“For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her” (Prov 3:14-16).
Can you and your children identify the proverb illustrated in the picture above? It is in chapter 2 of Proverbs.
The Book of Proverbs is full of wisdom — true, godly wisdom that arms us for wise living! Here’s some ideas to help you saturate your children’s hearts with that wisdom!
Read one proverb before each meal and discuss it as you eat together.
Illustrate a proverb, copy its text onto the drawing, and post it in the house where all can be reminded of its teaching throughout the day.
Play “Match-the-Proverb”. Write one phrase of a Proverb on a 3×5 card, and the second phrase on a second card. (If you have two colors of cards, use one for the first portion of the verse and another for the second.) Make 10-20 pairs of these cards. Spread out all the cards on a table. Pick up one card and look for the other card that completes the proverb. When the children are familiar with the verses, add to the challenge by turning the cards over and using them to play a memory game. Turn one card over and try to turn over the card that completes the verse.
Dramatize a proverb. Part of the family can act out a proverb while the rest of the family guesses which one it is. For young children, the actors should reveal which chapter the proverb is in. For older or more knowledgeable children, add to the challenge by testing their knowledge from the entire book of Proverbs.
Picture the Proverb by setting up scenes with Legos, Playmobil, dolls, stuffed animals, or other toys to demonstrate a particular proverb. Have the family guess which proverb is being illustrated. Again, you can have children identify the proverb from one chapter, or test their knowledge of the entire book.
Make your own book of illustrated Proverbs. Set up scenes with toys or with family members. Photograph each scene. Some proverbs may require more than one photo to complete the thought. Then plug these into a digital photo book with a site like Mixbook or Picaboo, designating the chapter that each proverb is taken from. Print your bound book and include it on your bookshelf of children’s books. Use it during family worship, or share it with your children’s friends. This can also be done with your children’s original drawings of Proverbs. Scan them, and put them into a digital book format. (This idea could also simply be put into a 3-ring notebook instead of a bound book.)
Memorize the Proverbs. Memorize passages or entire chapters, or select particular verses that will teach wisdom in areas of need. Write a proverb on a whiteboard, and progressively erase more words as you all recite the verse. Offer a reward to those who memorize entire chapters of Proverbs. Remember, wisdom is more precious than gold and silver. This is a challenging memorization goal, and an appropriate time to reward children for their work.
Choose a topic and read the book of Proverbs. Have the children raise their hands or call out when they hear verses that address that topic. Write down each verse as you find it, and compile your own collection of proverbs that teach about that specific subject.
Make up stories, written or oral, that illustrate the truths of Proverbs. Tell these to your children as they settle down in bed at night, while you drive down the road, or while you weed the garden. Have the children make up their own stories to share, or encourage them to write and illustrate their stories to share with others.
Play “Finish-the-Proverb”! Recite one phrase of a proverb, and see who can complete the proverb.
Write one half of a proverb on the bathroom mirror with a wipe-off marker, and see who can recite the other half first. Then let that person write the next proverb on the mirror.
Play “I’m Thinking of a Proverb”. Name a topic from Proverbs and see who can find or recite a proverb related to it. Make this a contest or race, if desired.
Play “Who Am I?” Give clues, based on the teaching of Proverbs, about a certain type of person. For example, “I am like a door turning on its hinges,” as a clue for the sluggard. Others then guess what kind of person you are describing.
Design your own board game that encourages the family to become familiar with the book of Proverbs. Pattern it after a game you are already familiar with. You will learn a lot about Proverbs even while you are making the game together.
While you are studying the proverbs, remember and discuss this proverb, from the opening chapters of the book:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10, ESV).
God is a mighty and all-knowing God. He is to be feared, reverenced, and worshipped. We will never be wise until we recognize how little we are and how big God is, how sinful we are and how holy God is, how hopeless our condition is, and how gracious God has been in providing His Son to suffer the punishment for our sin. He is the one who saves us. He is the one who grants us wisdom.
For more ideas for studying the book of Proverbs, check out Doorposts’ Hidden Treasures: Searching for Wisdom, a tool to help parents teach the wisdom of Proverbs to their children. Besides its many ideas and study helps, this book also includes three drawings for each chapter of Proverbs. Read a chapter with the children while they look at a picture from that chapter, and see if they can identify the proverb!