When I was in need of new memory verse activities, I had my son give me a word for each letter of the alphabet. I then came up with ways to use his words in activities. Here is a complete set of activities, A-Z:
Apple: 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.
Bell: Divide the class into two groups. The teacher recites the verse, making a mistake. Each time the teacher makes a mistake, teams compete to ring the bell first. Teams confer to correct the mistake. Both teams then say the verse correctly. Points can be awarded, if desired. If a team rings the bell when a mistake has not been made, a point is deducted.
Car: 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. The winning team is the one who has its verse in the correct order and all its drivers safely home first!
Dare: 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…
Eat: 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 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 Jello (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.
Find: Have an egg hunt. Hide plastic eggs with words from the verse throughout the area. Have one color for each team (like all pink eggs for one team and all green eggs for another team), OR write 1 or 2 on each egg so the teams will only pick up their own eggs. First team to find all their eggs and assemble the words in order in an egg carton wins!
Garbage: Attach words from the verse to empty, clean grocery containers (like frosting containers, baby food jars, butter bowls, jello 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!
Heart: Use a plastic, wood, or paper heart and play one round of Hot Potato. The child who is caught with the heart when the music stops must say the memory verse and choose one other child to give the heart to. This new child must then say the verse and give the heart to another child, etc. until all the children have said the verse.
Ice: 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: Have each child jump and say the next word of the verse. The children should get quicker and quicker at this after they’ve said the verse a couple times.
Kitten: 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!
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 and 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.)
Vest: 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.
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 verse. 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…
by Angela Simmons