Devotions are usually a happy time in our family when we have them, but that requires us both remembering and making time for them. That usually happens best when we have a good resource on hand that doesn’t require too much planning on our part! We’ve found that rotating between Bible stories, theology readings, and Christian allegories keeps things interesting, and gives our kids a mix of perspectives on the Bible’s teachings. Here are a few of our favorites from these categories that are appropriate for the preschool through early elementary years.
Hinds Feet on High Places for children
Our daughter Alana adores this book. A beautifully illustrated allegory of brokenness and redemption, Hinds’ Feet follows the journey of Much Afraid from the valley of Fearing to the High Places where she will live with her Shepherd. Some of the discussion questions are a little cheesy, but the story is wonderful—an experience to come back to again and again.
Our cousins told us about this out of print book, which is a good next step after modern story Bibles like The Jesus Storybook Bible because it doesn’t filter out the more violent tales. The text is often directly that of the original scriptures, with some euphemisms to replace adult concepts (for instance, the story of David and Bathsheba says that David “took Bathsheba and treated her as if she were his wife.”). Reading it to our kids and observing their responses has renewed our awareness of the horror of some scriptural anecdotes that we’ve become somewhat used to hearing, like the death of Absalom and the massacre of 3,000 Israelites after they erected the golden calf. The pictures are unique, stunning illustrations painted by a monk in the 1960’s.
Though it doesn’t include many pictures, this book contains ninety-three short stories of vivid missionary experiences all over the world. Many center around miraculous happenings, and they’re divided by continent to give you a picture of God’s kingdom developing in various regions. We spent a summer reading through these and imagining God’s kingdom work.
This is an awesome collection of stories about two siblings, Caleb and Cassie, who discover all kinds of biblical and theological truths. We absolutely love this one. The stories are framed around the children’s catechism, and they illustrate so many concepts in captivating and illuminating ways. Our kids begged read more of these each night!
This is our son Drew’s favorite. It’s engrossing and beautifully written, and presents all the central events of Christian and Christiana’s journey in vivid detail. We found this story very difficult to put down, and you certainly can read it in large stretches, though the short chapters make great daily devotionals.
A systematic theology for kids, this book presents one theological concept in each reading, illustrating it with a picture. Our kids were interested if not engrossed in it, and we appreciated that it covered a few points of theology we hadn’t thought to introduce another way, especially eschatological ideas. Many children’s curriculums begin so clearly with Creation and the Fall, but not all of them seem to make it all the way to heaven and eternity.
This was one of the few devotionals we could find that was both good and age appropriate for really little kids. Verses from Proverbs are illustrated with cute pictures, questions, and prayers. They’re short enough to keep the attention of 2 and 3 year olds, and two companion books, Wise Words to Trust and Wise Words to Follow, are equally sweet.
This book is unique because it just hints at particular Bible stories, sometimes by showing pictures of them, while maintaining a steady commentary on the central theme of the Bible, namely, “God’s people in His place under His forever rule,” which is a recurring chorus of the text. Our kids loved this even as young toddlers because the pictures are big and the amount of text on each page is small, so it allows for lots of great page turning. It also includes audio CD’s so kids can listen while they read. I’ve learned a lot from this book myself about what ideas are central in the Scriptures. Kevin DeYoung’s The Biggest Story is a slightly older version of this idea that accomplishes the same kind of thing, though we found this one even more compelling.
Have a preschooler and wondering how you can best prepare them for what lies ahead - not only spiritually, but academically and emotionally? Make plans to attend our free webinar this week on how to help your child be ready for kindergarten!