Fun Ways to Teach Kids about God

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Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)

Knowing the word of God is important. Teaching the next generation is equally important. But as any parent can testify, that can be challenging. When they are really young, their attention span is nonexistent. As they grow, rebellion can seek in a bit. But teaching our kids can be exciting and impactful. Nothing can replace the value of doing devotions and bible stories with our kids at bedtimes or after a breakfast meal. But sometimes we need to spice things up a bit. And that’s ok!

I’ve come up with a list of 12 activities that can help parents with children who are toddlers or teenagers. I’ve done them with kids of all ages and they are fun and they leave an imprint. You can make them as in depth and challenging as you’d like. Or you can keep them simple. Give them a try and have a blast! If you have other ideas, please comment on this post.

  1. Make a Fort
    • Build a fort out of anything safe around your house, whether inside or out.
    • Take time to share about how God protects them like forts were used to protect people
    • Bible verse: Psalm 18:2
  1. Balancing Act
    • Have your kids try to balance on several objects that are really difficult.
    • Then place your kids on something that is really easy to balance on.
    • Share about God’s word being a firm and steady foundation that we can stand on.
    • Bible verses: Matthew 7:24-27
  1. Trust Fall
    • Standing on an elevated platform or on the floor, have your child fall back into your arms. Repeat as long as they have fun.
    • Talk about how we can trust the Lord to catch us in uncertain times and especially when we’re afraid.
    • Bible verses: Psalm 84:12, 56:3, 31:14
  1. Being Blinded
    • Blindfold your kids and give them directions so they don’t run into things. Guide them around the house or outside.
    • Share about how the Lord leads us, especially when we don’t know what lies ahead of us in life.
    • Bible verses: Proverbs 3:5-6
  1. Water Act
    • You need to do this outside or in the bathtub. Fill a clear container with water. Then using food color, or a dark beverage like soda, pollute the water so that it’s no longer clear. Talk about how sin does that to our lives.
    • Then continue to fill the container with water again until the container is full of clear liquid. Talk about how Jesus, the living water, cleanses us from our sin and makes our lives clean again.
    • Bible verses: 1 John 1:7-9
  1. Tabernacle
    • Build a tabernacle in your yard similar to those that were constructed during the Feast of Tabernacles from Leviticus 23. You can make it out of anything really. A canopy works great. Dress it how with lights and more!
    • While sitting under the tabernacle, share about how Jesus walked among us and other ways that God wants to be with us (Holy Spirit, Temple, in the future, etc…).
    • Bible verses: John 1:1-14
  1. Treasure Hunt
    • Hide things all over the house or yard and have them look for them. They should be things that are valuable to them so they are even more motivated to find them.
    • After they’ve found everything, talk about how Jesus pursues us when we are lost and will never give up on us.
    • Bible verses: any of the stories from Luke 15
  1. Orchard
    • Go to a local orchard in season where you can find grape vines or fruit trees.
    • Use them as illustrations to talk about living a life that bears good fruit and how we depend on the vine (Jesus) to make that happen. If a branch gets cut off, it dies and doesn’t bear fruit.
    • Bible verses: John 15:4 and Galatians 5:22-23
  1. Dodge Ball
    • Have your kids try to get from one side of the house or yard, to the other, while you throw soft objects at them (parent therapyJ) and try not to get hit.
    • Then give them a shield of some kind and repeat the attempts. Talk about how much easier it is to defend yourself when you have a shield and how faith is that shield in life. Because to get from one end of life to the other, life will bombard us with a lot.
    • Bible verses: Ephesians 6:16 and 1 John 5:4
  1. Heavy Relay
    • Using a bucket or bag, have them race or just try to run. Each time, add another heavy object (books or rocks work well) until it becomes too heavy for them to run. Then empty the bag and have them run again.
    • Talk about how sin weighs us down in life but how Jesus wants to remove the weight from us.
    • Bible verses: Hebrews 12-1-2
  1. Dress Up
    • If you have girls, princess dress up works great. If boys, then it’d be a prince obviously. Same principle. After dress up, do a photoshoot.
    • The focus of this activity is to tell them about how they are princes or princesses of the King of Kings
    • Bible verses: 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 1 John 3:1
  1. Explore Nature
    • This can work anywhere from a back yard to hitting the trails. A camp trip works great too!
    • While in nature, point out all the amazing things that God has created for us to enjoy.
    • Bible verses: Creation story in Genesis 1, Psalm 95:4-5, Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20

My God, my Children, and Me

father-child-hand2I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting and how God looks at me as His child compared to how I see my own children. I had a friend of mine named Connor tell me, before my first daughter was born, that God was going to show me a lot about His feelings towards me through my experience in fatherhood. He was so right!  I’ve learned so much about grace, love, and sacrifice that I never really knew before. And since my second daughter has been born, it has only heightened my experience.

God has so many beautiful characteristics that I’ve been learning more about. And one of my favorites qualities has to be His patience. Lord knows I give Him opportunities every day to be patient with me. We all do right? We either wouldn’t be here, or our life would look very different, if He wasn’t a patient God. But have you ever wondered why? Why is God so patient with us? Why is He so patient with all the ‘bad’ people in the world? I Know I wouldn’t be nearly as patient with me as He is. And we certainly aren’t as patient with others as He is. Yet another reason why we would all make lousy gods.

I feel like being a parent has given me a unique insight into the realm of patience. (And all the parents in the world said, “Amen.”) Let’s face it, kids provide a lot off opportunities for us to grow in patience. Dinner time, nap time, clean up time, play time, road trips, and on and on. Our patience is tried. But this in not a wrap on children. This is more a comparison between us (as grown ups) and our children.

Have you ever watched your children from a place where they were completely unaware of your presence, just to see what they were going to do? There’s a situation, and your children are presented with a choice to do what was right or what was wrong. So you watch, hoping that they make the right choice. As a parent, there is an urge to intervene, always. The natural desire to steer our children in the right direction has been written on our hearts. But there are times when intervention is not the right course of action. There are times when a parent needs to observe, to hope, and to pray. Because our children need to learn to fly and apply the lessons they’ve been taught. Besides, obedience untested, is no obedience at all.

I would love to say that my kiddos pass the obedience test with flying colors, every time. But they’re human, just like us. I’d like to say I pass the test every time. But I don’t. And I imagine God, being our Father, observes us day in and day out. Sometimes He intervenes, and sometimes He doesn’t. But every time, He is watching, and hoping that we make the right choices.  This illustration has limits though; I get that. Since God knows everything that will ever happen, He already knows every choice we will ever make in life. (That’s both scary and extremely comforting!) Nothing we do is a surprise to Him. Unlike with human parents, hoping their children make the right choices, God already knows before the choice is even presented. Granted, there are times that parental intuition kicks in and you know what your kids are going to do or say before it happens. But that’s rare in comparison to an omniscient God.

I think God’s all-knowing nature makes His patience even greater. Think about it. If you knew all the mistakes your children were going to make, how much patience would it require for you to allow them to mess up and then to find their way back, guiding with care and love, just as our God does? You’d probably be like me; ready to jump in so that our children would have a mistake free life. You’d want to make the path to the good life obvious. You’d give them an instructions on how to live, how to relate to others, how to view themselves, and continually remind them of your love for them so they never forgot. You’d try to introduce them to people who’d be a good influence in their life. You’d give them all of their needs plus so much more. Sound familiar? This is exactly how God has reached down to humanity since the dawn of our existence.

As parents, these are the things we try to do. Only we operate with limited knowledge, limited experience, and not to mention, we’re all flawed. And even the best parents cannot lead their children into a fault free life. Why? Because even the best parents have faults. Parenting is trial and error. Parenting is like nothing else in the world. It’s so hard, and yet, it is so fun! I have two little girls, and they are amazing. They make me laugh. They make me want to cry. The can turn the hardest days around with a simple “I love you daddy.” They can frustrate me, but they also fill my heart with so much joy.

I think we have the same effect on our Heavenly Father. Don’t you think He longs to hear His children say. “I love you daddy”? There’s no doubt we frustrate Him, even though He’s already seen the road map of our lives. But His children are His treasure. You bring Him so much joy. He knows your screw ups. He knows your faults. Yet He died for you anyways. There is no length too far that God has not already gone for you and me. There is no list of bad choices that will make God lose his patience with you. His heart is for you. It always has been.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.

Psalm 103:8 (NASB)