5 Tips for a Successful Bible Time with Kids

I have a confession.

After completing the Play Through the Bible series I did a terrible job at having a consistent Bible time with my kids. We started and stopped, and started and stopped again. I had lofty goals and didn’t see them through. Most of the time I just plain didn’t know where to start.

Have you found yourself in this place too?

You know it’s important. The desire is there. But the days keep slipping through your fingers without these goals being met.

I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there sometimes. However, over the past few months I feel like I’ve finally landed on something that works.

We haven’t been perfect, but we have consistently had a morning Bible time together, opening the doors for lots of great spiritual conversations.

Today, I want to share with you how we made it work.

#1 Find a time that works for you

Does it seem like everyone else in the world starts their days with the picturesque scene of kids delightfully learning about God’s world around the breakfast table, but at that hour of the day your brain feels more like your gray bowl of oatmeal?

Say adios morning Bible time. 

Seriously, let it go and be you. Maybe your family works better during a quiet hour when the baby is napping or in the evening when dad is home to lend a hand.

Set a time, embrace it, and then stick to it.

#2 Keep it simple

Like, ridiculously simple.

At least for me, it is so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I can never make Bible time “enough.” Wiggly kids, lack of time, and unmet plans leave me feeling discouraged and I eventually give up.

I finally realized that something small is better than nothing at all. In fact, it’s actually quite freeing and opens the doors for continued, yet unplanned, conversation.

And I’m not talking about a “simple” lesson plan or a “simple” list of things to get out of the Bible time. Oh no. We started with one short Bible story at breakfast.

That’s. It. 

No lesson plans. No crafts. No memory verses, songs, or lengthy discussions.

We slowly got in the habit of daily starting our day with the Bible. We built our discipline muscle. The kids started to expect the story and look forward to it. We would miss a day or two and then quickly pick it back up again because we could feel it missing.

We stayed here for a long time. We didn’t read just one story for a week and declare it mastered, starting to add new elements. This one story was our home base and we stayed and made it nice and cozy until we were able to venture out and add more.

Your home base doesn’t have to be a Bible storybook. It could be a song you sing, a simple prayer, or a chapter from Psalms. Whatever feels like home for your family in the stage of life you are in currently.

#3 Slowly add more to your Bible time

After camping out in your home base for as long as it takes to build that habit (no rushing!), slowly add in other elements to your Bible time.

Don’t feel tempted to add in a bunch of things all at once now that you’re feeling confident in your new habit. Pride comes before the fall, yeah? Make a list of the things you would *someday* like to accomplish and pick one.

Introduce that one thing and give it time to become part of the routine. If, at any time or during any particular day, your new routine starts to feel overwhelming – go back to your home base. Do just that one thing and pick back up the new the next day or the next week.

I cannot emphasize enough to take it nice and slow with no pressure. We have been doing this for at least two months now and this is what our morning Bible time looks like (with a 5 and almost 2 year old):

  • Read Bible story and briefly discuss/answer 5 year old’s questions
  • Read a few pages from God’s Wisdom for Little Boys (awesome book by the way!)
  • About ten minutes of listening to and learning a hymn

That’s all. And if we don’t do it all, that’s okay. If we miss a day, we just pick right back up where we left off. Eventually I’d like to add more, but for now we will probably be hanging out here for quite a while.

Bonus tip: when you do get to the point of adding more, do them on a rotation, instead of trying to do everything every day.

#4 Roll with the punches

It’s easy to feel discouraged when things aren’t going how you expected.

There are going to be days when your kids are more interested in the squirrel out the window than the story you are reading or would rather run off and play than sing worship songs. Life will get crazy and you will skip a day here and even a week there.

Just keep going, keep coming back to it, keep building the habit. Hold your plans loosely and keep an eye toward the future.

Remember, Bible time is not the ultimate measure of your godly parenting ability. 

While it is definitely important to set a precedence for digging into God’s Word and going to him with prayer and worship, you have many more hours in the day. Hours where just walking along side your children through the daily tasks of life can speak more into their hearts and souls than you’d ever imagine.

One of my favorite parenting passages is Deuteronomy 6:5-9…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Let go of having the “perfect” moment and fill your home with the love of God and talk about him daily.

#5 Cover your goals in prayer

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Don’t try and do this on your own strength. Go to God for his grace and wisdom. Spend time praying over your goals. Spend time praying for the spiritual maturity of your children.

Even with the simple steps we’ve discussed here, we will just be turning our wheels without God establishing our steps.

Take the next step

So, friend, if you found yourself knowing that having Bible time with your kids is important, but you just weren’t sure where to start, I hope you have a much clearer plan now!

If you are ready to take the next step and you could still use a little guidance – I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a FREE printable worksheet to help you plan out a Bible time that works for you.

Enter your information below to grab the free Bible Time with Kids Planning Worksheet AND gain access to the ever growing library of free printables!

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5 Great Resources for Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament

8-reasons-to-teach-your-kids-the-old-testament

In my last post, I gave 8 reasons why I think you should be studying the Old Testament – both personally and with your kids.

This week, I want to quickly pass on five great resources for doing just that!

These resources will cover a wide range of ages and levels, so you should be able to find something for everyone in your family!

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1. Play Through The Bible

Let’s start with the itty bitty kiddos. Play Through the Bible is the very first series I did on my blog. It is, to date, the most popular resource I have available.

When my oldest was a toddler I wanted to start being intentional about teaching him the Bible, but couldn’t find the kind of resource I was looking for. So, I created it myself!

Play Through the Bible takes tots and preschoolers through an entire children’s Bible, covering 25 of the major stories of the Bible. It meets them right where they are with super simple crafts, hands-on activities, and kid friendly discussions.

I am currently revamping the entire series and cannot wait to release it as an eBook in Summer 2017! However, you can still get the entire original series here.

 

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline2. Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

I wanted to share one more resource you can find here on Steadfast Family before I move on to some others.

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is a unique kids devotional that I released this past summer. If you and your kids are looking for a super fun way to introduce yourself to some of the main stories of the Old Testament, this will be perfect for you!

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Read more about the devotional here!

3. Future Flying Saucers Bible Lessons

The Future Flying Saucers blog has a ton of hands-on, kid friend, and just plain awesome Bible lessons. On this page you will find at least 39 Old Testament specific lessons and a lot of other lessons and ideas as well!

4. The Bible Road Trip

Okay, so I haven’t used this resource myself, but I have heard nothing but good things about it! It is described on the website like this,

Bible Road Trip is an exciting journey which places you and your children in the driver’s seat! Aimed at youth grades PreK-12, Bible Road Trip will allow your family to survey the Bible cover-to-cover in 3 years ~ with breaks for summer. There are notebooking pages available for the Lower Grammar (Grades 1-3), Upper Grammar (Grades 4-6) and Dialectic (Grades 7-9) levels. Students at the Rhetoric level (Grades 10-12) will keep their own notebooks and be busy sharing their information with others!

I absolutely love how the whole family can partake in this Bible curriculum together! I highly recommend checking it out!

5. Intoxicated on Life Resources

Intoxicated on Life is another fabulous resource for all things family discipleship. There are so many great materials on this website, but they also have multiple resources specifically for studying the Old Testament. Pop on over and check it out!

Am I missing anything? What is your favorite resource for studying the Old Testament?

 

 

 

 

The ULTIMATE Guide to Using Biblehub.com

 

The ULTIMATE Guide to Using Biblehub.com In Your Bible Study-3

Have you ever heard of Biblehub.com? I mentioned it in last week’s post on my favorite Bible study tools, but this week I wanted to expand on all the awesomeness this website has to offer! If you’ve ever wondered how to do an in-depth word study, topical study, or read Biblical commentaries when you don’t have a huge library at your disposal – this post is for you!

They explain their mission clearly on the Bible hub website:

Our mission is best summarized as follows:

1) Increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online.

2) Provide free access to Bible study tools in many languages.

3) Promote the Gospel of Christ through the learning, study and application of God’s word.

Now that sounds like a worthwhile mission to me!

So, grab your Bible, your notebook, and some pens and pencils. Then, open up a browser window and head on over to biblehub.com and let’s get started!

1. Navigate to a passage

Lets start out with something simple – finding a passage!

Biblehub Tutorial

To find a passage, you can use the drop down menus at the top of the page, but the easiest thing to do is just type what you are looking for into the search box in the top middle of the screen. Hit enter/return and you’ll be brought to…

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… your passage!

Biblehub tutorial

Now, you can use the blue arrows on the side of the passage name or the circles on the outermost sides of the page to navigate to the previous and next chapters.

 

2. Search for key words

You can also use the search bar to search for key words, names, places, etc.

Biblehub Tutorial-11

Just type in the word(s) you want to search for and it will pop up with a list of verses!

Biblehub Tutorial-12

 

3. Find parallel verses and cross references

There are a few ways to find the page with this information…

Biblehub Tutorial

 

The first way is to type in the exact verse that you want to look up, both chapter and verse. If you just put the chapter number this will not work, it will take you to the page that shows you the full chapter.

Biblehub Tutorial-2

That will bring you right to this page! Again, you can use the blue arrows to navigate forward and backward through the passage. However, before we get into all the goodies located here, lets look at a few more ways to find it.

Biblehub Tutorial-3

For the second way, maybe you want to view the parallel versions of the whole chapter. This time, type the chapter you are looking for in the search bar and it will bring you to this familiar page. Next, click on the word “parallel” in the second (white) menu bar.

Biblehub Tutorial-4

It will assume that you want to see verse one, so to get back to the whole chapter, click the chapter link in the breadcrumb trail in the upper left corner.

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Voila! You can now read the whole chapter in different versions side by side.

Okay, lets look at one more way…

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For this third way, perhaps you have a general idea of where the verse is, but you don’t know the exact reference. First, search for the book and chapter in the search bar. Use the blue arrows to navigate around if you didn’t get to the chapter you were thinking of. Then, scan through the chapter until you find the verse you were looking for. To see the parallel verses, click on the blue number at the beginning of the verse.

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Yay! We are back here once again! Lets have a look around…

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Over to the left we have a nice long list of parallel verses.

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To the right you’ll find the verse in context. If you start scrolling down right below it you will see a list of cross references.

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If you continue to scroll down, underneath the cross references you will find the “Treasury of Scripture” which will break the verse down and find more related verses. These two sections are so handy to have when studying the Bible!

 

4. Do a word study

If you’ve always heard about the awesome practice of doing a word study but was never quite sure how to go about it – this section is for you! Biblehub.com makes it super easy to do an in depth word study.

Biblehub Tutorial-2

First, use the search bar to navigate to the verse that has the word you’d like to study.

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Like previously, there are multiple ways you can go about this, but this way is my favorite. Once, you’ve got your verse, click on the word “lexicon” in the white menu bar.

Biblehub Tutorial-14

Clicking that will pop you over to this handy little chart. It has the verse broken down along with the Greek (or Hebrew), the transliteration (aka the way we would spell the Greek word with our alphabet),  link to Strong’s, and a brief definition and origin. If you scroll down you will find a little more info at the bottom as well.

Next, you are going to want to find your chosen word in the verse and click on the blue Strong’s number in the fourth column.

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That will bring you to this lovely page! There is a lot of information here that you can explore, but I’ll highlight a couple of my favorite things.

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Over on the left side of the page you will find word definitions from different sources. My favorite is the HELPS Word-studies. It gives an in-depth explanation of the word in a way that is usually pretty simple to understand.

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Over on the right side of the page is a concordance listing. Here, you can find other verses that use the same word in the original language. This can be of great help to further understand the meaning that the author was intending when he used that word.

 

5. Use a concordance to do a topical study

Studying the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse is often the best way to really dig into the text. However, it can also be fruitful to do a topical study. When you take a topic like “love” or “justice” and follow it through the whole Bible your understanding can greatly increase.

There are a couple ways you can begin your topical study. One easy way is to enter the topic you are studying in the search bar, like we did in tutorial #3, bringing up a list of verses with that word in them. However, if you are looking for more information, try scrolling down to the “bible study tools” section.

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Once you are there, click on “concordance.” (“Topical” will get you the same place)

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Then, enter your topic in the “concordance search” box.

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That will bring you to the “topical search” page where it will break your topic down into sub-categories. Scroll through and click what you would like.

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That will bring you to this page which is full of info! You’ll find entries from dictionaries and encyclopedias, information on the original languages, books from their library, thesaurus and concordance entries, and a lit of subtopics and related topics. Whew! All that info right at your fingertips!

 

6. Access commentaries

Alright, now let’s look at some ways to access the many commentaries you can find on bible hub!

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First, there is a drop down menu on the top of the page that lists the commentaries and some different topics you can explore.

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For a more complete list of their commentary options, scroll down to the “bible study tools” section and click on “commentary.”

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That will bring you to this awesome “Bible Commentaries” page. If you scroll down you will find over 50 commentaries broken down into various categories and by book of the Bible.

Okay – let’s look at one more way to get to the commentaries. This time for if you are looking for commentary on a specific passage.

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Enter the passage you are looking for into the search bar on the main page. Then, click on the “comment” button in the white menu bar.

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That will bring up a list of all the commentaries they have starting with the first verse in that passage. Use the blue arrows on the left and right of the page to navigate forward and backward in the passage.

 

7. Chapter Outline

Sometimes it can be really helpful to have an overview of the chapter you are studying. Here is a quick way to find one!

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Using the search bar, search for the passage you want to outline. Then, on the bottom blue menu bar, find the little bitty outline icon (it looks like three rows of a dot followed by a line) and give it a click.

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Then, you’ll get a page with lists of the people and places and an outline of the passage. Everything is conveniently a clickable link, so you can easily find more information on the different topics.

 

8. Atlases

Using atlases to actually be able to see where the people and stories you are reading about are taking place can be very helpful. Let’s look at two ways to find some!

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On the main page, scroll down to the “bible study tools” section and click “atlas.”

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Type a name, location, or key word in the “atlas search” box. (I searched for “Moses”)

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Scroll through the results that pop up to find what you are needing…

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…and you’ll get a page with a nice map, plus a bunch of other helpful info!

Here’s one other quick way to get to an atlas…

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For this, just enter your passage into the search bar and right to the left you will see a couple related maps pop up! Click on any of them to bring up the page with all the additional information.

9. Parallel Gospels

If you’ve never used a parallel gospel, it is pretty neat! It takes the accounts in the gospels, arranges them in chronological order, and lines them up so you can see the same stories side by side. It’s especially helpful when you are studying a passage in one of the gospels and you want to see the same account from the other gospel writers.

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Just scroll down on the main page to the “Bible Study Tools” section and click on “Par Gospels.”

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That will bring you to this page. If you scroll down…

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…you will find the chronological list of the contents of the gospels.  Click on the topic you are looking for…

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…and it will bring up a page with the passages in any of the gospels they are found in!

10. Bible history timeline, Library of Christian works, Weights and Measures and More!

There is lots more to explore on Bible hub, but here’s a last few quick things!

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This timeline comes in handy! Especially when you are trying to sort out the order of events in the Old Testament. If you click on “timeline” under “Bible Study Tools” it will take you to a complete timeline of the Bible.

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huge resource they have is their library of Christian works! From the early church fathers, to Bible studies, to church history, and much more! Just click on “library” in the “Bible Study Tools” section to see the whole collection.

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I thought this was a neat feature – a list of weights, measures, etc. It’s a handy list for any unfamiliar unit of measure that you may run across in your studying.

Well, that’s all I have! There is definitely more you can discover on Bible hub, but hopefully that will get you started! Do you want to see more Bible study tutorials? Just let me know what you need in the comments below!

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family.

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

 

 

 

My Favorite Bible Study Tools: 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

My Favorite Bible Study Tools_ 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

As Summer begins to come to a close and the new rhythms and routines of Fall come near, I am realizing that I have done a terrible job with personal Bible study over the last few months. So, as I prepare to get myself back in gear and (re)start some good habits, I want to share with you my favorite Bible study tools! They are nothing terribly groundbreaking, but they do a great job of helping you really dig into your Bible.

Here they are…

#1 A simple notebook

What kind doesn’t really matter. It could be a plain composition notebook, a journal, a sketchbook, or whatever. It just needs to provide a place to write down notes, prayers, verses and quotes, doodles, and whatever else you can think of jotting down.

#2 Colored pencils

I like using colored pencils over pens to write in my Bible or notebook because they are not quite as permanent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the color bleeding through to the other side of your page. I just recently bought this Sargent set for my son as a step up from Crayola. They are really nice and I think I’m going to have to swipe them for my Bible study. 🙂

#3 Commentaries, word studies, Bible atlas, concordance, etc

While we do have quite a few commentaries and the like, I’m going to be honest, they don’t leave the shelf all too often. That is because my absolute favorite resource for studying the Bible is found in a super convenient place – online!

I love biblehub.com for pretty much anything you could need for studying the Bible. Commentaries, word studies, maps, concordance, different translations, devotionals – they have it all!

If you are looking to take your Bible study up a notch, I highly recommend giving this website a try.

#4 The Bible

Of course! Can’t have a Bible study without one of these important little books. 😉 For the longest time I used an NIV Bible until it was finally falling apart like crazy and I bought a new one. I had seen how popular Bible journaling was and I loved the journaling Bibles. So, I decided to buy an ESV Journaling Bible. I love it!

I’m definitely not one of those super amazing artistic Bible journalers, but I love having extra space for making little doodles or writing notes.

#5 A Bible Study Guide

Now, I definitely don’t think a devotional or Bible study guide is at all necessary to have a great personal Bible study. However, it can be helpful to have a plan and a little help as you dig into the text. Right now my personal favorite Bible study devotional is the “Journal and Doodle Through the Bible” series by Kari Denker. If you are looking for something new and fun that will also dig you deep into the text – look no further. Go grab her free Ephesians study right now! (I also reviewed Kari’s studies right here.)

Well, those are some of my favorite tools for studying the Bible. Are you getting ready to start a new study this fall? What are some of your favorite tools?

 

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Hero Training! Kid’s Character Challenge {Week 3 – Creative}

Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

It’s week three of Hero Training and we are having fun learning about how to be creative!

If you haven’t read the introduction to the series yet, check it out here (it has all the instructions and info you’ll need).

Get past weeks here: week one (helpful), week two (self-controlled)

I hope you have fun doing the challenges and, don’t forget, if you’re joining in be sure to use the hashtag #herotrainingcc on instagram and twitter!

Lesson

 

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

Hero Trait: Creative

Definition: Doing something in a new way.

Super Hero: Iron Man (because Tony Stark is an inventor who is always creating new things)

Memory Verse: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Examples of Jesus Displaying this Trait:

  • God created the whole world! (Genesis 1:1)
  • Jesus heals a blind man with mud. (John 9:1-12)
  • Miracle of a coin in the fish’s mouth. (Matthew 17:26-27)

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some ways that Jesus was/is creative?
  • How are you creative?
  • Why do you think it is good for us to be creative?
  • Have you ever solved a problem with a creative solution?

Notes:

  • This week we mainly focused on God’s creativity shown through creating the world (which Jesus was a part of – see John 1:1) – although He did have some creative miracles! We talked about how God is the most creative of anyone, because he created everything!
  • We enjoy a lot of artistic type creative endeavors, but this week we also explored how we can use creativity in lots of areas, including solving problems.
  • Every week we listen to the song “Jesus is my Superhero” to remember who is the best super hero of them all! We talk about how Jesus is the best hero because he saved us and about how he is the only one who can do all the hero traits perfectly. I found this awesome version (Lego stop motion!) of the song on youtube and K loved it!

Challenges

Challenge #1

Memorize this week’s verse!

Challenge #2

Build an invention/creation out of recycling materials (we always keep a box of good materials in the craft area).

Challenge #3

Brainstorm five ways to solve a problem you have.

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

 

This was K’s first time trying out brainstorming. We used his white board easel and tried to solve the problem of his messy room! I suggested #5 and he thought it was hilarious. Number 6 was all his idea! haha 🙂

Challenge #4

Learn about the days of creation.

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

First we read the creation story in the Rhyme Bible Storybook. Then, I made six square on a piece of paper and K drew a picture for each day of creation. You could also try something off of this page.

Challenge #5

Do an art project.

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

 

 

K chose painting! We set up a big piece of paper outside since it was a beautiful day!

Note: Have a child that isn’t a big fan of art? Substitute any type of creative project! 

Character Badge

Once you’ve completed all the challenges you’ve earned another character badge! Find the tutorial here to make your own super hero cape and character badges.

 

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge

If you come up with another way of giving “badges” (or something similar) to keep track of your child’s progress – I’d love to see it! I’d also love to see how you complete the challenges! Tag your post with #herotrainingcc on Instagram or Twitter!

Well, that’s it for week two of Hero Training! If you join in, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how it is going in the comments!

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Hero Training! Character Challenge for Kids {Week #1 HELPFUL}

Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

Yay! It’s the first challenge in the Hero Training series! To start off the series, we will begin with the character trait helpful.

If you haven’t read the introduction to the series yet, check it out here (it has all the instructions and info you’ll need).

I hope you have fun doing the challenges and, don’t forget, if you’re joining in be sure to use the hashtag #herotrainingcc on instagram and twitter!

Lesson

Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

Hero Trait: Helpful

Definition: Serving others with a joyful heart

Super Hero: Robin (because he helps Batman)

Memory Verse: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give then to receive.” (Acts 20:35 NIV)

Examples of Jesus Displaying this Trait:

  • Washing the disciples feet (John 13:1-17)
  • Calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41)
  • Healing the blind man (John 9:1-12)
  • Christ as a servant (Philippians 2:1-18)

Discussion Questions:

  • When was a time that you were helpful?
  • What is something that someone has done to help you?
  • Can you think of a time that Jesus was helpful?
  • How can you be more helpful?

Notes:

  • For the purpose of this character trait, we made it to essentially be synonymous with serving. So, any story where Jesus is serving someone would be perfect to talk about (there are lots to choose from!).
  • Since K is only 3, I just summarized the passages we talked about for him. You can also read the story from a children’s bible if you can find it in one. Or, if your child is older, go ahead and read directly from a Bible.
  • This week’s verse is the longest one! It helped us to make up some motions to go with it. Also, since K is pretty young, I did shorten it just a little bit for him.
  • Not every superhero fits perfectly with their character trait – but Robin sure does! As Batman’s right hand man he is a great example of being a helper!
  • Every week we listen to the song “Jesus is my Superhero” to remember who is the best super hero of them all! We talk about how Jesus is the best hero because he saved us and about how he is the only one who can do all the hero traits perfectly. I found this awesome version (Lego stop motion!) of the song on youtube and K loved it!

Challenges

Challenge #1

Memorize this week’s verse!

Challenge #2

Help with a chore in the house that you don’t normally do.

Challenge #3

Help cook a meal or bake a treat.

Challenge #4

Do something helpful in your neighborhood.

Challenge #5

Helping Hands Craft

Helping Hands Craft -- Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

Supplies Needed:

Directions:

Choose one of your pieces of paper to be your heart and cut it out. Glue the heart to the other piece of paper. Trace your child’s hands onto the sides of the heart (alternately, trace and cut out of another piece of paper or make handprints with paint). Write “my hands are for helping” on the top. Let your child decorate more if they want.

Character Badge

If you followed the tutorial here and made your own super hero cape and character badges, your child will have earned his or her first badge once all the challenges are complete!

Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

I seriously do not know what is up with his crazy smiles lately! 🙂

Hero Training: Kid's Character Challenge www.simplelifemessylife.com

If you come up with another way of giving “badges” (or something similar) to keep track of your child’s progress – I’d love to see it! I’d also love to see how you complete the challenges! Tag your post with #herotrainingcc on Instagram or Twitter!

Well, that’s it for week one of Hero Training! If you join in, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how it is going in the comments!

Affiliate links included.

*INTRODUCING* Hero Training: A Character Challenge for Kids

I am so excited to introduce this new series!

Ever since I started planning out what we would be doing for our homeschool preschool this year, I knew I wanted to do some intentional character training. One of the things I appreciate about Charlotte Mason’s methods are the heavy emphasis on using the early years less for formal academics and more for character building.

So, I started looking for a character building program. I found a few things and I already had this book, but I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for.

I knew I wanted something fun, something that would “speak my son’s language.” I knew I didn’t really want something that was a comprehensive behavior modification system (i.e. where behavior is constantly monitored for character traits and given points or deductions). I wanted something that would introduce the character trait and give some ideas for how to practice that trait.

So (much like I did when I was looking for a toddler bible curriculum and couldn’t find anything), I created my own!

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge.

Introducing!

Hero Training!
Character Challenge for Kids

My son loves super heroes! Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, Hulk, Thor – you name the super hero, he’s all about it!

Honestly, I love them too. And a plethora of other sci-fi, fantasy, and other nerdy goodness. 🙂

So, I created this fun kid’s character challenge with a super hero theme!

The lesson plans will begin next week and continue for eight weeks. At the end of the series, I will compile all the lessons into an ebook!

Here’s what you need to know to get started

First, you’re going to want to decide how you are going to go about completing the challenges. Each week you will find the following elements:

Lesson

The lesson will have all the information you need to teach your child the character trait:

  • A child-friendly definition of the character trait
  • A super-hero to go along with that trait
  • A verse or story that shows Jesus displaying the week’s trait
  • Discussion questions

You can do the whole lesson on one day, or break it up and complete it over the week.

Memory Verse

Each week will have a memory verse that corresponds to that week’s character trait. I tried to pick simple verses that both younger and older children will be able to commit to memory. We try to work on our memory verses in the morning at breakfast time – find what works for you!

Challenges

Each week will have five challenges. The first challenge (or the last, depending on how you want to look at it) will always be memorizing the weekly verse. The next three challenges will vary weekly. Then, the last challenge will always be some type of craft or art project.

Now, if you’re not the crafty type, or the craft is something your child is not interested in – never fear! There is a simple solution. Have the last challenge be a “kid’s choice” challenge. Basically, just ask your child to come up with a way they can display the week’s character trait.

Once you’ve got a feel for how the challenges are going to go, you’re going to want to get the training chart and the memory verse cards here. Then, once you’ve printed them out, find a good spot to hang up your chart! When your child completes a challenge he or she can mark off a square. We used some superhero stickers.

IMG_8190

Also, tune in later this week for a tutorial on another super fun way to document your child’s progress through the challenges – a (no-sew) super hero cape with character badges.

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge.

This series is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait!

Hero Training! Kid's Character Challenge.

Affiliate links included.

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible – REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Today I am sharing with you one of my new favorite things. I’d like to introduce you to my new favorite Bible studies, Journal and Doodle Through the Bible!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

I had been in a bit of a Bible study rut when I came across these intriguing studies. I had never done anything quite like them!

Created by Kari Denker, of the Stone Soup for Five blog, these studies combine simple drawing, journaling, and in depth Bible study for a devotional experience that will knock your socks off!

Here’s five reasons why I love the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies…

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

1. They are Perfectly Planned for You

Each study is broken into individual sections with tasks separated by checklists. I don’t have to waste any time or brain power trying to figure out what to do next because it is already all set-up for me! This is perfect for my quiet time, which tends to be frequently interrupted by my darling children. I can easily put down the study and pick right back up where I left off!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

2. They Dig Deep into God’s Word

I’m not going to lie, I am really picky about my Bible studies and devotionals. There is just so much out there that is fluffy and cheesy! The Journal and Doodle Studies do a great job at helping you dig deep into the passage you are studying. They cover context, key words, reflection, application, and more.

3. They are Created to Be Memorable

Oftentimes while reading my Bible I find myself finishing a passage and then promptly forgetting everything I just read. These studies are amazing for helping you slow down and really reflect on what you are reading. Plus, the doodling seems to activate another area of your brain, helping you to better remember what you are studying.

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

4. They Are Great for all Ability Levels

I am a terrible artist. Seriously. I have drawing abilities about on par with a seven year old (and that may be a diss on many a seven year old’s abilities). At first I was a little hesitant to do a Bible study like this, because I thought it wouldn’t work for me and my limited abilities. I’m glad I decided to give it a try because I couldn’t have been more wrong! Kari does a great job guiding you through the doodling, complete with lots of examples! Perfection is discouraged and mistakes are welcome. Of course, if you are more artistically inclined, the sky is the limit with these studies!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

5. They are Fun!

While I do thoroughly enjoy a good theological book or a detailed commentary, I love how fun this type of study is! It is so nice to take break from child wrangling and have a little fun with my Bible study during my quiet time.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? I have good news! Kari is generously to offering a free copy of her latest study pack to one lucky Simple Life. Messy Life. reader!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

The winner will receive a digital download (PDF) of the special launch week package – Journal and Doodle studies for both 1st and 2nd Corinthians, plus 4 doodle reference sheets! (If you don’t want to take a chance on winning, go grab the pack now before launch week is over – the studies are very reasonably priced!)

Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Insta-Study: A Simple Bible Study through the Book of Ephesians

insta study

Struggling to be consistent in reading the Word? I sure am! And when I do sit down and read, I often walk away feeling like I didn’t retain a single word! Then, a few weeks ago I read about a method where you read the same book over and over again for a long period of time in order to truly immerse yourself into what you’re reading. I decided to give it a try and the thought of an Instagram based Bible study popped in my brain. I love love love Instagram and think it could be a really fun place to hold a Bible study!

Starting next Monday we will begin reading the book of Ephesians – one chapter a day (Sundays off). I will post a reminder and a reading prompt or idea each day. We can discuss what we’ve read in the comments or you can post your insights to your own Instagram account using the hashtag #instastudyephesians. The plan is to read Ephesians four weeks in a row, trying to focus on different aspects of the book each week.

I’m hoping to find a little Bible study community and accountability over in Instagram land – would anyone like to join me? Hop on over to Instagram and drop me a comment letting me know you’re in! I’d love to have you! Just click HERE! 🙂