Do you ever wonder if the kids got anything out of the lesson you just shared with them?
If you do, you're not alone. We've all been there.
Today, I want to share with you 10 secrets to kids learning from your lesson.
Some of these you may be already be aware of and even use. If that's the case, read through them for a good reminder of how to make your lessons stick.
Secret #1 - Repetition. Did you know if you hear something one time you will remember about 10% of it. But if you hear something 6 times, your retention rate goes up to 90%! When you are teaching your lesson, make sure you have the kids repeat the key truth at least 6 times. Do this and you can be confident that it made it into their memory bank.
Secret #2 - Senses. You can use kids' senses to help them learn. Incorporate as many of them as you can in your lesson. Here are a couple of examples. You are doing a lesson on John the Baptist. You talk about him eating honey. Have a small sample of honey for kids to taste (reminder to watch for food allergies). Another example could be you are talking about Zachhaeus being up in a tree. Have a small branch that the kids pass around and feel.
Secret #3 - Ask them. Position yourself outside the classroom door as kids and their parents are leaving and pull aside a few kids and with their parent's permission, ask them to tell you one thing they learned today.
See if they can remember the key truth they just heard. If you get the canned answer "Jesus" or "God," then you know you've got some tweaking to do with your lessons.
Secret #4 - Every day objects. Attach an every day object to what you are teaching. Here's an example. If you are teaching about growing in your faith, tie it to the illustration of getting to the next level in a video game. Another example - you are teaching about salvation and Jesus being the one way to heaven. Tell the kids to remember this each time they see a one way sign on the road.
Secret #5 - Have them teach it. One of the best ways to see kids "get" the lesson is to have them take a few minutes to teach it to one another. There are lot of ways you can do this and make it fun. It's also a good way to break up your lesson if it's more than 5 minutes. Teach for 5 minutes and then have the kids turn to each other and talk about the lesson. Give them clear instructions like drawing a picture of what they've learned and then explain it to the person they are paired with.
Secret #6 - Focus on one key truth. What is the one big thing you want kids to remember from the lesson. Rather than having 3-4 things you want them to remember, just have one. Less truly is more.
Secret #7 - Incorporate learning styles. Children learn in different ways. Some learn through music. Some learn socially. Some learn verbally. Incorporate as many learning styles as you can.
Secret #8 - Tell stories. Kids (and adults) remember stories. Jesus, the master teacher, used parables (stories) when He was teaching. They can be stories from your childhood, stories from current news, stories from heroes of the faith. And of course, Bible stories are the best.
Secret #9 - Aim high. Let me ask you a question. When you have several ages of children in one classroom or service, who do you put up front? The natural tendency is to place the younger children up front and the older kids behind them. That's what I did until I read this quote by Walt Disney.
“It was the first entertainment that Walt Disney had ever designed expressly for children. ‘But we’re not going to talk down to the kids,’ he told his staff. ‘Let’s aim for the twelve-year-old. The younger ones will watch, because they’ll want to see what their older brothers and sisters are looking at. And if the show is good enough, the teenagers will be interested, and adults, too’.” Walt Disney
If you want kids to have an optimal learning experience, put the oldest kids up front and the younger kids behind them. Why? Because little kids look up to big kids and want to be like them. When they see the older kids are listening, they will listen as well.
This little secret can make a huge difference in how kids listen and learn in your ministry. Try it out.
Secret #10 - Go visual. Today's kids hear with their eyes. Use a lot of pictures, video clips, object lessons, etc. When kids not only hear, but also see the lesson, their retention will go up.
If you haven't seen our Connect 12 curriculum, each of the lessons incorporate these 10 secrets and capture kids' attention and plant the truth of God in their life. You can see samples at this link. Dozens of churches across the country are currently using the curriculum with rave reviews of how it helps the kids get the lesson.
Your turn. What are some learning secrets you can share with us. We'd love to see them in the comment section below.