Memory Activities and Games For Prayers and Scripture
Here are some memory activities that you can use for prayers or scripture. (These activities used to be online, but thankfully I made I copy of them before it was removed.)
Apple Tree Make a poster with a large tree (like an apple tree). Make apples with one word of the verse on each apple. Make a way to attach the apples to the tree (like Velcro, buttons, or tape). Play one of two ways: 1) Scramble the apples and have children come up and put the apples in order and everyone read the verse together or 2) Place the apples on the tree in order and have each child come up and remove one apple. Then have everyone say the verse together. You may want to attach a small piece of apple candy (like sour apple Jolly Ranchers) to each apple for each child to keep.
Ball Pass While the teacher says, "Pass, pass, pass," the kids, who are in a circle, pass a ball to their right. When the teacher says, "Stop," the child holding the ball, and the persons to his right and left say the verse together.
Bible Verse Olympics Have the children do different exercises as they say their verse. For example, touch your toes as you say the verse; do sit-ups as you say the verse; stand on one foot as you say the verse, etc. You could have contests to see who could do an activity the longest or most times, or you could give awards that state how many times/how long a child did a given activity!
Cakewalk Use paper plates for this activity. Write one or more words of the memory verse on each paper plate. Arrange the plates in a circle- like a cakewalk- with the words in order. While music plays, the children walk around the circle of plates. When the music stops, the person behind the first word starts. Each child reads the word he/she is standing behind until together they have said the memory verse! Continue playing several times.
Copy Cat Have the children stand in a circle. Have one child say the memory verse with the teacher. He then tags another child, who says it together with the first child and the teacher. THAT child tags another child, and so on until everyone in the circle is saying the verse together.
Correct Me If I'm Wrong Divide the class into two teams. Each team sits in a circle around a bell. The teacher says the memory verse and the kids wait for her to purposely make a mistake. When they think they've heard a mistake, they try to be the first one to ring their team's bell. They must then say the verse correctly and point out the teacher's mistake. Award points for most corrections, if you like!
Driving it Home Divide into two teams and have each team decorate a large box to look like a car. When the cars are completed, attach balloons to the cars. Balloons should have slips of paper inside containing the words of the memory verse (one set per car). Children line up in teams, and, one at a time, get in their car and "drive" it, Flintstones-style, to the other end of the room, where they get out, take a balloon off their car, pop it and retrieve the word. They use tape to attach the word to the side of a paper cup, then get back into their car and drive back to their team where the next team member is waiting to make the same road trip. Each child places his/her cup in order to make the verse slowly appear! The winning team is the one who has its verse in the correct order and all its drivers safely home first!
Ice, Ice, Baby Have children form a line. Hand the first child a square piece of ice. The child must hold the ice in his hand until he says the verse. He then passes the ice to the next child who must say the verse while holding the ice, etc.
Jack-In-The-Box Line kids up. Have each child jump and say the next word of the verse. First child says first word, second child says second word, etc. The children should get quicker and quicker at this after they've said the verse a couple times.
Kitty, Kitty Explain that kittens often like to play with a ball of yarn. Have your little "kittens" sit in a circle. Toss a yarn ball to one child, who says the verse, then passes the ball to another child. Play continues and children keep hold of the yarn each time so that they create a giant web. At the end, toss a balloon into the "web" and have children try to bounce the balloon with the web by moving the yarn together as they say the verse.
Lunch Box (This one's a little messy!) Pack a lunch for each team. Place a word from the memory verse in each item. (Words should be written on index cards.) Children must unpack their team's lunch, one item at a time, find a word, and place it on a tray, in order. The catch is this: the word may be in the middle of pastrami on rye or inside a thermos of juice. (To protect the words, you may want to place each one in a Ziploc bag). First team to have all their word cards in order and say the verse out loud wins!
Memory Verse Knight Scotch tape a needle to the end of a plastic or cardboard sword so that it isn't visible to the children. Write each word of the memory verse on a different balloon and hang them from a clothesline using clothespins, in order. Have the children say the verse by reading the balloons together, then use the sword to pop a balloon! Repeat the verse with one word missing. Continue on until the children are saying the verse without any balloon words left!
Name that Verse Play like "Name That Tune". Have two teams challenge each other to say a verse in so many words. For example, if the verse is John 3:16, team one says, "We can say that verse in 10 words". Team two says, "We can say that verse in 8 words". Team one says, "We can say that verse in 6 words". Team two says, "We dare you to say that verse!” Team one must say the verse, word perfect, after hearing only the first 6 words: "For God so loved the world…"
O Taste and See that the Lord is Good Have a food/drink item for each player. Have two teams and give each team the same items to eat/drink. Each player must eat or drink the item you give them in the manner you instruct them to, and then to say the verse before the next person gets a turn. The winning team is the one to have all its players eat/drink items and say the verse.
Here are some items you may want to use:
Cracker- (chew it up and swallow it; whistle, and then say the verse) Bubble Gum- (open it, chew it up, blow a bubble, and then say the verse) Can of Soda- (open it, drink it all, burp- or not- J then say the verse) Bowl of Jell-O- (eat it, open your mouth to show that it's gone, then say the verse) Baby Food- (fruit is best- eat it all, screw the lid back on, and then say the verse) Banana- (peel it, eat it, toss the skin in the trash, then say the verse) Goldfish Crackers- (eat ten of them, one at a time, taking a drink of water in between each one, and then say the verse) M&Ms- (pick out only the red ones, or green ones, and eat them; put the rest back in the bag, then say the verse) Lemon- (squeeze half a lemon into a cup, take a drink, whistle, then say the verse) Cold Peas- (eat 5 of them, take a drink of water, then say the verse)
Please be very careful in your food choices for this game! Don't use anything that could gum up and be a choking hazard OR that is a common allergen. Bad choices include grapes, raisins, gummy candy, hard candy, nuts, peanut butter items, marshmallows, licorice, etc.
Pillow Talk Fill a pillowcase with hats, masks, etc. to represent different characters. Play Hot Potato, and the child holding the bag when the music stops must put on the mask or other item and say the verse "in character." For example, a child pulls a clown nose from the bag and must put it on and say the verse in his silliest clown voice! Use any items you have on hand. Some ideas: Cowboy hat, Old lady scarf, king's crown, etc.
Take Away Write each word of the memory verse on the side of a paper cup. Place the cups, in order, along the edge of a long table and let kids take turns tossing a small ball or beanbag at the cups. Have the whole class say the memory verse each time, even with cup-words missing! Continue until no cups remain and the class is saying the verse together.
Talking Trash Attach words from the verse to empty, clean grocery containers (like frosting containers, baby food jars, butter bowls, Jell-O boxes, etc.) Make one set of "garbage" for each team. Give each team a large trash bag. Pile the garbage on the floor in front of each team. The first player picks up a piece of garbage, puts it in the bag, and carries it to a clean garbage can (or other large container) at the other end of the room. That player then brings the bag back for the next player to do the same thing. When the last player returns, the entire team runs up to the trash can, picks out one item each, and runs back to the starting point to put the items in order (according to the words on them) and shouts the verse out loud together!
Walk and Clap Make a circle of construction paper shapes on the floor. Make sure there are at least 2 of each shape. When the teacher says, "Go!" the children move around the circle of shapes, clapping. When the teacher says, "Stop!" the children each stop behind a shape and stop clapping. The teacher calls out the name of a shape and all the children standing behind that shape must say the memory verse together.
Mother Play "Mother, May I?" but have children recite the verse before each move instead of asking "Mother, May I?"
Nap Have all but one child pretend to be asleep on a small pillow with a word from the verse attached to the fronts of the pillows. The child who is "it" goes around to each of the other children, tapping them gently on the head, and says the first word of the verse. If that child does not have that word, he doesn't move. If a child has the word on his pillow, he "wakes up" and hands the pillow to the first child. The first child takes the pillow and stands on a designated line at the other end of the room, holding the word pillow in front of him so that everyone can see it. The child who gave up the pillow then goes around saying the first and second word of the verse, searching for the pillow with the second word, etc. Play continues in this manner until all the children are in line. (Give the last child a pillow with the reference on it.) Next, have each child, one at a time, lay down his pillow, come to the front, and say the verse- it will be with one pillow word missing, of course!
Octopus Have four kids stand back to back to form a backward circle. (Children should interlock arms and be facing outward.) They should then walk, still attached to one another, to the other end of the room and find a way to bring back a word from the verse without using any of their 8 hands! One player may take off his shoe and use his toes. OR one player may use his mouth to pick up the word and carry it back. However they choose to do it, they must bring back all the words of the verse and put them in the correct order!
Packing Pack a suitcase with the exact number of items, as there are words in the verse. The first child runs up, opens the suitcase, and pulls out one item at a time as he/she says each word of the verse. When all items are removed, he closes the suitcase and brings it back to the next player, who carries it up to the clothing items and places them inside, one at a time as he/she says each word of the verse. Then that player closes the suitcase and carries it back to the next player, who carries it up and empties it…play continues in this manner until each person has completed their packing task!
Quarter Make a grid on the floor using masking tape (or make a grid on a large piece of poster board and tape it to the floor). The grid should have enough spaces for each word of the verse. Place a word from the verse (on index cards) in each square. Players from each team take turns tossing a quarter onto the grid from a specified spot. Each time the quarter lands on a word, the team gets to keep that word. When both teams have finished tossing quarters, or when all the words are used up, have the teams race to put their words in order and shout out the verse.
Rock & Roll Have children sit in a circle. Give a large ball to a child. The child "rocks" (from side to side or back and forth) as he recites the verse, then rolls the ball to another child who does the same thing.
Snake Divide kids onto two teams. Have the team members line up and hold onto the shoulders or waists of the child in front of them to form a long snake. The teams must go to the other side of the room in this fashion (without losing any members) and pick up each word to their verse. They must then bring each one back, leave a member of the team behind to put the word in the correct place, and go back for the next word. Children who are "dropped off" with the words may work together to complete the verse. Team with all its words in order should yell out the verse.
Tiny Write the words in extremely small print on cards. Give each team a magnifying glass. Teams compete to put their words in order by viewing them through the lens of the magnifying glass. In order to give each player a turn, tell children they must race up, find the next word in the verse, and bring it back.
Umbrella Open an umbrella and tape the words of the verse to the outside of the umbrella. Teams compete to put the words to their verse in order as each player puts on large boots and carries the umbrella to the other end of the room where the team leader is waiting to rip off a word and place it on a table or board. Play continues until a team has its verse completed, all its players back home, and the team yells out the verse. (You may want to add an extra twist by having the team leader wear thick gloves when pulling off the words and putting them in order.)
Memory Vests Using inexpensive kitchen-size white garbage bags, make enough vests for each child. Cut out two armholes and a larger hole for the head. Write, in permanent marker, a word of the verse on each vest. Make two verse sets in order to have two teams. Make extra vests with smiley faces on them. Instruct the teams that when you say, "GO!" they are to each put on a vest and put themselves in order according to the verse. Tell them that children with smiley faces may be anywhere, but that all words must be shown. In other words, if a child has on a smiley face vest, but a word is missing, he must go and find the vest with the missing word and change his vest. The first team in the correct order wins! Have teams, lined up correctly, face each other and say the verse. Have one child at a time from both teams remove their vests as the teams continue to say the verse, until they are finally saying the verses without any words showing.
Word Wave Have children do the "wave" you see at ball games and say the next word to the verse as they rise and fall.
Xylophone Play one note on a xylophone. Everyone should sing the first word of the verse to that note. Play that note and another note. Everyone should then sing the first two words to those two notes. Continue until they have sung the entire verse!
Yell Divide into two teams. Have team one be the "yellers" and team two be the "whisperers". Have the two teams say the verse in this manner: Team one yells the first word, team two whispers the second word, team one yells the third word, etc. Next round, have both teams yell, then both teams whisper.
Zoo Give an index card with the name of an animal on it to each child. Have more than one of each animal. When you call out an animal's name, all the children with that animal's name on their index card, should say the verse and make their animal's sound in between each word. For example, "Love one another" to the ducks would be: "Love…quack…one…quack…another…quack". To the dogs, it would be "Love…woof…one…
Sign Language Teach the verse in sign language. Keep repeating the verse using sign language, but each time don't say one new word out loud. Continue until you're signing the whole verse without saying the words!
Question Box Prepare questions from recent lessons. Write them on 3" x 5" cards and place them in a box. Choose one child to be "It." He takes a question from the box. The rest of the children stand in a circle. The pupil with the question walks around the circle and gives it to someone. This child may "confer" with whoever is standing to his right and left. An answer is given. If correct, that student then becomes "It," takes another question from the box, and repeats the procedure.
Is That Right? Have a puppet say the Bible verse to the class. He always makes a mistake. At the end he says, "Is that right?" Have the class correct the mistake and repeat it correctly.
Color Stand Give each child a color card. Be sure that at least 2 children have the same color. Pull a color from the box. All children who have that color card stand and say the verse.
Number Hop Scatter number sheets on the floor. Play music (or simply say "walk, walk, walk") as children step from one number to another, trying not to touch the floor. When music stops, each child freezes on a number. Draw a number from a bag and read it. The child standing on that number, and the child standing on preceding two numbers say the verse together.
Memory Verse Cards Break up memory verses into phrases and write them on index cards. Make a set of 8 cards (one complete verse) for each child, plus four extra sets. Decorate the other side of the "card" to make the "deck of cards." Shuffle the deck of cards and pass out 8 cards to each child. Put the rest of the cards in the middle with one card face up. Let one child begin play. If the child needs the card that is face up to complete her memory verse, she takes the card - if not, she takes one off the top of the deck and discards a card from her hand. Continue around the circle until someone gets all the cards needed to complete the memory verse. When this happens, the child yells out, "Praise the Lord!"
Popcorn Write the memory verse on a piece of poster board. Make sure that all of the kids can see it. Then have one student pick one letter from the memory verse. Everyone now says the memory verse together out loud and every time a word with the chosen letter is said, all the kids stand up!
Rubber Band Snap Tape index cards to the end of clothespins (the part that you pinch). Attach a string to hang across one end of the room (not against the wall). Clip the pins holding the index cards onto the string with the letters WWJD facing the players. Determine a 'shooting line' ~ about 2-4 feet. Players take turns shooting a rubber band at the cards. If a player hits a card, turn it around and discuss the question with the group. If you're playing in teams, that team must respond. If a player doesn't hit a card, play passes to the next person or team. Play continues like this until all the cards are turned over and discussed. If you're playing on teams, the team to hit all the cards and discuss them, is the winning team!
Bible Boggle Pick a Bible category. Example: "Books of the Bible", "Kings of the Bible", "Women or Men of the Bible", "Psalms 23" (or any chapter that the kids have studied), "Beatitudes", "Spiritual Gifts", "Books beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet", etc. Give the players one minute to list as many items as they can think of dealing with that category. After one minute, the kids take turns reading their list. If two or more players have the same item, they must cross it off. Players get one point for each item that remains on the list. (The teacher is the judge - and makes the decision of what is allowed for a point.) Do as many categories that you have time for and the one with the most points wins.
Bible Name Game The Bible can be divided into 10 parts, five in the Old Testament & five in the New Testament (below is a Protestant version but it can easily be adapted to a Catholic version).
OLD TESTAMENT Law - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy History - Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Esther, Nehemiah, Esther Poetry - Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon Major prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel Minor prophets - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
NEW TESTAMENT Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John History - Acts Paul's letters - Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon Other letters - Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude, The Future - Revelation
Divide the room into 5 sections and post the name of each section on each area. Call out the name of a book and have the kids race to the section of the room with that book in it.
Bible Tic-Tac-Toe For Two Players or Two Teams. You will need a pack of Bible trivia questions to play this game. You can write your own questions, or purchase them. If playing in a class, divide class into two teams, "X's" and "O's". Draw a large Tic-Tac-Toe grid on the chalkboard and number the squares 1-9. Players/teams take turns answering the Bible trivia questions called out by the teacher. Players may confer with their teammates to give an answer. If a correct answer is given, that player or team scores an "X" or "O" in one of the numbered positions of their own choosing on the grid. If a player/team is unable to answer a question, the opposing team may have an opportunity to answer it and score an "X" or "O". If no one is able to answer the question, the grid space remains blank and play continues as before. First player or team to get three in a row wins!
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