Showing posts with label Children's Bibles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children's Bibles. Show all posts

Apr 4, 2011

Reading the "Real Bible"

My oldest is just 5 years old, but she often asks me read the "real Bible" to her. By this she means a Bible translation, not a Bible storybook. I'm all for this. Although she may not understand the "real Bible" thoroughly, I believe hearing it now instills it in her heart - a conclusion I've come to after talking to adults who had the Bible read to them as children.

There are inherent difficulties in doing this, of course. The Bible is full of mature themes, and at this point I'd rather not have to answer questions like "What's a virgin?" So a certain amount of preparation or editing-as-I-read is necessary.

In addition, while she sometimes sits next to me on the couch and listens to me read, I find she's actually more attentive if she has some busy work - like coloring - to do while I read.

Lately, we've been reading from The Family Reading Bible, which, although better suited to slightly older children on up through teens, has made my job a little easier. This is an ordinary NIV Bible, but with sidebars containing very short commentary and questions for parents to ask. There are also reading plans in the back to help you work your way through the Bible, or certain portions of it. Last Christmas, we followed the Christmas reading plan, which gave us background on what the Old Testament says about Christ, as well as taking us through the New Testament Christmas story. Now we're working on the Easter reading plan.

Whether you use an aid like The Family Reading Bible or whatever "real Bible" you have laying around, why not start reading it out loud to your kids today?

Jul 29, 2010

Teaching Children About Jesus' Return

Jesus' return to earth is one of the most important things we can talk to our children about. The Bible tells us many people - even believers - will be deceived just before that time (Matt. 13:6, 22). Those who regularly read the Bible and have a personal relationship with God will have a harder time being deceived - but what about little children? What can we teach them now to help protect them should they live through the end times?

Age appropriateness is important here. For example, I wouldn't tell most preschoolers the earth as we know it could come to an end at any time. This would frighten and upset many young kids. And while it's important for parents to consider their child's maturity before teaching them some things about the end times, it's also vital to not wait too long. This sort of thing is easy to put off, but children hunger for this kind of knowledge. If you're having trouble bringing up the topic, consider reading a children's Bible that includes the book of Revelation, like The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Big Picture Bible Storybook.

Here are some ideas of what to begin teaching your kids when they are about preschool or kindergarten age. As they grow older, you can add more details from the Bible:

* Some day, Jesus will return to earth. (Matt. 13:26)

* Jesus said nobody knows when he will return except the Father. Therefore, we should be wary of those who try to pinpoint the date. (Matt. 13: 32)

* The Bible says Jesus will return the way he left after his resurrection. The Bible says Jesus floated into the sky, past the clouds, and disappeared into Heaven, so when he returns, he will float down from the sky. (Acts 1:9-11)

* The Bible says everyone on earth will see Jesus' return. (Rev. 1:7)

* The Bible also says the lights in the sky will go dark before Jesus returns. (Matt. 24:29-30)



Apr 29, 2010

Comparing Children's Bibles

Sometimes choosing a Bible for your child can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of choices out there; how do you pick the best Bible for your child? To make the job easier, over at Christian Children's Book Review I compiled a comparison chart for kids' Bibles. See Bibles listed by suggested age, and compare features, all in one .PDF file. There are even links so you can see full reviews of the Bibles, then purchase them at Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com.

P.S. And while you're over there, check out the other freebies, too, including an ebook about helping your kids learn to love books.


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Jan 6, 2010

Vintage Children's Records...FREE!


I have fond memories of using my own children's record player and listening to a wide variety of LPs. (Not only did they give me a great appreciation of good music and storytelling, they enhanced my imagination and taught me to listen well.) My favorites were classic stories, dramatized and including music. Sadly, I've had poor luck finding anything like this for my preschooler - and the few modern CDs I've purchased her have had such low-quality music I don't even let her listen to them.

But a few days ago, I discovered Kiddie Records Weekly. This website offers free downloads or streaming audio of a fantastic selection of vintage children's records, including Bible stories and classic tales like Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf, The Barber of Seville, Paul Bunyan, The Trojan Horse, Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hatches the Egg, Thumbelina, Uncle Remus' stories, Johnny Appleseed, and so much more - performed by the likes of Danny Kaye, Lionel Barrymore, Rosemary Clooney, Gene Autry, Claude Rains, Roy Rodgers, and many other talented performers of the past. They don't make them like this anymore!

And if you don't want to bother with downloading or streaming files, you can also purchase CDs. Check it out!

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Dec 2, 2009

What My Kids Are Reading

Ask my four year old what her favorite things are, and she will, without hesitation say "Books!" Our 13 month old son understands books are wonderful (they must be, or his sister wouldn't be looking at them all the time), but he's not quite ready to be read to. Instead, he tends to grab the pages and not let me turn them. No matter, he is on his way to a love of books by looking some of their pictures and by playing with what I call "gadget" books (with wheels or electronic buttons).

It truly is never too early to start reading to children.

Here are a few books my kids are loving right now. I think your kids would enjoy them, too:

The Christmas Troll by Eugene H. Peterson. An imaginative story about not putting God inside a box. It's been the impetuous for many interesting discussions with our preschooler.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones. This is our children's Bible of choice right now. I love it because it shows how all of the Bible - even familiar Old Testament stories - point to Jesus. And my daughter loves it because the pictures interest her and the author uses language that's readily accessible without dumbing things down.

Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales. My preschooler has adored this book for well over a year. She simply loves the adventures of Tom Kitten, the Bad Mice, Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddleduck and so many others - and the old fashioned text is a great vocabulary expander. The illustrations in this particular edition are the best quality I've seen (some reproductions of Potter's work are blurry or muddy).

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Our preschooler loves this book, and asks for it again and again. Our edition has only black and white line drawings, but I've linked to an edition with color illustrations.

Wheelie Board Books: Digger. Like a lot of little boys, our 13 month old loves anything with wheels. So in our effort to get him interested in reading, we bought him this great board book that doubles as a toy - because it has actual, working wheels on it. There's a whole series of these books, but they should only be used with supervision, because if they happen to fall apart, the wheel parts could be a choking hazard.

Bible Stories for Tiny Tots by Kobus Sandenbuergh and Theresa Hills. This is a super simple Bible storybook with bright, bold images.

V Tech Infant Learning Rhyme and Discover Book. We don't actually own this one yet, but plan to. I've seen it in stores and think it's a good mix of book and gadget - another way to make books that much more interesting to our young son.


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Nov 11, 2009

Time Alone with God: A Habit

I recently read Noel Piper's book Treasuring God in Our Traditions (a book that's less about offering ideas for creating traditions in the family and more about explaining why traditions are important) and was struck by one passage where the author describes a daily tradition her daughter embraced:
"...she picks up her Bible and goes to a cozy corner by herself to read and pray. She knows we won't interrupt her during this quarter hour. This habit with God's Word began for her, as it did for her brothers, before she could read. Like them, she listened to Bible stories from cassettes or CDs. It takes only a few seconds of thought to realize that it is smarter to get a three-year-old started with good lifetime habits than to spring a new regimen on a teenager."
Hmmm...Hard to argue with that one. Even though I've always read a children's Bible with my daughter, and even though we encourage her to pray on her own, as well as with the family, we haven't talked much about "being alone with God."

So for the past week, I've been giving my four year old "Quiet Time with God." We picked a comfortable spot (I envisioned making a canopy area in her room, but she chose a simple children's couch in the living room) and I told her to use that time to talk to God and look at one of her Bible story books. I promised I wouldn't both her, and neither would her brother.

Admittedly, this Quiet Time doesn't last long. She tends to say a prayer, flip through a book, and then proclaim, "I'm done!" Not because she doesn't like the concept, but because she's not quite sure what to do with the time yet.

This Christmas, we hope to give her a kid-friendly CD player she can use during this Quiet Time. (The only CD player in our house is wall-mounted in the kitchen.) I also recall seeing Bible stories on CD at the Dollar Tree and hope to purchase some to help in this effort. Amazon also offers some Bible story downloads for young children, starting at 99 cents a file. Surprisingly, I could only find one website offering free audio downloads of children's Bible stories that I could burn to disc: StoryNory.

For older children who can read independently, I'd make sure they have a Bible simple enough they can truly read it. For tweens and teens, I highly recommend a study Bible, which offers background information that can greatly aid your child's understanding of the Bible.

And don't forget to allow your child to see you having your own Quiet Time with God.

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Oct 6, 2009

Choosing Children's Bibles

When I was a child, I had one Bible that served me throughout my entire childhood until I got my first "real" Bible. At that time, there were only a handful of children's Bibles available on the market. But today, there's a plethora of children's Bibles - and you may be surprised when I say I think your child needs more than one.

As a Christian mother, one of your most important tasks is to teach your children about God. You can do this by reading your own Bible out loud, but this shouldn't be the only tool you use. Children greatly enjoy having their own Bible, and small children are more likely to comprehend what's being read if the Bible contains kid-friendly pictures. Yet even if you read a children's Bible to your kids every day, they may soon become weary of it.

Instead, I suggest keeping at least three age-appropriate children's Bibles for your child. That way you can rotate them, and the stories (and their meaning) stay more fresh.

When to Start Reading the Bible
It is never too early to begin reading the Bible to your child. Studies show that infants who are read to develop better language skills - and why read them only secular stories? After all, isn't the Bible a lot more important than nursery rhymes, the alphabet, colors, and shapes?

For babies and toddlers, choose Bible storybooks with colorful and engaging pictures of animals and children. Very small children often prefer very small books that are easy for them to hold, but the most important thing Bible storybooks can do for this age group is introduce them to the major stories of the Bible, in addition to actual Bible verses.

A few Bibles for this age group that I recommend:
Little One's Bible Verses by Stephen Elkins
The Busy Bible by Judy Starks
My Very Own Bible by Betty Fletcher
Bible Stories for Tiny Tots by Kobus Sandenbuergh


Preschoolers
Children between the ages of three and five still usually want excellent, colorful illustrations, so look for something with pictures on every page. The Bible stories for this age group can be up to four pages long, depending upon how long your child's attention span is. Bibles that have easy questions for you to ask your child can be helpful.

Some recommended Bibles for this age group:
My Read and Ryhme Story Bible by Crystal Bowman, Cindy Kenney, and Christiane Engel
The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm
The Beginner's Bible by Kelly Pulley
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Gradeschoolers
As your child begins to read on her own, choose at least one Bible with easy sentences. Many Bible storybooks for this age group also include activities to make learning more fun. When your child is ready for a Bible without pictures, choose something with modern language (like the NIV), which will increase your child's comprehension.

Recommended Bibles for gradeschoolers:
The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor


Tweens and Teens
Children in this age group must be actively involved in choosing their Bibles, so make some selections ahead of time, then let your child make the final choices. The best Bibles for tweens and teens are "study Bibles," which contain useful commentary and notes to help your child understand the Bible more thoroughly.

Some recommended Bibles for tweens and teens:
The Adventure Bible (NIV) published by Zonderkidz
The Student Bible (NRSV) published by Zondervan

For More About Children's Bibles...
including tips for buying them and reviews of the best on the market, be sure to check out my blog Christian Children's Book Review.

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