Scripture repeatedly emphasizes that a transformed life flows from a transformed heart. This game is a fun way to repeat memory verses about hearts while reinforcing the truth that what’s in our heart overflows into what we think, say, and do. We need to have a heart that loves God.
Making The Game!
Draw hearts on the front of some brightly colored cardstock and then write silly instructions on the back of each one. Or you can visit our resource page to download and print the double-sided heart cards pictured in this article that already have the actions prepared for you! (That’s what I’d do if I were you!) But just in case you’re the type who likes to do things the hard way, here are some suggested actions to help you make your own cards:
· Cover one eye and stand on one foot.
· Lean to the right and clap your hands.
· Touch your knee and pat your head.
· Stomp your feet and nod your head.
· Clap behind your back.
· Lean to the left and close one eye.
· Pat your head and rub your stomach.
· Tilt your head to the left and hop in place.
Once you’ve got your heart action cards ready, it’s game time! (For preschoolers you may want to use simpler actions, but I find older kids get bored if you simply tell them to clap their hands while saying the verse. It’s way more fun to clap your hands while closing one eye and leaning slightly to the left.)
You can use the heart cards to get the kids interested in any memory verse about the heart by letting them flip over one heart card to reveal the silly actions on the back. Have everyone do the silly actions and then say something like…
“We’re doing the actions written on the back of this heart, but did you know ALL of our actions come from our hearts? The condition of our heart determines what we think, say, and do. That reminds me of our memory verse.”
This not only introduces the verse, but it also adds interest because the kids can see the rest of the hearts and will be curious to find out what’s on them. (But you’re going to keep them in delicious suspense until AFTER you teach the verse.) Read the verse from your Bible, or let a kid read it, then you can teach it to the kids by explaining what that particular verse means and how it applies to their lives. (BONUS: If you download the “Have A Heart” game on our resource page, the instructions include tips for how to teach a memory verse to kids using 3 easy questions.)
Playing The Game!
After you have taught the verse, it’s time to use the game to help them repeat and memorize it. Say something like…
“Since our hearts impact our actions we’re going to play the rest of this game where we do whatever is written on the hearts while we say the verse together so we can learn it by heart.”
Then just let the kids take turns flipping hearts over and leading the group in doing the action written on the back while everyone says the verse together. (Be sure to play along yourself. You don’t want to rob kids of the joy of watching you try to clap behind your back.) In between each round, emphasize that God wants right actions to flow from a right heart transformed by His grace.
That’s all there is to it! There are oodles of memory verses about hearts. Here are just a few you could use this game with: Psalm 19:14; 34:18; Proverbs 3:5-6; 4:23; Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 6:21; 22:37-39; and Luke 6:45.
Do you have a favorite game you like to use to help kids memorize verses? I’d love to hear it (and maybe even borrow it for a future article!)