Helping Primaries Study for the Bible Bee

8:00 AM

Hi everyone!  Some of you have asked for tips for helping younger children prepare for the Bible Bee, and I've finally gotten around to writing this post.  It's so wonderful that so many little ones are spending their summer in the Word of God!  I'm thankful that they're spending their time in a profitable way.  God's Word doesn't return without accomplishing its purpose!  May John 13-15 be a blessing to all of you.  Now for the tips...

1.  First off, use the right side side of your brain :).  Be creative and make up games.  I've learned the hard way that lectures do not work for Primaries.  What seems to work the best and hold their attention well is games that help them learn the Discovery Journal or memory passages.  I first discovered using games for Bible Bee study in 2012 when I started playing the Greek matching game.  In 2014, when my then nine and seven year-old brothers qualified for Nationals, Joy, Delie, and I took turns studying with them every week.  In my study, I usually just talked about the things that I had learned, but it was frustrating when I could tell that they weren't paying attention, so I started using more creative means to help them.  Many games can be adapted to Bible Bee, including Pictionary, Catch Phrase, Gestures, Hedbanz, and Apples to Apples (you would need to make your own cards).  I haven't played all of those suggestions yet myself, but I'm hoping to try out some of them this Bible Bee season.

George playing Gestures at last year's Bible Bee Family Night
2.  One of the most effective things is probably the easiest once you get started doing it.  Having conversations about the study and verses while you go about your chores and the rest of the day is very helpful.  Even if you're just talking to another older sibling about what you've learned, the younger siblings will pick up on what you're saying and will probably remember it a lot better than you would think.  You can also ask them questions ("What is the Greek word for truth?") to help them review everything that they've learned.

3.  Be sure to listen to lots of Scripture songs and audio Bibles throughout the day.  I've noticed that while listening to things helps me, it seems to be even more effective for young children.  I don't have any scientific studies to back this up, but I'm guessing that children are more auditory than teens and adults.  Maybe it's because children don't read as well, so when they listen to an audio Bible, they can actually focus on what it is saying rather than having to struggle through the reading part.

4.  Have them memorize anything and everything.  If they've never memorized all their Local passages before, then that's probably a good starting place.  If they have, but haven't ever known them very well, then you can try to help them work on getting them word-perfect.  If they've done that, then you can encourage them to memorize the key verses in John 13-15.  And if they're just really motivated (or if you are for them) and you think that they can handle it, then encourage them to memorize John 13-15.

5.  Check on how they're doing.  Depending on the child, you may need to do this once a day or once a week.  Just asking them, "How is the Discovery Journal coming?" helps.  If you don't remind them, they'll probably forget all about it.  My alumni sister, Joy, has been my soon-to-be-seven year-old brother's accountability partner.  This being William's first year, he's still learning about getting into the routine of Bible Bee.  He needed a little bit of motivation, so Joy made a deal with him that if he finished his Discovery Journal before her, she would buy ice cream for him.  If Joy finishes hers first, then he has to buy ice cream for her.  Not too long after they made this deal, William was a week ahead of Joy.  Once a week, my mom also tests each of us on our verses, and we're expected to be on track with them.

6.  Have them take lots of practice tests.  Especially if they're home schooled, they probably won't have a lot of experience taking tests on a computer.  If it's their first time, it might be a good idea to take some practice tests with them to help them analyze the different options and work through the test within the time limit.  At first, it might be good to just encourage them to take tests on Quizlet, that way they aren't overwhelmed with the time limit.  But eventually, they should probably take a practice test on ClassMarker so that they'll have practice with the real thing (I will probably post some links to practice tests on here a week or so before Locals).

William testing Thomas on verses last Bible Bee Nationals season
7.  Give rewards.  Many of you reading this are Seniors and are probably naturally pretty motivated, but sometimes Primaries need an extra boost.  Small things can make a big difference.  For Nationals, my brothers had a rewards system with memorizing and reviewing verses.  You'd be surprised at how well M&Ms work.  When they finished memorizing all their verses, we went out for ice cream to celebrate.  I think that this helped them when they only had that last one hundred to go and were feeling a little worn out.  You may not want to do ice cream and M&Ms, but some sort of reward can really motivate them.

I hope that this was helpful to all of you!  There were a few other things that I thought of, but this post was running a little long, so I'll just end with that.  Maybe some of this was helpful to some of you Seniors, too.  Who doesn't like having games and ice cream as part of their Bible Bee study?! :)

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  1. Great post, Anna! I'll have to convince my parents to buy me ice cream sometime... maybe if I finish John 13-15 or all the Nats verses or something xP Just wondering, is that a pillow made out of a BB shirt in the one picture? XD

    1. Well, a whiteboard is pretty good, even if it isn't edible ;). Yes, that pillow is made out of an old BB T-shirt. Joy made it for me a few Christmases ago.

  2. Thanks for all the tips! I'm going to have to try them with my primary brother that likes doing somersaults while he says his verses. :)

    1. You're welcome! Haha! One of my brothers likes to jump up and try to touch the door frame while reciting, and another likes to stand on his head :). We enjoyed meeting y'all at Game Show! Lord willing, we'll see y'all in less than four months! :D

  3. Fantastic ideas! Gotta get the brains moving around here in some creative ways. Thanks for sharing!!!


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