A few months ago I was given a copy of “My First Hands-On Bible” while at Group’s Kidmin Conference. It seemed to be just the right age for my son, so I was anxious to get home and see how it worked as a Bible he and I could read together.This Bible appears to be a cooperative project of Tyndale Kids and Group Publishing. This Bible intended for preschool age children is very unique from most other children’s Bibles aimed at this age group for two main reasons:
- The Bible follows Groups philosophy of R.E.A.L learning (Relational, Experiential, Applicable and Learner-Based). Every Bible story includes questions and activities that engage kids in R.E.A.L learning. This is not a passive children’s bible, but requires active engagement.
- This preschool Bible actually uses real Bible text. Where most beginner Bibles are edited down into a much easier way to read, My First Hands-On Bible used abridged passages from the New Living Translation.
My First Hands-On Bible contains 85 different stories from the Bible, most of the stories you would expect to find from a beginners children’s Bible. The Illustrations are excellent, modern and fitting for a preschooler as illustrations from some beginner Bibles look and feel dated. On the pages containing the story, you’ll find simple activities in the margins. Although the text for each story is short, the activities break it up and make it fun – which also bolsters learning and understanding. Little handprints in the text prompt you exactly when you can do the simple activity. These activities are simple like moving your hands in a specific way or marching around the room quickly.
The end of each story contains several elements. Each story ends with a section called the “Jesus Connection.” I’m not sure if this was inspired by “The Jesus Storybook Bible,” but aI greatly appreciate it’s inclusion. Essentially the “Jesus Connection” points what happened in this story to who Jesus was or what Jesus did. This is excellent as most kids (and adults) loose the connection of what a particular book or story has to do with the redemptive nature of Jesus and his mission. Each story ends with two characters that kids will recognize from any of Group Publishing’s curriculum, Pockets the Kangaroo and Cuddles the lamb. Pocket’s ends the story with a prayer that ties the story into a response to God. Cuddles leads the reader into an activity that is a little more involved. It might be something you do throughout the day, during a meal or even while in the car. Each one is different. Usually each story has two activities that you can do with your child. Finally, there is a section called Let’s Talk. It’s two age-appropriate questions inspired by the story that help kids think about how what they read interacts with their lives.
I’ve been using this Bible for a little over a month and it’s been wonderful. My son, who is four and a half really seems to enjoy it. Some of the questions are a little over his head, but often as we talk about the subject and the questions, he often “gets it.” Too often we use this Bible at bedtime, which is unfortunate since there are several activities that we can’t do.
I highly recommend this Bible for the 4-6 year old child (although 6 year olds are going to be getting close to being done with it). Honestly, I think that this Bible is better designed as a devotional Bible. If a family is looking for ways that it can have family devotions, this Bible is probably all you need. With a handful of activities, some great questions and just a little preparation (probably 5-10 minutes at the most), any parent could lead a great family devotion for preschoolers that will create strong memories, bolster biblical learning and be fun.
To order your own copy, click here.