much! I love your blog as well and can't wait to check out some free Kindle books! Hope you'll be back for my Destination: Inspiration linky parties on Tuesdays.

    Michelle

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  14. Heather KlompienMarch 6, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    These are wonderful ideas and such a great reminder.  I also think it's important for our children to hear us pray for them. We do this every night at bedtime. I am your newest follower. I would love for you to check my blog out and follow if you can. Thanks ~Heather @ http://lovelybeautifulsmiles.blogspot.com

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