Tell it like you mean it
Tell your Bible Story with conviction. These are the best stories and we have the privilege of sharing them. Tell them in such a way that your listeners know that the Bible is important to you. Tell them in such a way that your listeners will know that Jesus is important.
Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’John 14:6
Some details add to your story
Young children are focused on their world. They know about feeling hungry, tired, happy, sad. They know about home. They know what daytime and nightime are. The weather is part of their everyday. Use these familiar things when you tell the Bible Story. If it happened at night mention the stars. If people were hungry get everyone to rub their tummy! Focus on what is familiar to your young audience.
Use your voice
You can talk quietly, you can whisper, you can talk LOUDLY. (Don’t shout). Vary your volume. It will make the story sound more interesting. Don’t talk too quickly – we sometimes speed up when we are nervous. Try to use a friendly, calm tone. If you aren’t sure how you sound, record yourself and find out! Your voice is so important.
Repetition is good.. repetition is good..
A phrase that repeats during the story is great for helping everyone to join in. It could be ‘can you see him?’ for a story about the lost sheep or, ‘where is it?’ for the lost coin. Have a look at this retelling of The Good Samaritan and spot the repeated phrase. Your audience will soon catch on and the adults and their toddlers will be taking part in the story.
Add some sound
What sound does a …. make? This is a great question to ask during a Bible Story. It gets the toddlers thinking and they can all join in and make the noise. If it’s a story about sheep everyone can say baa. If it’s a pig in the story, it’s an oink. When everyone can join in eveyone feels included and part of the story.
Give your listeners something to do
Think – ‘are there any actions we could do during this story?’ Actions are a good way of getting everyone involved (especially the adults). Looking, walking, running, sleeping, hidingclimbing – all these things can have actions. You don’t need too many. But add a few actions if they naturally fit the story.
Keep it short
Do your best to keep the story short. Toddlers aren’t going to listen to a long story. Practice your story – time yourself. Aim for your story to feel short to the listeners. It shouldn’t drag or go on and on…
Be prepared for Christmas!
Invite your pastor or a staff member from your church to come to toddler group to tell the Christmas Story. It’s an opportunity for them to meet people at the group. And it gives you time to think about the special craft and festive food that you will probably be busy sorting out! Book them early 🙂
Share the load
If you can, share the telling of Bible stories with others. We can learn from each other. Be supportive of one another and offer encouragement. It’s sometimes really helpful to have an extra pair of hands to hold a storytelling prop; ask for help from others in the team.
Begin storytime with a song
Instead of announcing storytime with, ‘It’s storytime’, start with a song. It will become your theme song that tells everyone that it’s time for a story. Choose something simple and easy to join in with. Familiar tunes with your own words are great. Once you have your song stick with it. Young children like the familiar.