As a LDS church teacher or parent, your job is to instill gospel principles and a love for the scriptures into your children's lives. Bringing the scriptures to life in these 8 ways will help you accomplish that mission. However, no matter what method you use the key will be your understanding of the scriptures first. In Preach My Gospel it states,
"Your ability to teach with power from the scriptures comes in large measure from the time you personally spend studying them."
Be beyond familiar with the scripture story you want to share- know it inside and out. That is how you will be able to teach with power and adjust as your children express concerns or have unexpected questions. Having the companionship of the Holy Ghost is vital in your preparation and teaching as well.
In the video above, I demonstrate and explain 8 ideas for teaching the scriptures with my daughter for you. I've included a brief summary of each point below but the video includes much more. Turn it on while you fold some laundry or enjoy a LDS coloring page.
Act it Out (Include Figurines if Necessary)
It may be intimidating at first but role play can work wonders! Role play is especially great for those that have a hard time sitting still. It allows them to move around and not get in trouble. If you don't think your class will get into their parts, bring in some scripture figurines or even puppets instead. We have several Book of Mormon figurines and love using them for church lessons, Family Home Evenings, and just for fun. If you can, bring props- it doesn't matter if it's one small item made out of cardboard for each person. Any type of church appropriate prop will help them get into role playing more. (If you have a questions about a prop being church appropriate, ask your church leaders).
Our Picnic Tree also has a few scripture building blocks- they don't have a lot yet but as we support them, they will be able to make more. Try their Nephi and Broken Bow set for one lesson.
Pick One Object to Focus On
As you read through the scripture story, is there an object you can draw out and focus the rest of your lesson around? I used the examples of the Armor of God and the Title of Liberty but there are many more you can use. As you teach about Samuel the Lamanite maybe it'll be an arrow. Pray about it and see what you can pull out of the story and directly relate it to your class's lives. The arrow represents Satan's fiery darts. Put that into words your class will understand and what they need to do to avoid those arrows.
Relate a Problem and Show How a Scripture Answers It
Tell a story- a real life story. This is one that President Monson and President Uchtdorf do very well. As you tell the story, be sure you are telling it in a way your audience can really connect with- draw upon those similar situations and feelings. Stop telling the story at the climax- what will you do to solve the problem. That's when you open your scriptures and discover the answer to the problem really is in there. The more we can show each other how the scriptures actually do hold all the answers we need, the better. After discovering an appropriate solution, finish the rest of your story. If you can, make a chart on the board to show the parallels as you tell the stories.
Make a Location Change
NOTE: If you physically change locations, PLEASE get permission first- people need to know where you will be. Location changes can be a simple as heading outdoors to pretend your are marching like a stripling warrior. You don't have to physically go somewhere else though. Bring a fake tree into your classroom, set out a blanket on the floor, cut some mountains out of cardboard. Let your children feel like they are somewhere new as you learn about the scripture story.
Sing a Song
Every hymn and children's song has a scripture reference with it. Does the scripture story you are studying have an overall gospel principle you want to get across? Search for a song to go with it. Yes, you can look up a song by the scripture- it's in the index. Sing the song or hymn in your class while you walk in a giant circle waving flags or turn on the music in the background as you set the scene for the story. Find a fun way to bring it into your lesson. Music has power in it and it's easy for your children to remember when they need it.
Let Your Class Draw
Sometimes we get overprotective of the whiteboards. Give your class an opportunity to draw the story. As they answer questions, let them draw piece of the story. You could also describe a scene and have everyone add a part of it on the board. What you are trying to do is include more than one of the five senses here. Using visuals and a hands on opportunity helps your children see and understand more. This works especially great when you are talking about several locations, battles, or parables.
We all know that object lessons can have a lasting impact. The past few months we've had a Favorite Scripture series on the blog. Each week someone shares a scripture, what it means to them, and a free printable. Several of these printables help you put together great object lessons. You can find all the Favorite Scripture printables in our Scripture Helps section. Also check out my Pinterest board of object lessons for more ideas.
Connect Stories Together
Because we often study only a little of the scriptures at a time, we fail to make many connections between events and people. Help your children understand who these people are, what else is going on in history, where they fall on a timeline. Seeing the bigger picture helps things click.
Whatever method you use, include the scriptures every time you teach. Your purpose in bringing these scripture stories to life is to help your children apply scriptural doctrine in their lives. That is what will have long lasting effects. President Boyd K. Packer said,
"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior."
That is why doing this little bit of extra preparation is worth your time and more. Scripture study changes all of us.
Your Turn- What do you do to bring the scriptures to life in your classroom or at home?