Apr 22, 2011

Tips for Toddler Scripture Memory, Part 1


Hearing my children reciting scripture sometimes takes my breath away. Their little sing-song voices echo verses back to me, sometimes without their even knowing what they are saying..."O Lord, you have searched me and known me..."

We’ve just recently found our groove with our scripture memory work, and we're really rolling along! It has taken some trial and error though.

I thought I'd share a few practical tips that have helped us be consistent and successful in our memory work.

Start small.

To me, the important thing is to do something, no matter how small. It obviously isn’t a good idea to make them sit still for 30 minutes for memory drills right off the bat.

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

This doesn't sound like fun, does it? You wouldn't think so, but now that my kids sort of know the drill...that we're going to memorize...like it or not...they actually love repeating the phrases over and over again! Children love repetition, especially when they are engaging and sharing it with others!

Be expressive.

Vary inflection of your voice. This really seems to help my kids remember the words. I have noticed that when I accidentally change up the sing-song pattern while we're practicing a passage, they won't remember it! Think of it as giving auditory cues to boost their (and your) memory power. The Jews have a long history of chanting and singing the scriptures...and it works for them! Historically, it has not been uncommon for them to memorize whole Old Testament books.

Vary environment.

Places where we review old/learn new scriptures: lined up on the kitchen counter. Swinging. Snuggled up on the "big bed." On a blanket in the yard. Riding in the car. On long walks.

This could be a great way of training children that they can interact with God and his Word anywhere, anytime. (See Deuteronomy 6, God's instruction to parents to teach their children about him all throughout the day!)

In college, I used to memorize on my 45-minute commute. It was a nice, long chunk of time, but unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much unless I was in the car! I had conditioned myself to only recall those scriptures during mindless driving. Odd, but true. Hopefully, I won’t set my kids up for this mistake.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Part 2...I've got a few more thoughts that I'll save for another post.

What tips or ideas do you have to incorporate and simplify scripture memory into your family? Can't wait to hear your ideas!


  1. Scripture set to music has been a huge success in our house. The Seeds Family Worship CDs are definitely our favorites.

  2. I love your blog. Thanks for taking the time to share your nuggets of wisdom. I completely agree with Stephanie's comment. We love Seeds, too. In fact, those are the Scriptures I can recall off the top of my head, as well.