I am big on scripture memorization. I have written before how we have done it in the past, all gathered around the dinner table, using the Simply Charlotte Mason method of memorizing and review. This has worked really well (when we actually did it), but for our new Group Time habit, I wanted to try something a little different.
I have been reading Pam Barnhill's Your Morning Basket Guide voraciously, and in it, she gives links to a number of different websites all about setting up a Morning Time or memory work notebook. The notebooks all generally use the same system as I do above, but they print out scriptures, poems, and other works and put them in page protectors instead of hand writing them on notecards. This appealed to me since I want to memorize whole psalms and some poems with the girls this year.
I started skimming through the psalms looking for celebrations of God's goodness and passages that would readily apply to children. I didn't want them to just memorize individual verses this year (as we have done in the past – see 50 Bible Verses Every Christian Should Memorize), instead focusing on longer passages that would provide some context.
10 Psalms for Children to Memorize
Here's what I found. I have printed them all out in the NLT from Bible.com since I think that is the most readable and understandable version:
- Psalm 23 – Isn't this everyone's favorite psalm? The Lord is my shepherd and all that? I know it by heart, and I would like my girls to know it by heart, too.
- Psalm 136 – This is like a conversation. Almost every line starts with Give thanks to the Lord… and ends with His faithful love endures forever. I think it will be easy to learn.
- Psalm 118 – This one is a little longer, taking up 2 entire printed pages, but I think we can learn it if we do it slowly over a month or two.
- Psalm 1 – This one is very short and talks about a person who loves God and how she should behave. Definitely good for kids to have in their pocket.
- Psalm 63 – This is another short one that talks about meditating on God in the morning, noon, and night.
- Psalm 145 – This is a longer psalm about the glory of God. It is pure worship, and I like how it reminds us of all the different ways God is good to us.
- Psalm 51 – This is a longer one about sin and being a sinner. It is a poem of confession and repentance which is really helpful for our kids to learn.
- Psalm 103 – This is another long one about praise and the benefits of having a relationship with God.
- Psalm 133– This is a very short one about the unity of the body of Christ and how God blesses that. It would be a nice one to start out with.
- Psalm 139 – I love this psalm. It includes the verses about being knit together in your mother's womb and being fearfully and wonderfully made. It is a little longer than some of the others on the list, but it would be a wonderful addition to your scripture memory or even just for family reading.
The psalms are a great place to introduce your children to Bible verses that aren't part of the stories that everyone knows. They are poems, usually meant to be sung, but valuable on their own as poetry. The ones I've listed above are short enough to memorize even for younger elementary students (maybe even younger than that if you practice it often enough), and I am looking forward to memorizing them as a family this year.
My plan, as per the Your Morning Basket Guide, is to work on one per school term. Each of our school terms is 6 or 7 weeks, so that should give us ample time to learn one before moving on to the next. Grace is an excellent reader, so she will have a copy of the psalm written out in front of her as we recite (as will I). Allie, who is not yet reading, will have to recite from memory but I'm sure will learn quickly as well.
Download the full text of all 10 Psalms in the International Children's Bible (ICB) translation in a convenient black and white printable below. You can work on memorizing them with your kids, one at a time.
Looking for a method to help your kids learn these Psalms? Check out the family scripture memorization method I share over in this post.
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