Play Through the Bible
One of the goals I have, as a parent is to not only teach my children about God and familiarize them with His Word but to actually make the Bible come to life for them and to help them discover its truths in a very personal way.
I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that reading the Bible is “boring”. God’s Word is living and active, not stale or lifeless. So one of the means I am using to keep the Bible fun and exciting for my children is to incorporate it into their everyday play time.
Games, crafts, coloring, role playing, music and song . . . in our home every day is Sunday School or VBS. We don’t wait for Sunday morning or the annual VBS program. Instead of giving our children large doses of Bible fun once a week or once a year, we give them consistent little doses of Bible fun every day!
Sometimes I plan big exciting activities for them and we go all out with decorations, props, planned activities, and the whole works. But most of the time I keep it very simple, I focus on being very flexible, and I just try to tune in to the stories that my child is taking a special interest in at a given time and I build off of that.
On this site I am listing some of the different “Play Through the Bible” activities that we have done. You can use it to brainstorm ideas, if you like, but I would really encourage you to be creative and leave room for flexibility. If you really want the Bible to come to life for your own kids then playing through the Bible needs to be personalized and spontaneous, not scripted!
If you’re new to the idea of “Playing Through the Bible”, here are a few tips and ideas that can help you get started.
1) Invest in a Really Good Children’s Bible
I have tried a lot of different children’s Bibles and have found two that are my all-time favorites.
For very young children, I recommend the Kids Bible App Storybook (as well as the FREE Bible App that goes with it!)
For children who can keep a longer attention span and can sit through a story without constant page turning, I really recommend the Illustrated Children’s Bible. The pictures are absolutely amazing and the stories themselves go more in-depth than the average children’s Bible. It also includes a lot of the “minor” stories that most Children’s Bibles leave out.
2) Use Multiple Bible Resources
Hearing the same story told in different ways, and at different times, is a good way to really help your child discover the story. Different resources choose different points to draw out in the story, so using a variety of Bible resources can help your child gain a broader perspective of the entire story and its many details.
I would not recommend doing it all in one day, though. Hearing the same story over and over again can cause it to become redundant. Instead, use one or two ways to engage in the story one day, and a few other ways in the days that follow.
The goal is to keep it new, keep it fresh, and keep it exciting. The goal is to present the Bible stories in such a way that your child is left with the impression that there is always something new to discover in a story.
This is a beautiful gift that you can give to your child. If they can grow up with the impression that there is always something new to discover in a story, they will grow up with a love for studying the Scriptures, and the impression that there is always more that they can learn from God’s Word.
For a listing of my favorite Children’s Bible Resources visit my article:
Does Your Child Know Jesus?
3) Take Your Time
The Bible is a big book with lots of stories and can often make you feel like you need to hurry and work your way through it. But if you’re working with very young children they require a lot of repetition, which means going over the same story over and over again. Kids can spend days, weeks, sometimes even months on the same story, and that’s okay.
During our daily Bible reading times, I read through multiple stories with my children, but when it comes to playing through the Bible, I may offer suggestions, but ultimately I leave it to my child to decide which story they want to engage in at a given time.
4) Really Engage With Your Child
I know, you’re a busy parent with a lot on your plate. I am too! But the days you have with your children are numbered and the years will fly by so quickly so how can you afford not make time to engage with your child?!
Playing through the Bible with your child does not need to take up the majority of your day. The focus shouldn’t be on how much time you spend with your children but rather the quality of the time in which you are really engaging with them.
Set aside a specific time every day in which you will give your child your complete attention. No phone calls, no Internet or Facebook browsing, no distractions! Give your child a few minutes (at least) of undivided attention.
5) Encourage Your Child to Continue on Their Own
If you spend some time really engaging with your child and giving them your full, undivided attention, afterwards they should be content to go off and play on their own for a while.
They may not be so eager to play by themselves at first, but one thing I did early on was develop a habit of really engaging with them for a while and then afterwards telling them, “Mommy needs to go and work now, but you can ______” and I would follow up with an idea of something fun that they could go and do on their own.
Because we would do this consistently, they got used to the fact that mommy would play with them for a while and then it was their turn to continue playing on their own. Consistency is the key. If your child knows what to expect they will get used to this pattern and will be content to play on their own when it comes that time.
But this “going off and playing on their own” isn’t just so that mommy can go and get stuff done . . . even this is a key part in their development with long-term benefits. I want my children to grow up and be regular in keeping their own times with God and their own daily devotions, so I am starting to incorporate and develop this habit early on. While they are little we play through the Bible together and then they go off and engage in their own Bible play for a while. As they get older we will be doing Bible study together and then having them go off and do their own time of devotions or Bible study. In this way we are laying a foundation for developing good spiritual disciplines.
6) Remember That This is Worth Your Time
It can be difficult to come up with new ideas every day and rather exhausting at times to give this the creativity and enthusiasm is requires. Playing through the Bible can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. So let me just leave you with this word of encouragement . . .
In spite of all the work and effort it may take on your part, playing through the Bible with your children is a huge investment you are making that will reap benefits for years to come. It is well worth your time!
If you consider it worth your time to wash the dishes or spend hours cleaning the house or getting the laundry done (all of which will just “undo” themselves and need to be redone again in just a few minutes/hours) . . . then it is definitely worth your time to spend a few minutes each day with your child helping them to draw close to God and helping them develop spiritual disciplines that will last a lifetime and a relationship with Jesus that can endure for all of eternity.
Ready to have some fun?! Just click on any of the Bible stories in the right hand column of this page to see how we turned that story into “play-time” in our home.
Each story also has a link to a Pinterest board where you can find even more great ideas!
I hope our own experiences and activities can serve as an inspiration to you as you engage in your own Bible play with your children as well!