When our youngest were little, I used to meet up with a friend and her two boys. At the mall play area, our four tiny adventurers scaled the big foam mountain and slid down the steep bridge to land on a shiny green lilypad. Once everyone was good and tired, we’d all have a snack.
One day, as her boys were downing little orange and green goldfish crackers, my friend eyed our snack. My boys were happily eating Odwalla bars – smashed fruit and grains with protein added. “Why are you feeding them that?” she asked.
I considered my answer. After all, organic fruit protein bars aren’t really the standard fare for one and two year olds. “Well, our kids can only take in so many calories every day, right? We might as well make sure the calories they take in feed their bodies.”
Food feeds our bodies. The nutrition (or lack thereof) that our kids receive will help them grow and develop. We can only consume a given amount, so we want to eat things that are good for us. Likewise, stories feed our heart. The books and media we feed our kids will help them grow and learn. The stories they hear will help determine who they become. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I want to be certain that my children hear stories that point them to Christ.
When my children were little – under the age of 3 – we read from a children’s Bible daily. It’s been a while since we had anyone in the baby/toddler age category, but I found a good review of toddler Bibles from Raising Godly Children. We made our daily Bible time special, with snacks, cuddling and lots of excitement. (Friends, make all of your important times with your Littles filled with excitement!).
Ok, maybe there was less cuddling and more excited reading while my boys ran in circles around me. It’s so easy to romanticize parenthood, isn’t it? With Littles, keep your reading short and sweet!
My other favorite Bible tool was our NIrV Little Kids Adventure Audio Bible (I promise – no one pays me to recommend these things!). The recommended age range for the audio Bible is 4-7, but we played it at bedtime starting when our kids were 2 and 3. Want to have fun with your child? Introduce them to Scripture at a tiny age, and see what theological issues they come up with! At the age of 3, our youngest loved the book of Job. I was so sad when this set was discontinued, but I’m happy to report it’s available again in MP3 format. It comes in three volumes: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3.
I loved the audio Bible because the boys were already in bed (so…calm), and because it skipped some of the thornier parts of the Bible I wasn’t ready for them to listen to yet. They loved it because it was read by kids, and because they thought they were getting a special treat, listening to something other than crickets at night.
Those are my best tips for Bible for the Littles. Start them young, read it often, and make it fun. I can’t recommend the audio Bible highly enough.
What are your best tips for Bible for the Littles?
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.