ok... here are a list of ideas for spicing up your scripture time...
(i was going to take pictures of our scripture time this morning... but i forgot, sorry.)
-Pretend you are a "REAL" teacher-- plan your lessons, go to a teacher supply store to get props and ideas, be sure you vary your teaching style, put as much effort into scripture time as you would if you were teaching a Sunday school class at school. BUT- don't let this discourage you. STILL have scripture time even if you didn't have time to plan it. Some of our best scripture times have been spur of the moment creations.
-Use PROPS-- i LOVE props. The LDS Church Distribution Center has GREAT resources for families. We LOVE our white board with markers, our Gospel Art Picture Kit (you could have YEARS of great scripture time just picking out the pictures, reading the back and looking up the scripture that goes with the picture), the RED scripture marking pencils and the MANY resources for scripture mastery.
My favorite non-distribution props are... colored dice, blank word strips and i have a really big, spiral bound, lined notebook that we write our scriptures to memorize on. (It's like a HUGE spiral notebook.) Love it. Use computer paper and pencils to have the kids answer questions or draw things. It is especially helpful to have crayons and blank paper for the little kids to draw while your discussing with the bigger kids. There are MANY fun things at teacher's stores that will add spice to your morning routine. But remember, these things can be a distraction... we don't want the kids to think our job is to entertain them... our job is to teach.
-Set the TONE-- while the kids are getting ready, play some quiet church music to set a spirit of reverence. If your kids seem to sleep and lounge all the time, decide to have scripture time at the dining room table. If scripture time is too rigid and strict, have it in the living room. Let your surroundings support what your doing. We hide our white board and lined flip chart behind our bookcase in the living room so we can pull it out quickly during scripture time. We have a basket in our coffee table with extra scriptures.
-Use manuals-- Personally, I'm not a big fan of manuals... I think mothers and fathers can receive revelation for their own families. But, there are some really great resources if you are not as creative. I especially like these books, "Scripture Study for Latter-day Families" because it gives you lots of quick ideas and quotes from prophets. I like to use the distribution center manuals for my personal study the night before... sometimes i learn things that we discuss during scripture time.
--Make a really fun breakfast-- scripture time is always a little more fun when you smell German pancakes or waffles or cinnamon rolls in the background. I think your kids will respond positively to any kind of effort you are making. (We really have had ice cream sundaes for breakfast before... we tell the kids NOT to tell their teachers but... Really, are sundaes worse for you than captain crunch? Um, you can sprinkle captain crunch on the ice cream if it makes your feel better.)
-Share your testimony-- Do you ever find yourself sharing your faith building stories on the phone or to a friend and your kids are like, "What mom, what happened?" Duh! We really need to remember to share our daily conversion stories with our kids. You can read about how God interacts with man... but the greatest testimony to your children will be sharing with them how God interacts with YOU and having them recognize and share how God interacts with THEM. Scripture time is a perfect place for you to teach them your conversion stories and for you to ask them about their conversion stories. As you continue to have scripture times, you will have a dialog, "Remember the story of David?" but also, "remember the time that Mom prayed when she was lost?" or "Drew, remember the time when the Holy Ghost helped you to find your wallet?" That dialog is essential.
-Be the way you want your kids to be-- do not blame them for the spirit of contention at scripture time. Take responsibility for the spirit of YOUR home. Kids can be tired and cranky and you can still choose to be cheerful and happy. Your attitude is contagious. IF you have a child that is especially crabby, cast them out. Escort the crabby child to outer darkness (their bedroom) and then have the MOST FUN, happy scripture time ever with the rest of your family. If all the kids are crabby, just sing and have fun with your husband. You have the POWER. Scripture time should be positive. A place where they want to be. Yes, there are times when you will be cracking the whip- see my post on teaching obedience. There are times when you are teaching obedience or respect or reverence and scripture time or prayer time are great places to see the overall level of obedience in your children. BUT, the purpose of scripture time is NOT to teach obedience. It is to teach about God. To teach them that God loves them, that God speaks to man, that the scriptures are God's word. They will not learn this lesson if there is not a spirit of love and kindness in your home. You cannot force your child to Heaven. You can force them to hell, but you can't force them to Heaven. You can't force your children to scripture time, you can't force them to learn or to want to learn. But, you CAN make scripture time the most appealing, fun, greatest place that they want to be. Home can be a heaven. You are the mother. You have power to set the tone of your home. And, if you need to use pop tarts or white board markers to make your scripture time a bit more heavenly-- go for it!!
One of my favorite parenting moments was when my older kids were just little. I shouted at them (i must have been pregnant- i only yell when i'm pregnant) "WILL YOU JUST TALK NICE!!!!!"
The professor and I looked at each other and both started cracking up... Good one, way to teach "talking nice" by screaming at them.
But, isn't this what we sometimes do for scripture time?
"Sit down right now you little brats, it's time to learn about JESUS!!."
Oh, thank goodness God blesses our efforts.
Scripture time is barely ever perfect. But, there are many heavenly moments.
Most days, we just sit on our couch and discuss the scriptures together.
Most days we don't use props.
Most days our only preparation is reading the chapter the day before in our personal scripture study.
God has blessed my efforts.
My kids know we ALWAYS have scripture time.
My kids know the scriptures, and they love the scriptures.
I am continually surprised by how much they know. Things I never remember teaching them.
Every now and then, we do something really fun.
Those are the days the kids remember and talk about.
When we are in a slump, something different can spice things up.
There is nothing more sacred than home. And, nothing more important than a parents teaching our children about what we believe.
Obviously, Satan and his hosts will do all in their power to keep us from this great thing.
BUT- don't let SATAN discourage you... don't let the thought that you aren't prepared or don't have a visual aid keep you from what is REALLY important.
Don't give in to the urge to fight. Contention is of the devil even when you feel "righteously justified" because you are trying to do a good thing.
Kids are good. You are good. God is good. Scripture time is Heavenly.
Just do it.
Make an effort... God will turn your water into wine.
He will multiply your loaves and your fishes.
Somehow, despite all we can do, and with all we can do, our children will have moments where their testimony is strengthened... where they understand something they didn't understand before.
Recognize those moments, remind them of those moments, talk about these moments.
Scripture time is a great blessing to your family.
I am grateful for modern-day prophets who have encouraged us to read, study, ponder, pray and teach our children of these truths.
"We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
2 Nephi 25:26