Helping Toddlers Learn Bible Verses With Nursery Rhymes

Help the good shepherd find his lost sheep using the familiar Little Bo Peep nursery rhyme.
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Some things stick with us the rest of our lives. To this day, you most likely can recite the familiar nursery rhyme “Mary had a little lamb." Perhaps, you’re even teaching the tune to your toddler or preschooler. Since the Bible tells us that Jesus was called the “lamb of God,” combine Bible verses with Mary had a little lamb to leave an indelible impression that will remain with your youngster throughout his life.

1 Different Techniques

Face it – many of us learned nursery rhymes and Bible verses simply by repeating and memorizing. While this is certainly a time-honored method, try using alternate approaches to mix things up a bit. Insert simple Bible verses in a correlating nursery rhyme. Sing and dance to the rhythmic tune. Act it out using finger puppets, stuffed animals or your imaginations. Play a game leaving words out of the rhyme and then repeating inserting the correct words back into the rhyme. Whisper the rhyme while rocking your tot to sleep or reciting during bedtime prayers.

2 Food Parallels

Your little girl seems to play with her food more than eat it. She is obsessed with examining the texture and throwing the item on the floor. Even though she is eager to help you prepare dinner, sometimes you’d rather plop her in front of cartoons instead. Turn her fascination with food into an applicable Bible lesson using the familiar rhyme “Pat a cake.” Prepare an easy dough recipe or save yourself some work and use play dough. Practice rolling out the dough together explaining how Jesus not only fed the multitudes but declared himself “the bread of life.” Insert bread-of-life Bible verses into the familiar rhyme.

3 Crafts

Gather up household items while introducing your tot to their first pair of safety scissors, glue and washable markers. Since lambs are a common animal found in both Bible stories and nursery rhymes, create Jesus’ lost sheep. Trace your child’s hand on construction paper using their thumb and fingers to form the lamb's face and legs. Squeeze glue on the outline and help your little one attach cotton balls. Provide a twist to Old King Cole’s crown designing a gold crown for Jesus. Measure a piece of yellow construction paper large enough to fit around your child’s head. Cut out zigzags along the top of the paper. Glue on gold glitter and staple together forming a crown.

4 Real Life Application

Your toddler has discovered her legs and where they can take her. It seems your entire day is spent chasing your little one through the house. Combine the familiar nursery rhyme “Little Bo Peep’ with the Bible parable of the lost sheep and turn this running game into an important lesson on God’s love. Read together both stories. Contrast how Little Bo Peep could not find the lost sheep but the Biblical good shepherd did. The next time your escape artist runs from you, practice together good shepherd Bible verses using the rhythm of Little Bo Peep. Reinforce by capturing your little one safely in your arms, just as the good shepherd did when he found the lost sheep.

Anne Reynolds is a writer who has worked for the U.S. government, the public school system and as a public library specialist. She began writing in 1990 and has contributed articles to various online publications.