Parenting is more than comforting children when they fall down, or making sure they get proper nutrition, and brush their teeth, and so on. Parents are responsible for their children’s spiritual training as well.
You can constantly point a child towards the Lord, even from the time he or she is born, by talking to them about Jesus. You can pass a knowledge of the Bible on to them by daily using Bible story books and other devotional materials appropriate for their age.
Following are some links to free online devotionals for toddlers, preschoolers and young children. These short, illustrated books, booklets and presentations will grab your little one’s attention and make him want to learn more about Jesus.
Free Devotional Books:
Big Thoughts for Little Minds – This series of five books brings key Bible passages to life in a relatable way for young children. The books include simple text, colorful illustrations and points for discussion to help little kids better understand Biblical principles. Click the following links to read or download the books for free:
currently on sale for less than $1.00 each)
Jesus and Me – A series of books with messages from Jesus for children on themes such as: waking up, bedtime, kindness, healthy habits, learning new things, guardian angels, and protection. Click the following links to read or download the books for free:
Free Devotional Series:
Bright Pebbles – Bright Pebbles is a collection of Christian and character-building books written for children ages four on up. Each devotional is built on a Bible verse, and explains to a child in simple terms what the principles of that verse mean and how it applies to daily living. Bright Pebbles are made by My Wonder Studio and there are currently over 85 of these devotionals posted online in pdf format for easy downloading. Additionally, a compilation of two books from this series can be downloaded in epub and mobi format.
My little talks with Jesus – An ongoing series of short, devotional articles where Jesus talks with little children about day to day issues such as happiness, trying new things, forgiveness, going to sleep at night and more. This series is created by My Wonder Studio and all articles are in .pdf format for easy downloading.
One kind deed at a time – A series of ten devotional articles on the topic of kindness, consideration and forgiveness. Each devotional includes a Bible verse and practical ideas to put the article into action. This series is created by My Wonder Studio and all articles are in .pdf format for easy downloading.
Other Free Devotionals for Little Kids
Devotionals from the Freekidstories Website - Freekidstories offers a range of free children’s devotional resources for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, including presentations of songs, illustrated simplified Bible verses and short devotional articles.
My Wonder Studio - The My Wonder Studio website is dedicated to creating free children’s stories, devotionals and activities that can be read online or downloaded at no charge. You can find materials for children ages 0-5 years here or check out stories and devotionals listed by category.
Nurture, Inspire, Teach: Nurture, Inspire, Teach is a website dedicated to providing very affordable online devotionals for children, teenagers and parents. Following are links to the site’s children’s devotionals for little ones. Free sample are available on each page, while full devotionals booklets are available for $1.00 apiece:
You can also find numerous free Bible stories online that your little ones are sure to enjoy. Some of these are available as PowerPoints while others are in .pdf and/or ebook format.
Image courtesy of Microsoft Clipart
Updated June 2017!
Families that share that common connection with God, whom the Bible calls love itself (1 John 4:8), are closer, more loving, more unified, and have far fewer serious problems among themselves than families that don’t. Why?—Because they have the most important things in common, besides a clear standard of right and wrong—the spiritual guidance and support they need to make the right decisions and stick to them.
Click on the links for free illustrated and simplified Bible stories for children:
Basic Old Testament Stories – Simple, colorful and nicely illustrated Old Testament stories for children. The stories found here include Creation, Noah and the Ark, Joseph, Moses, David and Goliath and Jonah. All stories are in PowerPoint presentation format; just right click an image and then select “save file as” or “save as” to download any Bible story onto your computer.
Basic New Testament Stories – New Testament stories found at this link include Jesus Calls 12 Disciples, The Good Samaritan, Jesus feeds 5,000, Jesus calms a storm, Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar, Lazarus lives again, The 10 Lepers, The Lost Sheep and The Prodigal Son.
The above stories are in PowerPoint presentation format; just right click an image and then select “save file as” or “save as” to download any Bible story onto your computer. All the books that can be downloaded from the list below are in .pdf format and there are some that can also be downloaded in epub or mobi ebook format
Tiny Bible Treasures: Tiny Bible Treasures is a series of New Testament Bible stories illustrated by French artist Didier Martin. The stories have large illustrations and a minimal amount of text, making them ideal for very small children. These can either be read online or downloaded in .pdf format from the site itself or from Scribd. Following are links to the stories available in this series so far:
Free Bible Books
These Bibles for babies, toddlers and preschoolers are available from various publishers. Some may be downloaded; others no; however, all are ideal for very young children and can be viewed online for free.
My First Baby Bible – Unique children’s bible created using photo illustrations of babies and young children. Includes six short, attention-grabbing stories in both English and Spanish that young kids are sure to enjoy; these are Creation, Noah, Moses, David, Daniel and the Birth of Jesus. Created by Gold Quill; available to read online and download.
You n’ Me Baby Bible – This is a preview of the full book and includes eight different Old Testament stories (Creation, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Ruth and Hannah). Created by Scandinavia Publishing. (can be read online but not downloaded)
Great Adventures of the Bible – This is a preview of the full book and includes six basic New Testament stories for children. (Christmas, Jesus as a child, Feeding the 5,000, Jesus and the children, Resurrection of Jesus). Created by Aurora Productions. Available to read online and download.
Stories of the Bible – Basic Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments for children, courtesy of Scandinavia Publishing (can be read online but not downloaded)
Parables of the Bible – Parables of Jesus for toddlers. Includes the Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Prodigal Son, House on the Rock and the Lost Coin. Courtesy of Scandinavia Publishing; can be read online but not downloaded.
Angel Stories in the Bible – Stories of Angels from the Old Testament and New Testament. Text is short and to the point and the attractive illustrations are sure to catch the attention of any toddler or preschooler. Produced by Scandinavia Publishing; can be read online but not downloaded.
Ready – Set – Find!: Short Bible story books for children with simple text. These books give the children an opportunity to participate in the event by finding key people and things in the illustration. Available from Scandinavia Publishing (can read online but not download). Following are the books in this series:
Joy! Kids Bible Stories: The Good and Beautiful Jesus
Joy! Kids Bible Stories: Trusting God
Joy! Kids Bible Stories: God’s Miracles
Joy! Kids Bible Stories: Friendship
YesKids Bible Stories about Love
YesKids Bible Stories about God’s Greatness
YesKids Bible Stories about Jesus
Bible Stories: Obedience – This bilingual book (English and Spanish) features four well known Bible stories about obedience. Can be read online and downloaded
The Life of Jesus for Children – Contains two dozen stories from the life of Jesus, starting with His birth and ending with His return. It is ideal for older preschoolers but can be read to younger children. You can also download this ebook for kids for free in epub or mobi format.
The Story of Jesus for Preschoolers – Bilingual book (English and Spanish) about the life of Jesus. Unlike many other Bible books, this booklet focuses on the reason why Jesus came to earth instead of recounting specific miracles and parables in depth. It is ideal for toddlers and very young children and can be downloaded as well as read online.
Bible Passages and Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer – A simple yet engaging presentation of the Lord’s Prayer, with text in English and Spanish. Can be read online or downloaded.
The Beatitudes – The Beatitudes for children. This presentation has colorful, attention grabbing pictures with simple text that young kids can easily understand. Can be read online or downloaded.
The Blessing - "The Lord bless you and keep you...". Text is in English and Spanish and the booklet can be read online or downloaded.
Psalm 23 - The well-known "The Lord is my Shepherd" psalm. The book has colorful illustrations, text in English and Spanish and can be downloaded.
Psalm 100 - A psalm of praise to the Lord. The book has colorful illustrations, text in English and Spanish and can be downloaded.
Psalm 148 - A Creation Praise for children. The colorful illustrations and easy to remember text will make it easy for kids to learn this psalm of gratitude to God. The book is in English and Spanish and can be read online or downloaded
Dial Into Heaven - The Dial into Heaven series is a fun and exciting way of introducing toddlers to the prayers and promises of the Bible (The following story books can be read online but not downloaded)
Updated June 2017!
A short list of Father’s Day stories, videos songs and activities for children that will help kids fully appreciate Dad and all that he is and does.
Activities and Coloring Pages
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
On the way home after an evening outing with some friends, I asked my youngest if he had a good time.
“Sort of,” he answered. “But the kids on the playground were teasing me.”
“About what?” I asked. He sometimes reacts strongly to comments, so I assumed it wasn’t a big deal.
“Eric said he saw a picture of me sleeping while doing homework, and then Leslie said she saw it too, and all the kids started laughing.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I had posted a photo on Facebook of my son sleeping at his desk, his homework beside him. I had thought it was cute. My son puts his all into his activities, but when he’s tired, he’s tired. And he sleeps.
It runs in my family. My siblings and I know that once we reach a certain point of fatigue, we can’t push past it. Sleep is the only solution. My son has somehow learned that early. When he’s tired, even if it’s when we’re about to sing happy birthday at a party or when he’s supposed to be finishing up his homework, he will sleep.
My husband and I understand that and work around it. Our son’s teachers, for the most part, have also been understanding that at times he might fall asleep at his desk. I try to get him to bed on time when he’ll have an early morning or a long day.
Parents and teachers generally understand these things. Other kids often don’t.
When I posted the photo, I didn’t think about the possibility of parents showing their kids the “cute” post, which in the mind of a child might not be “cute” but “silly” or “funny” or “embarrassing.” Material to tease with.
Something I had done unthinkingly caused my son hurt. It cast him in a negative light in the minds of his friends. They probably forgot about it a minute later, and they were all playing again. But that moment, I had to admit to my boy that it wasn’t their fault; it was mine.
I pulled up the Facebook photo and showed it to my son, saying, “I posted this photo of you the other day. I didn’t think anyone would tease you about it.” Then I promised, “I won’t post anything of you unless I ask you first.” I already have that agreement with other members of my immediate family, but I didn’t think it would matter to my youngest. I was wrong.
It’s strange I would make a mistake like that. Thinking back to my own childhood, my strongest emotions resulted from teasing. I can remember half a dozen separate occasions, before the age of five, where I was brought to tears by teasing. Painful moments tend to remain in the mind and the heart long after the echo of the actual words fade.
How often do my own words or side comments have the same effect as those children on the playground? When I’m trying to focus on work, and after one too many interruptions, snap at the kids, telling them to leave me alone so I can get something done. Or when they’re arguing and I can’t stand the contention, so I tell them I don’t care who said what and whose fault it is—I just want peace.
After careful reflection, I vowed to see every moment of life through the eyes of my child.That’s not a promise I can make, nor one I can keep, but it is something I can try. Not a once-and-for-all decision, but a moment-by-moment choice. To slow down. To think. To pray. To love.
Photo and article courtesy of Activated magazine. Used by permission.
By Joyce Suttin
Bo was our golden lab who loved to swim in our pool. He lived for his exercise, and the pool was his domain. One day, my son was learning new strokes and tried the dead man’s float. Bo decided his boy was in imminent danger and jumped into the pool to rescue him. Instinctively, he pushed my son’s head up and held onto him with his paws in an effort to save his life. My poor son choked and sputtered as he tried to keep Bo away and ended up with water in his lungs and a chest full of scratches.
I praised Bo as he shook water all over me in his zealousness to get my opinion of the event. I knew that he’d accomplished more harm than good, but I could relate, because I know I’ve often done the same thing in my interactions with others.
I was talking with someone the other day about their relationship with their teenager and offered my advice. After forty-some years of parenting, grand-parenting, and teaching teenagers, my wisdom was really quite simple: “Don’t take things personally.”
It’s hard not to react with annoyance, anger, or sensitivity when you feel like you are being rebuffed. It’s hard not to take unkind words or actions personally, not to think of all the times when there were other things you wanted to do, but you stopped and listened and attended to your kids’ needs.
It’s hard to stand on the edge of the proverbial pool and watch and pray, knowing you have said all that needs to be said and done what you could. Now is the time to just step back a bit and let them try. Let them make the clumsy dive. Let them try the new strokes. Let them imitate their friends. But don’t jump into the pool like Bo and try to rescue them prematurely. Just watch and wait in case they call for help. And pray. Because in the end, prayer and unconditional love are really what will make a difference.
If they eventually call out to you, don’t berate them for all the times they didn’t. If they knock on your door, don’t tell them you’re too busy. Be the anchor. Be the rock. Be the stable place in the unstable world and let them know that things will be all right. Then treasure that moment with your arms around them again, and give them faith to jump back in the pool.
Joyce Suttin is a retired teacher and writer and lives in San Antonio, USA.
Text and image courtesy of Activated magazine.
Teenagers and young adults are especially vulnerable to substance abuse and getting addicted. Early intervention by parents, family, and educators can go a long way. However, many parents get confused when they learn their kids are using drugs and have no clue how to proceed. If you or anyone close to you is having trouble with a struggling teen, this guide has everything you need to know.
By Anna Perlini
My son Jonathan was born in a small Indian village, during the time my husband and I were serving there as volunteers. Like many Indian kids, he grew up eating rice, dahl, chapatis, and the incredible, colorful variety of tropical fruit available at every street corner.
Although he wasn’t yet five when we moved back to Europe, it took him a while to get adjusted to the new environment and particularly the new foods. At first, he looked very suspiciously at and dissected every bit of pasta on his plate. He had always been a slow eater, but he surely took his time to embrace Italian cuisine! Eventually, his memories of India and Indian food did fade. In those days, globalization hadn’t quite kicked in yet, and the only produce available in Italian supermarkets was seasonal Italian produce.
However, passing by a newly opened delicacies store one day, I spotted a mango! It was quite expensive, but Jonathan’s 11th birthday was just around the corner, and I thought it would be such a great treat for him to get to savor one of his favorite early childhood fruits.
I bought and packaged the mango, and invited my preteen son for a walk. Then we stopped on a bench and I solemnly presented my gift, telling him it would bring back memories from the past. Jonathan slowly opened the package and held the colorful mango in his hands for what seemed like a long time. No reaction.
“Mom, I really can’t remember. Sorry.”
I felt a bit disappointed. “Well, you should still try it. I promise you, you loved them when you were small.” With the same suspicious look he’d given his first Italian dishes years before, Jonathan took a small bite. Then another one, then more. Still, no reaction. Then … the seed appeared, and Jonathan’s eyes lit up.
“Mom, now I remember! I do! I remember how fun it was sucking on the seed!” And along with that memory, many more started rushing through this thinker of a boy. We talked and talked, reminiscing on other events and memories from the past.
From this episode with my son, I remember thinking how important it is to hold on just a bit longer when things don’t seem to click or make sense. As a mother, it was another confirmation that whatever we sow in our children’s youngest years will never be forgotten. It might seem like it is at times … but wait till they get to the seed!
Courtesy of Activated magazine; used by permission. Photo by Free Images via Freepik.com
Your child's first day of school or kindergarten is always a moment for pause. Suddenly your toddler is no longer and your 4 or 5 year old is heading out to pastures anew. While it is an exciting time, it can also be quite stressful for both the child and the parents, so removing first day jitters is a number one priority. Good organization and planning will help some of the way, along with being alert for signs of a child's unease and aiming to relieve any potential for distress.
Visit the school or kindergarten in advance
Many schools and kindergartens encourage the student and parents to attend the place before term starts. This way, the child and parents can both become familiar with the location, layout and look of the school. Look for such areas as the classroom, bathroom and cafeteria. This will be a good visual reassurance for your child and will help you to discuss things about the classroom, grounds, lunch area with your child in advance and during school year.
Meet the teacher
It is very important to meet the teacher in advance if possible. That way, both you and your child will feel comfortable with knowing her or him before class commences. This will also ensure that your child recognizes a familiar face immediately upon the first day of class.
Obtain the school handbook
It is important to know the expectations of the school in advance. Ask for a copy and read it well. If you have any questions about the rules, the requests for money etc., ask them as soon as possible. It is also important to work through the rules with your child so that she or he is aware of what is expected during school attendance.
Shop together to obtain school supplies
A big part of the fun is getting school supplies and this should be a shared experience. Following the supplies list given to you by your school, within the boundaries it gives you can allow your child to select his or her own favorite items to take to school. Often there will be leeway on a pencil case style or name stickers etc. that will allow you to personalize your child's things. If the school supplies most of the items already, you can still buy some personalized items such as a pencil case or backpack.
Obtain a class schedule
This will allow you to discuss the day's activities with your child in advance. Try to link this with the things that you do everyday so that the child begins to see the connection between daily schedules of things to do and routine that all of us practice.
From the start, it is really important to get into a routine of being organized, both for you and for your child. Together pack the backpack with the school items. Together select the outfit to wear (or lay out the uniform). In the morning, it can be a great thing to start preparing lunches together as early on as possible. That way, your child has a stake in making healthy lunches and will eventually evolve into packing his or her own lunch a grade or so down the track. Early good habits last.
Reassure your child
Spend time together before school commences talking about school, about your own love of learning and about the friendships that develop at school. Boost your child's confidence by telling positive experiences and of all the things your child will enjoy about school.
Be supportive but also learn to let go
On the first day, give plenty of hugs and reassurance but also be balanced and let go. If you have done a good job beforehand of emphasizing all the positives of attending school and you have involved your child in all the preparations, this should be an exciting and fun opportunity for your child and he or she should feel more willing to attend. Tell your child you'll be waiting for her or him at day's end and be sure to be on time!
—A Christmas adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13
If I decorate my house perfectly with holly, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny balls, but do not show love, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, sing carols in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. DVDs will get scratched, toys will be forgotten, scarves and hats will be lost, a new PC will become outdated, but the gift of love will endure.
Courtesy of Activated! magazine. Used by permission. Photo: Krystine Lovett via Flickr