Children love stories. Our kids never tire of hearing chronicles from our family history, or tales about their favorite heroes and heroines, or stories about the wondrous miracles that the Almighty God has done. Sharing stories with the next generation is one of life’s greatest pleasures and privileges!
The stories that we tell our kids matter.
Stories shape our child’s entire worldview, perspective and outlook on life. They teach our kids who they are, where they come from, and how to respond to the world around them. They also help them understand how to relate to other people and how to respond in new or challenging situations.
All stories contain spiritual lessons and convey moral values, whether they are religious in nature or not. That’s why it’s so important to read to our children each day and share positive, inspirational stories with them – particularly biblical stories that will help them grow in their knowledge and relationship with God!
According to Psalm 78:1-5, storytelling should not just be something that we squeeze into our schedules – it should be an important priority in our family’s lives! Sharing stories about what God has done in our lives (through personal stories and praises) and in the lives of His people (from the Bible) is a biblical mandate.
God commands us to stay rooted in His Word by listening to His teachings. He also tells us to share the things that we learn with our children. Through storytelling, God creates a spiritual legacy that honors His faithfulness to His people from generation to generation.
My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
Things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders He has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
Which He commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
So the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born,
And they in turn would tell their children. – Psalm 78:1-5
Of course, becoming a master Bible story-teller to young children is not without its challenges!
One challenge that we face with preschoolers is finding books that help us convey key Bible stories in a way that our kids can easily understand. Here are a few things to look for when evaluating biblical books for toddlers and young children:
What stories does the book contain?
Some books focus on a particular story or passage – others contain several key stories from the Bible. Strive to build a library for your child that will introduce them to key stories from both the Old and New Testament!
What message does the story convey?
Each story should clearly convey a Bible lesson that you can explore more deeply through discussion and illustration with your child.
What type of language do the stories use?
Read the story aloud if possible to make sure the prose is enjoyable and age-appropriate for your child without losing the biblical message.
Are the illustrations appropriate for young children?
The younger your child, the more important the illustrations become, since a child who cannot read will be intently focused on the images as they listen to your words or flip through the book! Make sure that the images are not too dark or scary!
Are biblical references provided?
The references enable us to read and study the story in our own Bibles before reading it to our children!
Is the book durable?
While traditional hardcover and paperback books work well with older children and calm kids, board books with extra-thick pages and coated covers are designed to stand up to the wear and tear of toddlers and very young active kids!
Another challenge we face is learning how to hold the interest of our young audience. If your child is more of a talker than a listener or has trouble sitting still, here are a few ways to hold their attention:
Don’t just read the story – act it out!
Clearly convey the emotions and feelings being depicted in the story by varying the intonation in your voice. Use body language to catch and hold their attention.
Incorporate props into the story whenever possible.
For instance, your kid’s stuffed animals make the perfect backdrop for a story about Noah’s Ark!
Involve your child in the action.
Have them interact with the book by pointing out key words in the illustrations or ask them questions about the story.
A book that’s designed to help us successfully share eight cherished Bible stories with toddlers is The Beginner’s Bible for Little Ones. This vibrant board book is perfect for introducing our youngest ones to God’s Word through simple, engaging text and beautiful, vibrant illustrations.
One feature that I particularly like about this book is its sturdy padded design. The Beginner’s Bible for Little Ones is built to withstand the wear and tear of even the roughest and toughest of youngsters!
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What’s your favorite Bible story to share with your children and why? Do you have any tips for holding your children’s interest during storytelling time that other parents would find useful? Please share your stories and ideas in the comments – our readers would love to hear them!
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