Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Elmo, Mickey Mouse and Jesus

"Melmo! Melmo!" (my son's name for Elmo) is a sound that can be heard multiple times a day in our house. He likes to watch Elmo, read about Elmo and even sleeps with a little Elmo doll. He loves him and can spot him in any store a mile away. Mickey Mouse comes in at a close second. When he's tired of watching Elmo, he'll request "Mimee" (which we have on video). He can name or point out all of the characters and when he hears the first two notes of the "Hot Dog Dance" he begins to jirate and move his body in robotic type convulsions that I think he believes is dancing. And then there's Jesus. He can point him out in his picture Bible and even frequently repeats his name when we talk about him, but despite my best, preschool friendly reading voice, full of enthusiasm and expression, I can barely get him to listen to a whole story. I am disappointed, frustrated and feel like a little bit of a failure as a Christian mother. Part of me wants to blame it on someone else. You know, the infamous "THEM." In this case we'll call THEM the Christian toy industry. Why can't they make better age appropriate things for my child? I find it annoying that the only toddler friendly Bible board books are on Noah's ark. "Maybe if Isaac could play with his Bible stories the way he plays with his Elmo books, he'd like them better," I think to myself. THEY should make some books like that. "Maybe if their videos weren't so stinkin' cheaply made and boring, he'd request those every once in a while." THEY should work on that. "Of all the 'Christian' junk marketed towards children, why, oh why isn't there anything that can actually help me do a better job of conveying who God is in a way that a one and a half year old can understand?" THEY definitely need to get going on that. Maybe some believe that he's too young to start learning the truths of God's Word. I've always been a firm believer that kids can understand way more than we give them credit for. So, I've come up with a few ideas and so far the ones I've tried have worked great! 1. I want to continue to read stories from the Bible to him, but in order to help keep his attention, I'm enlisting the help of some puppets. My mom helped me find some great ones online that I used while I was a preschool teacher at I'm going to start with the Jesus and Noah puppets in order to get started and cover the most stories with the least amount of money. (I'm going to use the Noah puppet for multiple Old Testament characters).

2. I've heard of lots of people doing "theme days" with thier kids based on letters, colors, animals, etc. It's a great idea! I'm going to try to do a Bible theme day once a month. For example, I might try to do a Jonah Day and have some activities planned for the day that reinforce the Bible story. We could read the story of Jonah from the Bible with our puppet and watch the Jonah Veggie Tales movie. For lunch, we could have fish sticks, goldfish crackers and Swedish gummy fish for dessert. We could play with water animals in the tub or pool. We could color a picture of a whale or large fish with crayons, markers or paint. The entire day would be spent talking about Jonah and the lessons learned from his life.

3. I've enlisted my mother to work on the toddler board books. If I can keep my babies young for just a little while longer, maybe I can benefit from them. She's one of the most creative ladies I know and I know she would do a great job at writing some kid-friendly versions of stories from God's Word that stay true to the text. In the meantime, I found a few Bible board books that I like at Mardel:

-My First READ and LEARN Bible (I like this one because the stories are several pages long with only a sentence or two on each page.)

-The Baby Bible Stories about Jesus (I like this one because all of the stories are about Christ.)

-My Great Big God (I like this one because the stories are put to rhymes and are fun to read aloud.)

Please feel free to comment with any ideas that you have or some things that you've tried with your own kids. I'm all ears!

Now, lest you think I'm trying to advocate that the Bible needs "help" to be interesting, you misunderstand my point. I know that on some level I'm not going to be able to make every biblical lesson I teach my children "kid-friendly." I know that for YEARS people have just used the Bible and nothing else to teach their children all they need to know about him. I hope to not be adding to the idea that everything has to be made bigger and better. All I know is, there are a lot of things already pulling for my young boys' attention. I just want Jesus to outrank Elmo and Mickey Mouse in this house and I (not THEM) need to get going on that!


  1. Love it! I know exactly what you are talking about. Thanks for the resource recommendations. Wesley likes Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 1 by Ella K. Lindvall

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, Andrea! I looked it up online and it looks really good! I think I'm going to order it. Do you also have Vol. 2 and 3?

  3. So glad you are blogging!!! What a great post! I feel the same struggles with making Jesus as exciting as Barney (in our case) for Lauren but I am desperate for her to know the God who created her and loves her.

  4. I completely understand your struggle with all of this. We have and are still experiencing the exact same things. These are some of the things I have found and the are definitely more as they get older!

    Have you ever seen any of "The Storykeepers" videos? You can check them out from the library. The animation isn't on a Mickey Mouse level, but my kids have enjoyed them.

    It has been a couple years ago, but I found several board books at the Dollar Store. I bought one of every story because I was so excited to see books about other stories than Noah.

    We also use Picture That!. It has helped our kids stay focused on the story until it is over because they are helping "read".

  5. Thanks LeAnn! I may be going to the library this morning, so I'll look into those videos. What is Picture That!? I haven't heard of it.