Thursday, May 14, 2015

Scripture Study Ideas for Toddlers (& Older Children)

This is our "scripture basket".  It sits on the floor of my bedroom next to a sheepskin rug. Each morning my two younger boys (age 5 and 2) come into our room and pick any book from this basket to "read" for their personal scripture study.  They spend at least 10 minutes doing so.

This is, by far, my favorite scripture book to read to my 2 year old right now.
Here is a picture of the inside.  What I love about this book is that it is big (about 11x14) and it has colorful, bright pictures and very few words on each page.  This makes it so easy to keep my son's attention. When we are able, we spend time in the pictures. For example, in the above photo I would ask him things such as: "What animals do you see?" "Let's count the giraffes, zebras, etc." "Can you find the polar bears?"  He loves this book!
Here's a look at the inside of one of the board books you can see in the front of our scripture basket. I discovered these right after my youngest was born. They are board books and I love the italicized action instruction. Plus, they are short and simple stories. This is still greatly enjoyed by my 2 year old and now he is able to actually do all of the actions himself.
I have this set of Book of Mormon readers. I bought the curriculum that these books belong to a couple of years ago.  I didn't enjoy the curriculum but I love these books.  They are like Bob Books but for the scriptures (see pic of inside below).  They increase in difficulty.  This is the first one.  The beginning books are just right for my 5 year old to read all by himself during personal scripture study time.

Here's a look at a few of the other books in the basket.  I have multiple books from each of these sets.
Here's a look inside the scripture readers.  Again, this is the first in the series.  They increase in difficulty.
Here are the rest of their scripture books on their bookshelf.  These are all books that I read to them.  We have really enjoyed all of these with the exception of the middle 4 (My Book of Mormon Storybook to The Toddlers Bedtime Story Book).  Those are just okay.
Now these are the scriptures I have done with my boys since my oldest was a baby (he will be 8 in June). I don't know if the Church sells these (this way) anymore but they are an expanded form of the spiral gospel art book.  It covers Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Church History. See below for a close up.
The front of each sheet has a beautiful picture on it. I face the picture toward the children and have them focus on it while I read the back (see below).

On the back of each card, there is a scripture reference and then a long summary of what the picture/scripture depicts. Underneath the long summary is a shorter summary.  When my boys are young, when we get home late, or when they are really tired, I read the shorter summary.  Most nights, I read the longer story.  This method of scripture study has withstood the test of time.
I found this book at a used book sale a few months ago and it has been our regular family scripture book since then.  It recounts the Book of Mormon in story form and is very well done.  It has enabled my 5 year old and 7 year old to really picture the stories in the Book of Mormon.  There are no pictures, just words, and both my 5 and 7 year old sit attentive, focused, and engaged through each chapter.
This is my latest discovery. It contains the actual text from the Book of Mormon and each excerpt is accompanied by a Lego depiction.  (I heard that this book was put out by a family in order to help pay for the boys' missions.  I don't know if this is true but either way it is a really good book.)  This has been perfect for my almost 8 year old to read and my 5 year old loves to sit and look at the pictures!
I want each of my boys to read the Book of Mormon in its entirety before they are baptized.  It is important to me that they don't just get baptized because they turn 8 but because they truly believe the things they are covenanting to do.  I gave my oldest the choice of reading The Brick of Mormon or the actual Book of Mormon and he has chosen the actual scripture.

I doodle in my scriptures and he was inspired by this (he LOVES to draw).
Here's a look at one his pages.
I also a keep a scripture study/Sunday bin.  Everything in it I use on occasion to bring the scriptures to life or to make them hands-on.
This is a book I ordered the PDF for on Etsy.  I have volume 1 and 2. 
Here is one of the pages inside.  I use this during Sacrament meeting at church but I also use it when I tell them scripture stories.  We "act out" the story.  It took time to make it (cutting, laminating, getting it spiral bound, and adding Velcro) but it's done now and was well worth it. 

This is a felt story for Jonah and the Whale but I have felt stories for quite a few scripture stories (Noah's Ark, etc.) I either make them or buy them.
I purchased this game for $1 from The Dollar Tree.  It's fun to use to tell the story but also to work on vocabulary development (animal names) and counting/numbers.
I also have magnet stories for quite a few scripture stories.  Noah's Ark, Nephi and the Brass Plates, and The Jaradites to name a few.  I also either buy or make these.
And finally, here's one of my topic binders.  I have two 3" binders where I keep file folder games, felt, magnet board stories, The Friend articles, arts & crafts, etc.  I keep them in sheet protectors by subject.  When we are studying a specific topic, preparing for Family Home Evening, or when I teach in Primary it is easy to find activities for any topic.  I have used this method for years and it is wonderful!
We also work in our Bible Books (I forgot to take an updated photo). But here's the link to an old post.

To summarize, when studying scriptures with children I like to try and make scripture study fun, engaging, and switch things up.  That is why I have so many variations of similar topics.

I have a lot more but this post is already crazy long!

Hope this was helpful!