When Ashlyn was little we read a typical children's picture Bible. She fell in love with the David & Goliath story. We would just randomly pick it up and read it, and occasionally we'd read it consistently but she always wanted to hear that story! We read them all, but often had to flip back and read about young David again. I was tickled that she latched onto such a great hero.
That's what we do with our "littles", we read the story Bible, teach them to pray, talk about God and all he created, and sing Jesus Loves Me songs.
That's as far as my own smarts got me. I didn't know anything else about reading the Bible to kids. Thankfully, Sonlight (our homeschool curriculum) filled in the gaps from there on out (Sonlight has filled in MANY gaps in our house!).
A picture Bible is great during the preschool years. My favorite children's Bible is by the late Kenneth Taylor. It has the most beautiful, realistic pictures of any Bible I've ever seen, especially a children's Bible. No cartoons here. I like this since we want our kids to know the Bible is a book about REAL people. Thanks to Sonlight, we have one copy of this Bible but it's getting worn. I wanted a second copy but found that right after Mr. Taylor died, it was no longer published and it couldn't be found anywhere. I cried. I'm so glad to see it back on store shelves.
Another Bible we just bought for Bethany last year is the Read 'n' See DVD Bible. It is narrated by great people like Max Lucado, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Rebecca St. James. The DVD "reads" the Bible to the kids (great for when Mom's trying to do school with the big sisters) and there are scripture memory songs included.
Although it's not a Bible, but a foundational book in doctrine, Leading Little Ones to God is another book Sonlight introduced us to. I believe we'll get to use it again this fall when Hope starts second grade work. This would be a great book not only for kids but for parents who want to brush up on what the Bible teaches. What fun to learn about God together!
Our family has liked the NIrV Bible either for Mom or Dad to read aloud to young elementary aged children or for new readers to read on their own. NIV is New International Version and the little "r" in there means readers. It's aimed at not only this age group but adults who are not strong in reading skills. They come in many themes. We have one that's a detective theme and another that uses characters from Focus on the Family's Whit's End stories. This made a good first "grown up" Bible for our girls.
Ashlyn, who's 11, received the New Inductive Study Bible last year to go with her Kay Arthur studies (Bible studies she does on her own). It is a New American Standard Bible. I now use it to read the Bible portion of our school work to all the girls. Bethany, at age 4 doesn't get it much, but Hope does as long as I do a little explaining here & there.
On the market today are zillions of devotionals aimed at children. We even own a board book called High Chair Devotions to use with the itty bitty ones. Over the years, we've bought the sweet Father-Daughter and Mother-Daughter devotionals as well as others simply aimed at girls in a specific age range. I'm sure you can find an affordable one at Christian Book Distributors or any bookstore.
There are other supplementary materials-things to do in addition to reading the Bible and doing Bible studies/devotionals with your children. There are many CDs out there with fun scripture memory songs. We have Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends Scripture Memory CDs on being brave.
Once Ashlyn was about elementary school age, she liked to listen to Adventures In Odyssey from Focus on the Family. She still does, and now the episodes are online. These stories always deal with character and Biblical issues and can sometimes be heavy or (rarely) scary-so just heed any warnings given at the beginning of the broadcast.
We've also invested in Focus on the Family's children's magazines. Ashlyn used to receive Clubhouse Jr, which is great for new readers (aimed at kids ages 4-8) but she's been reading Clubhouse in the last few years (for kids 8-12). I love the truth she receives by reading the articles artistically appealing to kids.
Finally, our kids have received much spiritual truth from reading about missionaries. Our source for great missions books is our Sonlight materials, but most if not all are available at Amazon or CBD. I've even seen a great series Christian Heroes: Then and Now at the library (not our little anemic one, but one an hour away). One of our favorites is Missionary Stories with the Millers.
I don't believe any of the materials I've linked to are over $20. Oops, the New Inductive Study Bible is, but all the rest are very affordable. This list is hardly all there is out there! There's so much, so poke around CBD's site, go to Sonlight's site and see what they suggest for each age, browse your favorite Christian bookstore.
Okay, so you buy some great new books, Bibles, devotionals or scripture CDs. How do you get in the habit of using them? More on that later!
In the meantime, if you have a favorite resource for getting God's Word into the hearts of your little ones, please post it in the comments!
Am I the only Blogger blogger who has trouble with Blogger's spacing? Just need you to know I know its messed up, but I can't fix it :)