MEMORY VERSE GAMES

Memorization doesn't have to be boring. It can be fun.

Most children have a difficult time memorizing things if they don't have to. In school, they are forced to memorize spelling words, multiplication tables and state capitals. Most will do their best to learn just enough to get through Friday's test, but ask them what they learned a week or so later and you will notice that what they remember is a lot less than test day.

However, if you as the child about their favorite TV show, or their favorite Pokemon character, that is a different story all together. Ask a child about something that they love and he or she will rattle off facts and information as long as you let them. It proves that the memorization and the amount of retention has more to do with the level of interest rather than on subject.

In Psalm 119, David wrote,"I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won't sin against you". He understood that the word of God was vital in pleasing God and preventing him from doing something wrong. It is no different today. We all need to know God's word if we are to follow it and if it is to have any real power to transform our lives. The trick is how do you teach children the word of God so that they can retain it beyond the weekly class time?

If you want children to learn passages from the Bible, you will need to find ways to make it important to them. The easiest way is to make learning interesting or fun. We, at Kidco Labs, believe strongly in teaching the word of God so every lesson in our curriculum comes with a Memory Verse Activity as one of the lesson elements. The weekly key verse is also found on the weekly activity sheet that each child takes home. He or she is then encouraged to learn the verse by the following week for points that earn prizes. So in other words, each gets a reward now, and God will continue to reward them throughout their life.

SOME THINGS YOU CAN TRY YOURSELF

Here are just a few of the memory verse activities we've used in the past that you can use anytime. All of them only take a few minutes of prep time and little to no cost. Feel free to incorporate these into your weekly activities and adapt them to your specific classroom situation. They are a great way of raising the energy level in the class, engaging the children directly in the lesson and most important, helping them learn the Word of God as they have fun doing it.

MEMORY VERSE GAME LISTING:
The Erasure Game
The Erasure Game (PowerPoint Version)
The Memory Verse Relay
Memory Verse Clothes Line
Arrange The Team



THE ERASURE GAME



Children will learn the verse as you remove a word or short phrase each time and read through the verse out loud together. The best part is that it requires no preparation ahead of time and uses things that you already have in the classroom.

HOW TO PLAY: When you are ready to begin this activity, start by writing the memory verse on a dry erase board or chalkboard so that all the children can see it. Read through the verse several times so that the children can become familiar with the entire verse. When you ve done that, randomly erase a word or phrase from it and go through it again. Explain to the children that as you read through the verse this time, they will need to fill in the blanks, but you will help them with the verse as long as that portion is still on the board.

Continue erasing sections of the verse and reading through it out loud each time until the children are saying the full verse on their own. If you d like to make it even more fun, ask the children which sections should be erased next. This will get them even more involved in the game and make it more fun.

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THE ERASURE GAME (POWERPOINT VERSION)



If you use PowerPoint in your classroom, you can create a PowerPoint presentation that works similar to the dry erase/chalkboard version shown above.
PREPARATION: Start by creating a PowerPoint slide showing the full memory verse. You should dress it up with graphics and be as creative as you can with color, font and background.

Once you have the verse slide just as you want it, use PowerPoint to create a duplicate slide. On this copy, use the box tool to draw a rectangle over a word or short phrase in the verse to cover it up. It is good to let the top and bottom of the words peak out a little to help the smaller children remember the words as the game progresses.

Duplicate the slide with the box on it again and add a new box over a different word or phrase. Then duplicate this slide again and repeat the process until the entire verse is covered with rectangles. At the end of the presentation, it's always good to add a 'Great Job!' or 'Congratulations!' as a final slide to encourage all of the children for their participation and effort.

The slide samples to the right show how the PowerPoint presentation would progress. The first image at the top shows the starting slide, followed by a sample from somewhere in the middle of the game. The third slide shows the verse completely covered. This is followed by the 'Great Job!' slide used to encourage the children.









HOW TO PLAY: When it's time for the Memory verse activity, use the full verse slide to show the key verse for the week and review it with the class. Read through it several times out loud so that they can start to become familiar with it, then advance to the next slide. Explain to the children that they need to say the hidden words on their own as they disappear, but you will read the portion still showing along with them.

Continue reading through the verse together out loud again and again, letting the children say more of the verse alone each time. Once you get to the last slide, the children should have the verse pretty much committed to memory as they say the verse out loud on their own. Proceed to the 'GREAT JOB!' slide to end the activity and move on to your next lesson element.

To download a sample PowerPoint presentation to review, click here. (KL_MemVerse_Erasure.ppt is a 2.2 MB file)

Note: You will need Microsoft PowerPoint or a compatible presentation viewer that can open files that end with a .ppt file tag. Also note that on this sample, all slides have been converted to graphics so no additional fonts are needed to view.


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MEMORY VERSE RELAY



This simple relay uses pieces of paper with words or short phrases from the memory verse for teams to gather and assemble like a puzzle.

PREPARATION: First, you will need to decide how many children you want to participate in the activity. If you have a large ministry, you may want to have 3 or 4 teams, where a smaller ministry might want to use only 2 teams. You should have at least 2 competing teams for this activity.

NOTE: For very small classes, make 2 teams of 3 to 4 children and have each child go back to the end of the line for another turn until all the papers have been collected.

To create this relay, you will need 8-10 sheets of colored paper for each team, and each team should be assigned a different color of paper. Use large thick marker to write out a word or short phrase on each sheet of paper. Make sure to include the Bible reference where the verse is found on one sheet. Repeat the process with each team set so that all of them are identical except for paper color. If you d prefer, you could also use your computer and word processing or graphics program to create each verse sheet. Regardless of the method you choose, remember to make them fun, colorful and interesting and have each set clipped together and ready to use during your class time.

If you use PowerPoint or an overhead, you should also create a memory verse slide that shows the entire verse. This will be used during the entire activity so that the children will have a visual reference when they assemble the pieces of the verse into the proper order.



HOW TO PLAY: Write the complete verse on a chalkboard or dry-erase board (or project the verse on the screen). Read through the verse with the class once or twice so that they become familiar with it. And explain that they will be participating in a little 'friendly' competition.

Divide the class into the teams that you want to play. Make sure that the number of team members doesn't exceed the number of papers in the verse. Next, assign a color to each team so that they know which pieces they should be taking and have the teams line up in a single-file line at one end of the room.

At the other end of the room, take all the colored papers with the verse segments and scramble them together in a pile on the floor face down. At the signal, one member of each team will run to the pile and pick up one sheet of paper. He or she will then return to the team and tag the next person in line and they will go to collect another piece of the memory verse.

The teams need to continue until they have all of the pieces of the verse, so that they can take the pieces and put them in order somewhere. Depending on class size, this could be on the floor in front of them, or on a chalkboard tray. The first team to assemble the verse in the correct order wins the round. Play a few rounds with the teams, each time reading through the verse out loud together. The team that wins the most rounds wins the game.

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MEMORY VERSE CLOTHES LINE



This simple game uses sheets of paper with portions of the verse, some clothespins and a piece of rope to assemble the weekly memory verse as quickly as possible.

PREPARATION: Like the Memory Verse Relay above, you will need to write out the verse over 8-10 sheets of paper, placing a word or short phrase on each sheet of paper so that when all of the papers are placed in order, the entire verse can be read. If you have a computer or word processor, you can also type them out and then print it. Make sure that you have some fun with the color and font. Regardless of the method to create the verse pieces, you will also want to make sure that the letters are big and bold enough to be read by the entire class.

The only other supplies that you will need are a 12- to 15-foot piece of rope and about 2 dozen clothespins for each team. If you have to purchase these items, they are a great investment for future games. For example, instead of a memory verse, you could use half-sheets of paper to create an alphabet and allow teams to take turns finding the letters and spelling words from the weekly lesson. You could also use them for a literal 'prayer line' by clipping prayer requests to it on a week that you are teaching about prayer.



HOW TO PLAY: Depending on your classroom situation and available space, you may only have enough room for one clothes line to be strung up. You will need at least 12-15 feet of rope and about 2-dozen clothespins per team. (We usually only used on and allowed teams to alternate, which also allowed the competing teams to learn any tricks that the other team used to get a better time.)

Place all of the papers face down on the floor in random order directly below the clothesline. The clothesline doesn't need to be permanently attached. You can use volunteers from the opposite team, or adult leaders/coaches to hold up the line during the game. It is also your choice if you want the clothespins to be attached to the line in advance, or if you want them to be removed after each round. This means that each team will not only have to get the papers in order, they will need to grab the clothespins that they need during the relay.

Select the team members that will be competing. You want the teams to be about half of the number of sheets of paper, so roughly 4-5 members for an 8-10 sheet verse. At the signal, the team must work together to assemble the verse in the proper order as quickly as possible. Keep track of the time using a stopwatch or a clock with a second hand. Once the team has the completed verse showing in the correct order, read the verse out loud together with the class. If they have made a mistake, there is a 5 second penalty added to their time. So, each team should work quickly but carefully during their turn.

The team that has the fastest combined time (all times added together or you can do average time, if you'd prefer) wins the game.

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ARRANGE THE TEAM



This game uses one team leader to rearrange all of the members of the team to put the verse in order. Only 2 people can be switched at a time.

PREPARATION: Prepare the verse on separate sheets of paper as you did with the Memory Verse Relay and Memory Verse Clothesline. (See above) If you'd like to make the panels larger, you can also use sheets of poster board and cut them in half.



HOW TO PLAY: Divide the class into teams. You will need to have at least one team member for each sheet of paper plus one 'team leader' who will be arranging the team. Line the team (minus the leader) shoulder to shoulder facing the rest of the class. Have each person then put his or her hands behind their backs, and pass out the sheets of paper in random order so that they are hidden until it is time to start.

At the signal, the team should hold the paper in front of them so that the word or short phrase is showing. The team leader now must instruct two members to switch places in order to get the verse in order. In other words, each person swaps places with the other. They cannot squeeze in between other team members or shift down. If the leader wants to, he or she can select one person to move to either end of the line to create a new opening.

The goal is to get the completed verse in order as quickly as possible using the fewest moves. You can keep track of the progress by either counting moves or by tracking the time. In either case, the team that has the lowest score wins the round. Play several rounds and read the verse out loud together with the class a few times at the end of each round.

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