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Two Hands-On Ways to Teach Children Bible Stories

 

Here are two more hands-on, Montessori-based strategies for family catechesis; this time, we look at teaching children Bible stories.

 

by Heidi Indahl

Intentional-FamilyIn an earlier column I shared a few ways that we incorporate play into our family catechesis. We started doing this when my oldest child was just starting school and I had mostly preschool-aged children. Now I have only one preschooler, with mostly school-aged children (and a baby on the way), and the ways we incorporate play into our family formation have changed.

In honor of National Bible Week (link takes you to USCCB resources), here are two activities for teaching Bible stories to slightly older children.

Bible Storytelling Prop Box

This activity is as simple as it sounds. We have a plastic shoe box with a variety of props for the re-telling of biblical events. In our box we have blue felt for water, generic peg people (generic so that they can be Mary as easily as Noah), a selection of animals, a few buildings, and common symbols such as a plastic piece of wheat. The buildings are actually unpainted wooden bird houses from a craft/hobby store. Everything else was collected around our house.

The box grows and changes, and I often find someone racing off to our blocks or another toy for just the prop they need for the story they are telling.

Older children retell stories to younger children, younger children retell stories to even younger children, and groups work together to build the “master” reproduction of Noah’s Ark.

Tell Me About Jesus Sentences

This activity actually started as a homeschool grammar lesson, but is rarely used for that purpose now. I created a set of word cards with people, places, and actions from Jesus’ life and we use them to write sentences telling about Jesus. Some sentences are serious, but others are a bit silly.

Since I created this activity for our school work, I color coded my word cards to correspond with what type of word they are (noun, verb, etc.). I like the colors because I can use the cards in different ways with different ages. If you want to make a custom set of cards it could definitely be done in black and white if the activity is not going to be used for enforcing grammar concepts.

Taking this idea further, you could create an Old Testament set or a saints set. If you want to take an easier route, the Life of Jesus set I designed is for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. There are additional lesson suggestions in the file, but I am only sharing because sometimes I know I like to NOT recreate the wheel if I don’t need to. Feel free to take this idea and make your own versions.

“The gentle and caring shepherd carefully protects the sheep inside the pasture.”

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Heidi has a professional background in education, with a Master's Degree in Instructional Design. In her spare time she enjoys taekwondo, gardening, knitting, and the occasional freelance writing or consulting job. She blogs about her Catholic family life at www.workandplaydaybyday.com

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