The children’s GraceLink quarterlies are wonderful resources that teach children about God’s grace.
But what if you want your children to go deeper into the Word of God and learn the fundamental doctrines of our church? What if your child has been bombarding you with questions that demonstrates he/she has a longing to dig deeper and learn more about God?
Remember as a child how excited you were about those Voice of Prophecy correspondence studies that you received in the mail and you could fill out and send back and get a new one?
Where do parents find resources like that today that could help you answer these burning questions your children have that the quarterly doesn’t always answer, the kind of resource where the Word of God is not laid out as a whole book, but offered in small progressive tranches or ‘doses’ appropriate for short attention spans, explained in simple, succinct language, allows for closer reading of the Bible and comes with an incentive to encourage further study?
I am happy to inform you that I went searching and I found a small treasury of resources which meet the criteria I just described.
The majority are not new resources. Some of them are sites some of you may probably know already. For those who don’t, start with these great finds. For my nonAdventist readers, you’ll notice that all are produced by the Adventist church and a few are heavily skewed to the denominational doctrines of the Adventist church. Most deal with Bible themes which are grace-based and are cross-denominational and so can be used by Sunday school parents and teachers as well.
Some resources like the first two are printable; the rest are online and will require screen time. All are child-friendly and safe, interactive, designed to spark your child’s interest and free of cost to you. They are highly shareable with the family, or if you are a Sabbath School class teacher or lead a Children’s Bible class at church, with your class.
If using the printable lessons, ensure you mark and return lessons to children quickly to keep them motivated. Go over the questions and answers during family times.
Here are the resources with links and some usable highlights you may need to know:
1. Bible Adventures for Young Readers
Available at the http://www.gcchildmin.org website, this Bible study set is a Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrine 101 for kids. The website described the resource as follows: “a creative, kid-friendly approach to the 28 fundamental beliefs, which will introduce children to the pillars of our faith. With its easy-to-understand format and interactive approach, children will quickly grasp the concepts and have fun learning.” There are 29 files in the set, including the cover. You must have Adobe.com PDF Reader to view the files.
2. Bible Explorers– a set of 30 lessons which introduce children to God and Jesus as our friends and reading the Bible. Lesson writers claim the study guides, which comes in three sets under different themes, will “draw students to read God’s Word more” and invite them to accept God’s gift of friendship, forgiveness and eternal life. Start with any of the sets. If you want children to learn about the Bible, you can begin with the lessons under the theme God Sent His Son to be My Friend, and work through the set progressively. An evaluation is provided at the end of each 10-lesson series to gauge children’s views on the value of the lessons to them and their readiness to proceed with further study. Use this to determine whether to go over a topic/lesson or advance to the next set of lessons.
Children will enjoy the short readable passages interspersed with an abundance of simply laid out graphics, the interactive lessons with lots of knowledge check points, allowing them to engage with the lesson by penciling in answers to a variety of quiz-style questions (think True and False items, circling, labelling, matching and short answer tasks) as they check Bible references. I found these resources at the General Conference website filed under Children Ministries. All lessons are Adobe.com pdf files and in black and white. Click here to download and print lessons.
3. Kids Zone from the Voice of Prophecy. The pioneering Bible correspondence course creators of the Voice of Prophecy (VOP) media ministry network have been creating bible studies and offering them through correspondence (mail) since 1942. Today, the VOP has a beautiful modern website from which it still offers comprehensive, life-changing and memorable Bible lessons for adults and kids. Kids Bible Info.com, a brightly coloured, child-friendly site offers a chockful of family resources you can access for health tips, stories, prayer requests, and games.
Head over to its Kids Zone page where you can choose from 14 Bible guides full of stories, games and activities that kids will love. Each Bible guide starts with a story from which a Biblical analogy and lesson is made. At the end of the lesson, kids will like the click-through quiz questions about the lesson.
However, if you hastily clicked on the free KidsZone to get some of the freebie guides, you will be disappointed if you live outside of the US and Canada. Free copies of the colourful printed guides are only available to kids in that region, once kids provide their parents’ email. International readers have an option of ordering the guides at a cost. When they are finished with each lesson, your kids can return them for a chance to receive a certificate with a gold seal, the site promises.
KidsZone is an excellent and exciting Bible learning resource you’re kids won’t be saying “Bo-o-o-ring” to. What are you waiting for? Start exploring!
4. My Place with Jesus is a children ministry of It is Written. It is the brain child of Jean Boonstra, the children ministry coordinator at It is Written and wife of Pastor Shawn Boonstra, speaker/ director of that popular tv ministry.
According to a message to parents displayed on the resource, “My Place With Jesus is a series of Internet based, interactive Bible studies just for kids! These 14 studies take the participant through many of the basic themes of the Christian faith. The lessons cover such topics as Creation, the Trinity and Heaven. These Bible lessons are designed primarily for children aged 7 – 12. However, with your help, much younger children will benefit from and enjoy the lessons also. This makes these lessons a valuable resource for the entire family.”
To get a close up of what the site offers, I decided to pay a visit. I had to sign up with a nickname and password. True to its word, the site collects very little personal details about your child, something parents are increasingly becoming concerned with.
A female host takes children through various adventures in a make-believe Paradise Valley where they make several stops along the path for Bible lessons and fun activities. For example, at our first stop, the host teaches about the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming. Using guided learning and a multisensory approach, users are actively engaged in doing, seeing, hearing activities such as checking scriptures while the host provides step by step explanations of the Bible lesson. Children click on a bobbing lamp which guides them to different tasks, in particular, to a short Scripture reference which is read aloud by a child’s voice when they click on “Listen”. At the end of the lesson, kids click on icons to answer questions about the lesson posed by the presenter. Cheers go up whenever the correct answer is selected; a beep and a red x indicates you have chosen a wrong answer. Users can press the pause button at any time, click on the host to have her repeat a question, use chances to check a scripture used in the lesson and time given to change an incorrect answer.
Realistic visuals, great video animations, movie-styled music and audio effects all come together to create a gamified Bible lesson which will give kids a video-game feel; the takeaway, however, is substantially greater than any video-game, as kids are sure to leave with a deeper understanding about Jesus and God’s Word because it was presented in such an age-appropriate and engaging way.
5. Let’s Explore. The Adventist Discovery Centre also offers an online course for children and youth called Let’s Explore. Designed for 9 to 14 year olds, the course follows the theme of Friendship with God. It promises fun animations and each lesson leads kids through the great Bible basics. “You will discover some very exciting things about God and your life,” the course writers claim.
To get started, you’ll need to set up a new account. I found this to be a quick process. You are asked to set a username and password, then provide your email address and your country details. After confirming your new account in your email, you are taken to the site. After clicking the enrol button at the bottom of the page, you are ready to embark on your discovery of Bible answers to questions such as whether we were created or evolved, Is the Devil for real, and Where are the dead? Oh, make sure you read the course help tips before you start the course. For example, to get to the course you’ve selected, click on Courses at the top of the page or you could be left hanging and wondering what next to do . Lessons are pretty comprehensive, although some kids who do not like to read may find the content too much (in one topic, the reader has to click through seven pages). However, the course is engagingly written and there are animations on pages that will keep the young reader entertained. Your child won’t mind doing this course if finding answers and forming a connection with God is his or her purpose. Each lesson has a review quiz to check retention of the knowledge just acquired. After completing the 15 topics, your Bible maven can look forward to receiving an attractive Certificate of recognition for his or her hard work. How cool is that? View the Course page here. Choose your course and enrol from here.
Psalms 119:11 says, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Do our children need more of God’s Word to chart their path in this sinful world? I’ll leave you with your own answers.