Updated: Feb 22
So, maybe you have stories to share similar to mine. Have you tried teaching the Bible to your kids and either are they disinterested or is your entire family fighting before you are even 2 minutes through the lesson? These are the best ways we found to make family devotion time interactive and fun!
Our most favorite is to allow the kids to act out the scene after you have read the lesson. We used a children’s storybook Bible to read the lesson and then acted the lesson out. Not only does this create good listeners, but it is so entertaining and reinforces the lesson as they have to really learn the content in order to act it out. If your kids fight over who gets to do which role - it’s fine, let them each do the main role by acting it out more than once (again, a win-win because everyone stays happy and this reinforces the lesson yet again). Involve props if you want to. We had a dress up bin that we kept in the living room that included a lot of really random articles of clothing, a shield, and a sword. The kids will enjoy using the costumes and props. Allow the acting to be interactive - if you are reading about how a man went into the river to wash, have the actor or actress go jump in the bathtub. If you are acting out the story of Jesus calming the storm, have everyone blow hard and then the “wind” would die down after Jesus calmed the storm. Have the Israelites cross the Red Sea using blankets to represent the water that is parted so that the Israelites can walk across on dry land. You can also pretend your couch is one of the fishing boats. If you need more parts than are in your family, use stuffed animals or toys as part of the participants or each person can have more than one role. Two recommended Storybook Bibles: The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories
Use some of their toys to act out the Bible lesson. One examples is to build the city of Jericho with blocks or legos and then have dolls march around the city and then upon the seventh time, have them scream and blow horns (which can just be blowing through their rolled up hand) to knock the city down. You can also act out the Israelites following God around in the pillar of cloud by gathering some cotton balls and gluing them together or make a pillar of fire using some tissue paper and construction paper. The Israelites can be represented by doll house figures, lego men, Littlest Pet Shop characters, or any other small dolls. It was great fun to act out Noah’s ark and use stuffed animals to fill the ark. We used plastic animals and dinosaurs in addition to stuffed animals to fill the ark (our couch) and gave my kids a good visual about how the ark would have been crowded.
If you are trying to teach your kids some Scripture memory, practice reciting the verse while doing different motions (march, hop, clap, skip, etc.) or using different voices (whisper, robot voice, silly voice, singing voice, etc.). I suggest one verse a week - more than that is overwhelming.
Why not involve some praise and worship into your family worship time? Our family always made creating music a family affair. When the kids were really little, we banged sticks together for rhythm sticks, tapped an old oatmeal container for a drum, and even shook shaker eggs made using plastic eggs, rice, and tape. The family can sing and play their “instruments.” We chose easy to remember songs such as: Awesome God; God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty; Shout to the Lord; Mighty is our God, etc. Motions increase the fun - these don’t have to be formal motions that you learned in Sunday School but can just be things that you are family makes up to make the worship time more engaging.
While you are reviewing the Bible story, have your kids draw it out on paper with crayons or markers. Your kids can also draw out their prayer requests if you are taking prayer requests to pray over as a family. It always worked best for us if we hosted family devotions at the same time every night. Our favorite time was after dinner and baths but before bed. However, as our family has grown and changed, we’ve had to find other times - mornings over breakfast worked well for us also.
If you want a devotional book to guide you through devotions, here are some devotional books that I can personally recommend:
Jesus Calling for Kids: 365 Devotions for Kids by Sarah Young
One Year of Dinner Table Devotions by Nancy Guthrie
Indescribable 100 Devotions about God and Science by Louie Giglio
Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God by Marty Machowski
Josh McDowell’s Youth Devotions or Josh McDowell’s Family Devotions