16 games, activities and ideas to help memorise the Bible
If you don't remember memory verses after this, you're really not trying!
Below are a whole stack of ideas for helping young people get into memorising the bible.
1) SMS Memory Verse
Write the memory verse out on a piece of paper using only the numbers used to write the words in an sms message, ie. the numbers that correspond to the letters on the keypad. (Eg. “843 56733 = “the lord”). Obviously there will be a number of words that will correspond to a pattern of numbers but that’s all part of the fun for the kids to work out the memory verse. They can use their mobile phones for this game to help them work it out. Split the group into however many teams needed and if there is a person on each team who has credit and is willing to spend it, then you could say whoever is first to text the memory verse to the leader’s mobile wins. Otherwise the winner can be whoever is first to decode it and write it out correctly.
2) Mad Gab Memory Verse
This is a good game for introducing a new memory verse. Just like the card game ‘Mad Gab’ from Mattel©. It’s a game of words and phrases, it’s not what you say, it’s what you hear. Say the words “Day Leo Fur Rings” a few times and you’ll find you’re saying. “daily offerings!”, just sound it out. Write up the memory verse in Mad Gab style (eg. “Iron hot ash aimed off day goes bell” = I am not ashamed of the gospel). If it’s a large memory verse split it into sections (ie. If there are 3 sections to the memory verse then make 3 rounds to the game, and when a team has solved the first section, give them the second, and so on til they solve the whole verse). Players work in teams and compete against each other to solve the memory verse first, and when they have solved it, run up to the white board and write it out in full.
3) Buzzer Blanks
This is a good game for introducing a new memory verse. Using a white board, put underscore dashes on the board for every letter in each word of the memory verse eg. Jesus wept = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Divide everybody into 2 groups. Each group elects someone to be the buzzer and another to be the contestant. The ‘buzzer sits on a chair out the front while the contestant stands behind them with their hands on the head of the buzzer, when they want to answer a question the lightly press the buzzer to make the sound for that team. The game is played in rounds so that the each person in the team has an opportunity to be the buzzer or contestant. When a contestant gets a question right they are allowed to select 1 letter of the alphabet (apart from vowels) to be uncovered on the board. Have special rounds where contestants are allowed to choose vowels or solve the memory verse. You will need to prepare at least 26 questions for the game and they can include bible questions, youth group questions, celebrity questions, etc.
4) Jigsaw Puzzle
Write the memory verse on cardboard and then cut it up to form a jigsaw puzzle. Split everyone into groups and give one jigsaw puzzle to each group. The team that pieces the memory verse together first is the winner.
5) Pass the Parcel
Hide a word of the memory verse in each layer of the parcel (with or without prizes). With music playing, pass the parcel around the group till the music stops and then unravel a layer of the parcel. Repeat till all layers are unravelled and all words have been revealed. Have the group place the memory verse in order and say out lout together.
6) Eat Out! Memory Verse
Get 2 disposable paper bowls for each word of the memory verse. Write one memory verse word on each bowl (if it’s a long verse write a few words) so that there is two sets of bowls with the complete memory verse in each set. Split into 2 teams and give one set of bowls to each team. Have each bowl filled with some sot of food (eg. Cereal, crumbled dry weet-bix, chips, custard, etc.) so that the word/s cannot be read underneath. Do a “ready, set, go!” and the team that finishes their food first, arranges the memory verse in proper order, and read it out is the winner.
Warning: You will want to check for food allergies among the contestants first, and let people sit out who really don’t want to be a part of it.
7) Balloon Darts
Print off 2 copies of the memory verse on different coloured paper and put the words of the memory verse into about 5-6 balloons. Blow up the balloons and stick them to the wall. Split the group into 2 teams and give them some darts. The teams won’t know which balloons will have their memory verse words in it. When all the balloons have been popped, the first team to arrange the memory verse and read it out is the winner.
Warning: Don’t let kids go up to the wall until all the balloons have been popped and no one is throwing any darts.
8) Whisper memory verse
This operates just like the Chinese whispers you played at school. Get everyone in a big circle (or into smaller circles if the group is too big, but the bigger the group the better for this game). Tell the memory verse to the first person in the group and then they have to pass it on to the next person by memory, and so on… At the end of the group, see who has the memory verse most accurate. This activity will work as an introductory memory verse activity as well.
9) Application Pictures
Ask the group “what situations would it be useful to know this memory verse?” and then draw pictures of those situations on the white board/butchers paper. The aim is for them to see how memorising the bible is useful in life. Alternatively, you can split them into groups to come up with their own situations and pictures, then present it back to the group.
10) Memory Verse Skits
Split into smaller groups and create a skit that demonstrates how the memory verse might be applied to a real life situation. This is much like “Application Pictures” except it’s “Application Skits”!
11) Memory Verse Relay
Form teams for a relay race where each team member has to run up to the whiteboard and write one word of the memory verse (in correct order) until the entire verse is written. If time permits can do multiple rounds with different instructions e.g. Hop/jump to the whiteboard. Can also do with a memory verse jigsaw puzzle.
12) Pass the Ball
See who knows the memory verse, then write it up on the board. Get everyone to stand in a circle and have a ball to pass around the group. As you catch the ball you say one word of the memory verse and then pass it to another who says the next word, and so on till the memory verse is said in full. Time how long it takes to say the memory verse and try and see how fast the group can say the memory verse. Try to beat the previous time.
13) Newspaper Slice
Divide the memory verse up into sections then divide the youth group into smaller groups. Hand out a newspaper to each group and give 10 mins to slice up words and/or letters out of the newspaper to make up their section of the memory verse and glue onto a piece of paper. Awards for most creative.
14) Memory Verse Song
Split into groups and have each group do the memory verse in a different music genre (eg. Advertising jingle, high school musical, rap, soap opera TV theme song, Opera, Country and Western etc). Record the songs if you have the technology and use them in the coming weeks to remember the verse.
Alternatively, use a memory verse song already written (eg. Colin Buchanan) to teach the memory verse. You can play the song on CD and sing along or play it live! (playing live might be best, because the CD can be a bit lame).
15) Pass the Parcel revision
Teach the memory verse to the group. Make a parcel with prizes in each layer. Have the group sit in a circle and pass the parcel around the group to each person while they say one word of the memory verse each out loud, whoever has the parcel when the memory verse has been said through gets to unwrap a layer. Repeat the process saying the memory verse each time until all the layers have been unwrapped (some kids will miss out on a prize, but this will teach them that life isn’t always fair… they’ve got to learn somewhere!).
16) Total Recall
See who can recall both the memory verses for the term. For an extra challenge you can see how many verses they can recall from the year! Do this activity near the end of term, and even get them to do it in groups sometimes so they can work out the memory verses together by writing down as many as they can recall on a piece of paper.