If you haven’t already figured as much from reading this blog that we are a Bible-reading (and believing) house, then now you will discover such news! My husband and I both grew up in Christian homes and our faith is the most important thing in our lives . We make all of our decisions in life based upon what we feel God is calling us to do, what would please Him, what will bring Him the most glory, and we believe in the Bible and treat it as a firm foundation for our lives. While we each have our own “come to Jesus moments” in our lives, the lessons, songs, and illustrations (flannel graph anyone??) that we learned in our childhoods have been foundational in how we view the world.
Now that we are parents, our goal is to provide our children with the an understanding and comprehension of the Bible. We believe that knowledge of the Bible will help inform our children about the life that we lead and the choices we make, the God we serve, as well as give them a context as to how to sort through the many questions that they will encounter throughout their lives.
I have a Masters in Theology so picking through the foundational Bible stories and deciding where we should start has been an exciting task for me. I am naturally inclined to teaching, illustrations, and I truly love to do it. I know at first that teaching children, especially toddlers can be daunting, but I have found a few good tactics that have really helped us to teach Chip biblical truths and stories.
A good place to start are picture Bibles. My mom got Chip this book for his birthday last year, and I was kind of doubting that he’d be ready for it. But the pictures are fantastic! He loves to look at the animals, people, and nature settings in the book.
The colors are vibrant and the illustrations are great. On top of that, it’s a board book which, of course, is the only reason that this has been around for a year. The stories are only a few sentences long and the author does a good job condensing these stories down to a few key points. My First Read and Learn Bible can be purchased on Amazon, but I think that my mom found it at T.J. Max for an even better deal. What I really love about this Bible are the stories that the author chose to include:
The Story of Creation
The Story of Noah
The Story of Moses
David and Goliath
Daniel and the Lions
Jesus is Born
The Shepherds and the Wise Men
Jesus Does God’s Work
Jesus and the Little Children
I feel like these stories are key stories in both the Old and the New Testament and provide good conversation starters for things that inevitably your toddler will hear you discuss. For example, when Chip fell and had to have his tooth out earlier this fall, we talked at length about how Jesus would heal him and we learned about Jesus healing the blind man. Now, when someone is sick or hurt and we pray for them, Chip always points to his eyes in reference to this story. However, you will notice that a key story, the Crucifixion, is not mentioned. Sort of a big one, eh? But, I do think that this Bible serves the purpose of introducing Jesus and the narrative of Scripture to little ones, and then from there we can get a Bible which tells a more complete narrative.
We just purchased this Bible for Chip for Christmas. I have only skimmed through it, so I can’t speak too much to the stories it covers. However, it is a lot bigger than his first Bible, and the stories are more in depth. We feel really excited about this Bible as I know that Chip will recognize the stories from his first Bible, as well as learn new ones.
The colors, again, are vibrant and the illustrations are fabulous. This, however, is not a board book so until we can play nicely with books, it will remain on the highest shelf and only be used with supervision. The Jesus Calling Bible storybook is part of a series of books written by Sarah Young. She has devotionals for adults, kids and teens as well as children. We bought ours on Amazon, but I am sure that your local Barnes and Noble has it too.
One thing that has really helped me in getting things to stick into Chips mind are to pick out images, themes, or parts of a story that he is already familiar with. So, for example, when teaching him the Birth of Jesus this year, I built upon what he already knew. Since he has already been introduced to Jesus, that was a logical place to start. We taught him last year that Jesus lived in his heart, and so he knows who He is already. Below are a few aspects of the Christmas story that we were able to relate to things that Chip knows of in his day to day life:
Daddy: Chip not only knows who a “daddy” is, but can say the word, so we explained that God is Jesus’ Daddy. So now when we ask who God is, we get a resounding “DADA!” out of him.
Mama: Same thing here. We built on the concept of Mommy and taught Chip that Mary is Jesus’ Mommy. By pointing to Mary in these Bible stories, Chip has since been able to pick her out in a life-size nativity.
Choo-choo: I so wish there were trains in Bible stories. Ha! Chip is obsessed with trains so that would really make teaching these stories easier. However, instead, we explained that because they didn’t have trains, Mary had to ride into Bethlehem on a donkey. This was an important thing for me, as I want him to remember the donkeys for later conversations about Jesus riding into town on a donkey before He is crucified. Later in life, I hope that Chip learns to pick up on this symbolism in the Bible but in other literature as well. In addition, we can then point out donkeys and recall these stories when we visit petting zoos etc.
Animals: Chip loves animals and can make most animal sounds. So pointing out these animals that are in the story (lambs, cows, etc.) has helped Chip engage in the story more than if we left out their presence. We also discuss how crazy it is that they baby Jesus was born next to animals! My hope is that this will lay a foundation to later discuss how humble the birth of Jesus was.
These are a few things that we have found to be helpful. However, we are still learning! What are some practices that you have done to help your toddler learn about the Bible? Please share so we can learn from one another!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The authors, illustrators, or publishers of these titles have no idea who I am. In addition, I will not receive any money or gold stars if you purchase these books from the links above.