by Robyn Adams
As a parent of two young boys, my greatest hope as a parent is to instill a proper love and respect for God in my children. By teaching them young, my desire is for them to live a life that is both pleasing and honoring to Jesus. Sometimes in the midst of potty training and playing with dump trucks, I find myself seeking fun ways to teach such a large and abstract concept to a toddler. I have found a few ways that spark an interest in God while keeping it fun.
1. Take a “God’s creation” walk. Nature walks are fun for any toddler. They are seeing things they may have never seen before. Turn these walks into a time where you discuss God and His creation. Explain simple concepts like “God made water for us to drink” and “God made the grass for horses to eat.”
2. Allow your toddler to serve others. When my son turned two, he began helping me minister to the sick in our church. He thoroughly enjoys pouring sprinkles onto cookies we are baking for an ill church member. It is important for toddlers to realize they can serve God by loving others.
3. Throw a Birthday party for Jesus at Christmas. This can be a whole family event. Each member can help make the cake. Toddlers love to pour ingredients into a bowl and to help stir. Once the cake is baked and decorated, sing a hearty “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and celebrate!
4. Facilitate an attitude of gratitude. Teach toddlers to say please and thank you. This can be done before they can verbally say it by teaching baby sign language. Gratitude is at the heart of a relationship with God. This is a concept that even young children can grasp.
5. Sing fun Bible songs. There are so many CD’s on the market today that have put Bible stories and biblical concepts to catchy toddler-friendly music. Invest in a few of these resources. My favorites are Veggie Tales. These are catchy tunes that kids and parents alike love.
6. Tell Bible stories in a creative way. Repeating Bible stories in the same mundane way over and over will lose anyone’s interest. When you factor in the attention span of a toddler, you are bound to have chaos. Instead, use fun voices for each character. Use props. These don’t have to be expensive. Telling the story of Daniel would be more meaningful with a stuffed lion nearby. If you can think of a more interesting way to tell the story than the writer of the book, do it. You know what speaks to your toddler’s heart better than anyone.
7. Pray before meals. For many children and adults, prayer is intimidating. A regular practice of praying before meals will make it natural for your child to want to pray. It will also allow them to begin praying aloud when are ready to give it try.
Creating a love for God in the heart of toddler is a big task for even the best parent. With a little time and creativity, any parent can demonstrate different ways God works in the life of your toddler and the world around him.
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