Assorted Ideas for Memorizing Verses (Part 1)
Below are several different ideas that you can use in your Sunday school classroom to help the children have fun while practicing their weekly Bible verses.
AND AROUND WE GO
by Bryce Klaput, Coast Community Church
Have all the kids sit in a line or a circle (it does not matter what you pick, as long as they are in some order). Write the verse on the board, and after practicing a few times, remove it. Pick one child as the starting point. Have each child say one word from the verse, starting with the first word and going to the end. If any child does not know his or her word, the entire class has to start over from the beginning. If you have more words than children, keep going around the room saying the verse more than once.
READ AND MEMORIZE
Have the children follow along as you read the verse, then ask for volunteers to then take turns reading the verse from their Bibles. Have the kids close their Bibles and recite the verse from memory.
Read the verse together several times, then write the verse on the board. Say the verse together as a class, erase a word or two and say the verse again. Continue in this manner until the words are all erased.
BIBLE VERSE HANGMAN
With short verses play the "hangman" game. After one of the kids is able to say the verse correctly, have everyone look it up in their own Bibles.
THE FOUR "W" QUESTIONS
Have the children look up the verse in their Bibles, then practice saying it several times. Then have them close their Bible and answer who, what, why and when.
CATCH THAT VERSE
You will need a soft ball, a rolled up sock, or a beanbag. Have the kids look up the verse in their Bibles and read it several times. Then form a circle and give one kid the ball. The child that catches the ball says the verse, then tosses the ball to someone else in the circle, who will then say the verse. Repeat enough times so everyone has a chance to say the verse.
MY PART IS COMING
Have the kids sit in a circle, and call out one name. That child will say the first part of the verse. The child to his or her left (clockwise) must say the second part of the verse, and the child to his or her left (the third child) must say the reference. The process involves at least three children—one for each the first portion of the verse, the second portion of the verse, and the reference. Do this several times so everyone has a chance to say part of the verse.
READ, MEMORIZE, AND DISCUSS
Have the kids find the verse in their Bibles, and read it several times out loud. Have them close their eyes and try to say the verse again. Discuss the meaning of this verse with the children.
Give each child a slip of paper with the verse scrambled. Have the kids unscramble the verse and rewrite it the correct way. Treats can be given to all who get it right.
(Great for Preschool) To help memorize the verse, assign hand symbols to the words and phrases. For example, walking fingers on your palm can symbolize sheep, cup your ears for listen, place hands around mouth for voice, etc. After saying the verse several times with the symbols, see how well the kids can say the verse by themselves while watching you do the hand symbols.
SING THE VERSE
(Great for Preschool) Practice saying the verse out loud several times, then have the kids sing the verse to God in praise and thanksgiving.
Before class write each word of the verse on separate index cards. Say the verse together as a group several times. Divide the kids into two teams. Have a race to see which team can put the cards in order so the verse reads correctly in the shortest amount of time.
MUSICAL MEMORY VERSE
For this activity you will need a CD player, CD, and a bean bag or a pair of rolled up socks. Have the children stand in a circle. Instruct them to gently toss the bean bag while the music is playing. When the music stops, the child holding the bean bag will say the verse.
READ, WRITE, DRAW
Have the children look the verse up in their Bibles. Read it together several times. Have them copy the verse to a blank sheet of paper. Under the verse have them draw a picture about the verse.
BACK AND FORTH
Divide the kids up into two groups. Have the two groups on opposite sides of the room. Taking turns have each group recite the verse. As soon as the first group finishes the second group should begin reciting the verse. Go back and forth reciting the verse several times.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE CIRCLE
Have the children sit in a circle, and select one child to start the game. That child must say the first book of the Bible, and going clockwise, the child the to left says the next book and so on. Instruct the children that if they do not know the book on their turn, they can say pass and the next child to the left can try. You can also time the kids to see how fast they can name all the books in this fashion, and even set a quicker goal to see if they can reach it. The child that finishes can start the next round.
FIND IT AND RECEIVE IT
(Suitable for Preschool) Write each word of the verse and the reference on a separate index card. Then hide the cards around the room, but so the kids can find them easily. Show the children a blank card so they will know what to look for, and tell them how many cards in all they need to find. (In this case, there will be 13 cards.) Once they find all of the cards, read the verse again slowly. Then, go word by word, giving the children time to find each corresponding card, and placing it on a table so the entire verse is in the correct order. When finished, have the children read the memory verse again using the cards.
(Great for Preschool) Choose short or long verses depending on the age and ability of your class. Have the kids repeat the verse and reference several times but each time using a different voice. For example they can repeat the verse using the voice of a baby, a robot, a gorilla, or a chipmunk. They will have fun creating the different voices while learning the verse at the same time.
For long verses, write the entire verse on the board and have the children read it together. Then begin by erasing some of the words, for example the word "the" or all words with only three letters etc. Have the children read the verse again inserting the missing words from memory. Then, erase a few more words having them recite the verse from both the remaining portions on the board and their memories. Continue in this manner until all the words are erased and the children are reciting the verse entirely from memory.
WHAT'S MISSING A TO Z
Same as above, only remove words according to the alphabet. Remove words that start with the letter "A" first, then words starting with "B", then "C" and so on until all the words are removed.
A VERSE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
(Great for Preschool) Read the verse together several times. Go around the room and ask children to share their thoughts on the verse; what does it mean to them? How might we apply it to our lives today? Ask the children to read or say the verse several times during the next week.
THE WORD GOES HERE
Write the entire verse on the board, but in the place of a few key words, leave a blank space. Write these key words on index cards and shuffle them. Meanwhile, the kids should read the complete verse quietly from their Bibles. After they have read the verse several times, they should close their Bibles. Next, randomly show the cards one at a time and have the kids tell you where that word should go. Tape each word where the students say until the verse is correctly completed. When the verse is complete, read it aloud with the children.
WORTHY OF POINTS
Form two or three teams. Explain that everyone in each team must say the memory verse and reference correctly and in unison. Each team can earn up to 100 points each time they do so. As each team recites the verse together, have someone listen carefully, and award up to the full 100 points depending on how well they do. If there is hesitation, deduct a few points. If not everyone is able to say it correctly, deduct some more points. If they do not say it in perfect unison, deduct yet more points. Then, give the next team a chance. Do this several times, totaling the points as you go. As the children learn the verse and do better each time they will also earn more points. The team with the most points at the end of a predetermined number of rounds is the winner.
Divide the class into two teams. The challenge is for each team to outdo the other in saying the memory verse in a creative way. The teacher will lead one team, and a helper lead the other team. Teams alternate saying the verse and its reference. Example: The leader of team 1 will have his/her kids say the verse while hopping on one foot. The leader of team 2 will respond by having the kids say the verse while clapping after each word. Team 1 then says the verse while turning around in circles. Team 2 says the verse while doing the twist, and so on. There really is no winner, but the kids will have a lot of fun, and they will unknowingly memorize the verse.
For verses with fifteen or less words, write each word on a separate index card. Write the book of the Bible and the verse on separate cards too. Use masking tape to lightly tape each card in random order on a wall. Then, without using their Bibles, have the kids take turns telling the teacher to move one card, or to exchange the place of two cards until the verse is in the correct order. Only one move or swap can be made for each turn. Even if one child knows the verse very well, this activity will involve everyone in the challenge.
TWO GREAT VERSES
Select two short but related verses. Divide the class into two teams and choose a leader for each team. Assign the first verse to one team, and the second verse to the other. Leaders will help the team members memorize their verse and reference to get ready for the challenge. When ready, teams will alternate saying their verse and reference in unison. As soon as one team is finished, the second team should start, going back and forth. Continue this way, going faster and faster until everyone from each team can recite their verse accurately without hesitation. Then, switch the verses around and start over. When finished, everyone will have memorized both verses.
Print each word of the memory verse on a separate slip of paper. Insert one slip of paper inside one balloon. Blow up All of the balloons and tie closed. Lay the balloons on the floor in a large open area of the room. Instruct the children to form a circle around the balloons, and on the count of three have the kids stomp on the balloons with their feet until all of them are popped. (SAFETY NOTE: Children are not to pick up any slips of paper until instructed.) After all the balloons are popped, have the children pick up the slips of paper and work together to arrange the words of the memory verse in the correct order as fast as possible.
For a fun filled activity, write the verse the kids are memorizing on several squares of of fun foam. Bring a large flat pan or tray and and fill it with about an inch or so of water. Have the squares floating in the water, and let the kids arrange them so that the verse is in order. To show the miracle of Jesus walking on water, use the Floating Footprint craft idea. Click here
Having a pool party? Make up an extra long verse and let the kids put it together in the pool.
MEMORY VERSE BASKETBALL
by Dian Mazzei
Before class, obtain a soft ball and a large, empty, round trash container. Read the verse aloud and have the class repeat it several times from memory. Line up the kids. Before handing each child the ball, he or she must say the memory verse correctly. If the child does so, he or she can shoot the basketball. If the child fails to repeat the verse correctly, he or she goes to the end of the line. You can also play teams.In this case, the chance to repeat the verse alternates between the two teams. To make the game slightly more competitive keep track of how many baskets each team has scored.