Friday, March 3, 2017

Teaching Kids Hymns

One of my goals this year was to teach my kids a new hymn each month in our morning pledge and prayer time for school.  I want my kids to learn the rich doctrine in the good old hymns that the church has used for so long in corporate worship. 

Through our travels we were in many kinds of churches.  Some were big and had lots of kids programs, and some we small and didn’t even have a nursery worker, much less a children’s program for every age group.  I also got the impression that many times in church we feel we have to have something to entertain the kids in every service, or some program or activity “on their level”.  After a couple of struggles in church with four, and then five kids, who didn’t want to sit still or be quiet while their daddy was preaching, we set out to teach our kids how to sit in church, and proper “etiquette” for the worship service.  The twins were very young, and Elaine and Nolan had never sat through church because they were always in a children’s program. 

We practiced our church etiquette at home, and every time we go to church they sit in at least church service, even if there is a children’s program available.  I want them to hear God’s Word preached, and even at 5 and 7, Elaine and Nolan are learning to pay attention and write down words in their notebooks.  I want them to be able to sing along in the hymn time, even when they can’t read the words of the hymnbook yet.  So…we are learning hymns.

I picked twelve familiar hymns that I felt were often sung, well loved, and had lots of doctrine in them.  I visualize them with clipart available free online.  I try to pick pictures which represent the words in a way kids would think of them, or that I can use to explain the concept of that portion of the hymn.  I also look for black and white sketches, so that the kids can help to color the pictures.

I wanted to capture the cross, seeing the light, and faith, so this image was perfect!

Handcuffs for “crimes” and a heart for “love”

I chose a rainbow because it reminds that God always keeps His promises, which says to me that God is always the same!  One of my pages in this song had morning glory flowers on it, because it’s really hard to visualize “glory”.

This picture of Abraham shows the sands of the sea and the stars in the sky, representing God’s promise of innumerable descendants to Abraham.  It has nothing to do with the song, except that tells us we can rest on God’s promise.  It was just a discussion starter!

“Taking” – receiving – the gifts of God, namely life, rest, joy, and peace.

Then we laminate the song, and sing it each day at the beginning of school, along with our pledges and morning prayer.  It’s exciting when they go to church and know the hymn, and are able to sing along!  (We have already learned Victory in Jesus, Amazing Grace, Nothing But the Blood, and several other hymns in family devotion time).

Hymns “every child should know” - to learn in 2017!

January: Yesterday, Today, Forever
February: ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
March: At the Cross
April: He Lives (for Easter)
May: It Is Well
June: The Bible Stands
July: Sweet Hour of Prayer
August: Power in the Blood
September: Nearer, My God to Thee
October: Jesus Paid It All
November: To Go Be the Glory
December: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne (for Christmas)

In college I was required to take a class on Teaching Bible to kids, and we had to visualize things like stories, verses, and songs.  I made a lot of kids choruses in that class, but I have been applying the same techniques and principles to my visualized hymns.  Here are a few of my visualized songs that you can print and use for personal use, or to get an idea for making your own!

At the Cross
Do You Know About Jesus (kids chorus to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame)
’Tis So Sweet
Yesterday, Today, Forever
From Alaska to Nebraska (sung to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic)
Holy, Holy, Holy
Praise Him, Praise Him

Other resources:

  • Patch the Pirate has a CD of “Hymns Every Child Should Know”
  • has a lot of mp3 clips of the accompaniment if you want to play the hymn while you sing.  They also have printable sheet music for a lot of hymns.
  • I usually just google the words for the hymn I want to use.
  • Pixabay has a lot of nice, free, images if you don’t want to use color-able clipart
  • I like to use a kid-friendly font, like DK Crayon Crumble, BJU Pre-Cursive, or Amatic.


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