Have you seen the book Teaching Physics with Toys? Here is the philosophy behind it:
“Science is best understood by providing students with opportunities to make connections between their own world and scientific concepts. What’s more natural than using toys as learning tools to teach science to elementary and middle school students? For teachers and students alike, toys can provide motivational and experiential links between science concepts and everyday experience. “
I think this is brilliant. Not because of this company….but because this is one of the key methods Jesus used to teach truth. He used familiar objects from people’s everyday world to connect them with truth. Physical objects they saw, touched, used, or interacted with on a regular basis. Think about it… He used birds, flowers, fish, money, seeds, rocks, salt, trees, and much more.
If you want the truths you are teaching to stick in the long-term memory of children, then tie the truths to objects that kids are familiar with. And some of the most familiar objects in a kid’s life are toys.
Remember some of your favorite toys growing up? I remember Stretch Armstrong, Atari 2600, G.I. Joe, Lite-Brite, Silly Putty…(okay…I’m dating myself). If those toys had been connected to Biblical truths, I am sure I would not only be thinking about the toys right now, but also about the truths.
Here’s the process…
- Start with the Biblical truth you want to share. This is the basis. The toy or object is simply a way to illustrate the truth.
- Find a familiar toy or object from current kid culture. This may even mean a trip to Toys R’ Us. The more they use the item, the more effectively it will connect the truth to their long term memory.
- Use the familiar toy or object when you teach the lesson to illustrate the truth.
- Encourage the kids to think about the truth each time they see the toy or object you used.
- Encourage the kids to share the truth they learned with a friend when they are playing or hanging out together and see the familiar toy or object.
- Partner with parents. Share with them the truth and toy or object you used, so they can do the same at home. Encourage them to also look for ways they can tie truth into toys or objects from their child’s everyday world.
I have personally seen the effectiveness of this many times. I remember teaching the kids that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I had a one way street sign in my hand as I was teaching (no…I didn’t steal it). Over a year later we were on the bus going to camp. We passed a one way sign and one of the boys yelled out from the back of the bus, “Look Pastor Dale, a one way sign…there’s only one way to heaven!” My heart skipped a beat when he said that. I knew the truth had found it’s way into his long term memory.
The next time you stand up to teach kids, why not have a toy or everyday object in your hand? Teaching the Bible with toys works!