I have found myself lately telling everyone I know about a couple of books that we super love. I have even bought multiple copies for multiple kiddos this year for Christmas! I wanted to go ahead and share them because I think you'll love them too!
First is the Hide & Seek Devotional by Stephen Elkins.
This book contains 52 Bible stories, devotions, verses, prayers, and a link for a free audio download of Scripture memory songs children will love singing along to. Narrated by Kirk Cameron, this full-length album reinforces the Bible verses and helps children commit them to memory.
So there are 52 "lessons". There are 26 verses from the new testament, one for every letter of the alphabet. The same goes for the old testament.
Each letter has a verse, a story, a song, a practical application, and a prayer. The story and the song can both be downloaded once you purchase the book. It's full of so much good stuff!
One of my favorite parts: it ends every story pointing us to check out scripture... and we do!
So that's the rundown of the book. Now, this is how we use it: We do one "letter" a week. We'll start with the verse and the story on Sunday. We'll go over the practical application, too, though the kids are pretty fidgety by the time we get there because we spend time practicing and repeating the verse. But then, we just spend the rest of the week going back and talking about the story and application. That's it! It's so simple, but it really sinks in!
What I love about our "system" is that we drive each topic into the ground so it sticks! We aren't just moving along from one verse/story/application to the next every day. The songs are catchy and the topics are easy to talk about. We have the kids repeat their verse each day on their chore chart and the applications just naturally come up in conversations because the book does a great job of applying scripture and it's meaning into the lives of children (and adults who are humbled at the simple lessons that we are still working on!).
Ultimately, I want my kids to know and love scripture. But even more, I want spiritual topics to be natural and easy-- just a part of life! I want my kids to know that God's Word is relevant outside of the 5-10 minute window that we sit down at night to read the Bible. Using the scripture and the book's applications it's so easy to talk about the lessons in our day to day life. Most of these conversations lasted probably 2-3 minutes. Nothing lengthy, nothing super deep- just natural conversation. Even when I think that the Bible verse is a weird one to have kids memorize, it turns out that we all needed to apply it to our lives that week.
I love hearing my kids repeat the verses they've memorized. And I love watching my kids make connections from scripture on their lives. Remember Jackson's birthday survey? He made a list of things he wanted to be when he grew up. And then he said, "But God might have a different plan, so I'll just have to see!" This topic came from the scripture:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the . Isaiah 55:8-9Throughout that week, we had talked about God's plans and Derek and I were able to share personal examples from when God's plans turns out different that our own, but how God's plan is always best! We talked about the jobs Derek wanted to have when he grew up, but things worked out differently. And we shared with them about how we thought we weren't going to have any more babies and God surprised us with Caroline! Without the book to give us the scripture and provide the application, I'm not sure we would have just thought to openly share our personal stories and testimony of God working in our lives, just like we want God to work in their lives.
Let it be said, I'm far from a perfect, spiritual mom! In fact, we've yet to be super consistent ever since Caroline has been born. Honestly, the kids miss it and have asked for it. We need to start it up again on a more permanent basis! This book is far from God-breathed words of scripture, as well. However, I'm continually trying to be the best mom (in lots of areas) and this is how and what I've utilized to help teach my kids about the Bible. You may have this same book and utilize it completely differently and that's okay! We have found it to be super helpful to get in the Word with our kids.
The publisher recommends this book for ages 4-8. Jackson is 6, Isabelle is 3. When we started doing this book this fall, Isabelle surpassed all my expectations in terms of participation, scripture memory, and understanding basic principles. She stays right on track with Jackson in memorization. She doesn't always make the application connection, but she tries. With her, I just love that she talks and asks questions about the Bible and it's stories. I often simplify some the application, so this would be a great for older kids too.
Okay, moving on to the next book! This is a book that I won during a fun little giveaway at MOPS this fall when the speaker did an Oprah-inspired giveaway of her favorite ways to talk about and teach spirituality to our kiddos.
It's called The Big God Story by Michelle Anthony. Here's what Amazon has to say:
In this fast-paced journey through the Old and New Testaments, kids will hear the stories of the Garden of Eden, the great Flood, the Promised Land, the kings of Israel, the holy baby born in a stable, and some unlikely friends who started a new church. Each part of the narrative highlights a different aspect of God’s faithfulness to us. Ultimately, readers will see how they fit into God’s big story of love when they write their names in the book on the last page! This beautiful picture book also teaches children about God’s promise of a Redeemer through the visual portrayal of a glowing star and the insightful connections back to the person of Jesus on almost every page.
What it boils down to, is that this book is 32 pages that probably takes 5 minutes to read. It starts with creation, talks about Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah and then proceeds to Jesus birth, his life, his crucifixion and resurrection and then his return. I suppose I should have mentioned this was a spoiler alert!
What I love about this book is that it presents God's story all in one setting-- from the beginning to the end. It highlights how everything in the Bible has to do with God's plan to send his son and for us to accept his gift of salvation. The ends with an invitation to become a part of God's Big Story, too!
Again, the publisher recommends this book for ages 4-8. Isabelle loves this book and she is excited to give it to her cousin! I'd say it's a perfect book to read at any age! Ages 0-99+.
I have two copies of each of these books wrapped under my tree. I know they aren't as thrilling as opening new toys (and don't worry, I threw in some toys for the recipients, too!) but I'm just so excited to think that these tools can be used to teach and mold the spiritual lives of some of my most favorite little people!
What books and/or resources do you use with your kiddos?
(This post isn't sponsored and these aren't affiliated links. I just love these books and wanted to share! All images are from Amazon.)