Using the Computer to
Make Material for Children's Bible Classes
The computer has opened up a new world for Bible class
teachers. No longer are we completely dependent on a
purchased workbook series, often poorly done and
unrewarding to look at compared to the other books most
children are exposed to; but we can plan and create our
own "workbooks," class materials, take-home papers,
coloring pages and games. Pictures and clip art can be
purchased as software, downloaded from the Internet, or
scanned from a book or magazine. Image editing and
illustration programs let us create our own pictures and
clip art or adapt existing pictures. Publishing programs
let us combine pictures and text into an attractive
lesson or pamphlet, custom made for the needs of our
students. Memory verses, attendance stickers, and game
pieces can be made to carry out the theme of the
Ways to Use the Computer
Some of the materials that can be created for classroom use are:
This may include a
story in language suitable for the age of the class,
questions to answer, a picture or two to illustrate the
story, an appropriate puzzle or picture to color, the
memory verse or another assignment for the next week,
and perhaps a "reminder" picture to illustrate the
Children learn better if
they can see a picture. A good picture, to be used while
the teacher is telling the story, can add a lot of
background information that may help the child better
able to grasp the meaning of the lesson. Placing a
picture from each lesson on the bulletin board will help
review past lessons.
Draw or Broderbund’s Click Art Christian Graphics,
make clip art people to represent the characters in the
lesson. Four or five, seven-inch tall characters can be
printed horizontally on a sheet of paper or card stock.
Laminate the printed paper, then cut out the characters.
Add a piece of a magnet to the back if desired. Let the
children use these characters to retell the story. The
characters could also be scanned from a children’s Bible
or from flannel board sets.
Take-Home Papers, Homework
the students and the parents know what is expected of
them by sending home "assignments" appropriate to the
age of the student. Make sure the parents know if they
are expected to read the lesson to the child or to help
the child learn his memory verse, find answers to
questions, or complete an exercise.
In-class Activities, Coloring Pictures
Young children need to do more than to sit quietly in a
class and listen to the teacher. An attractive,
well-chosen puzzle, coloring picture or other activity
can reinforce the lesson (but should be more than just
More than just a way to count the number of times a
child has been in class, an attendance chart can be a
growing review of the material that has been covered and
a way for a child and his parents to see the progress
being made. An attendance chart can be a collection of
stickers representing memory verses learned, a map of
the twelve tribes of Israel, pictures of the twelve
Customize familiar games with game boards and pieces
designed for a particular series of lessons.
Using Pre-Made Supplies
Some of the supplies available in office supply stores than
can be used in creative ways are:
Card Stock can be purchased in quantities of 30
perforated sheets of ten cards each. Many software
programs such as Microsoft Works and Microsoft Publisher
have programs that allow you to print business cards.
The programs are set up to make all the cards alike, but
in Microsoft Publisher, it is not difficult to make a
template so that one can design a page of ten different
cards. These cards can be used for:
Give each child a card with the memory verse on one side and
a picture on the other. For younger children, the picture acts as an aid in
For older children, put one word on each card, pass them out
in class and let the children put them in order.
Print the memory verse in large letters on a full sheet,
tear the cards apart and let the children put it together like a jig-saw
puzzle. Print a sheet for each child and see who can complete his first.
Books of the Bible
Put one book of the Bible on each
card. Laminate them before cutting, if desired.
For younger children, use a clip art
program to put a different picture on each card.
Make a set for each child.
Add a business card or smaller magnet (available
from office supply stores) to the back of each
card-some white marking boards will hold magnets,
otherwise use a cookie sheet. Let a child practice
books of the Old
or New Testament in order.
Make a game of "Concentration" using
the pictures you have used for the memory verses.
The child who chooses two matching pictures must say
the memory verse before keeping the pictures.
I have tried lots of ways to make my own puzzles,
some with more success than others. Craft stores sell
"blank" puzzles that you or students can decorate to
create lesson specific puzzles. Oriental's crafts are
inexpensive enough and come in bulk, so you can make a
puzzle for several lessons.
I tried using the scrapbook accessory
Coluzzle to cut out my own, but the paper I used was too
flimsy to stay put and that drove the students nuts.
Iron-on puzzle kits for ink jet printers
work ok if you don't have a lot of solid color in the
print out. If you do, the cut marks stretches and shows
white, adding white lines through -out the design.
The best for printing on an ink jet printer is the
magnetic sheets that you then can trace a puzzle
design on the back and cut out with scissors. Although
thin, the pieces stay in place on a white board or
cookie sheet, because they're magnetic. See more about
If you don't want to get the magnetic
sheets, scan a picture & print it, or print a clip-art
picture appropriate to the lesson, page size on the
business card stock. Tear it into the separate cards,
back them with small magnets, and use as a jig-saw
puzzle. Hand a different one to each child, if desired &
have them put it together and tell the story.
Books of the Bible: I have made
flash cards for the
books of the Bible to print
on business card sized magnets
and use on a metal surface to
help children learn the books of
Mailing labels come in all shapes and sizes. I find the
most useful to be sheets of the 2"x4" mailing labels and
the 3"x3" diskette labels. Clip art can be sized to fit
on these labels and either cut to shape or used as is
for attendance charts, to complete pictures, for
matching exercises, or other classroom activities. I
also make colorful name tags at the beginning of each
quarter for the students to put on their notebooks and
best clip-art program I have found is by
Logos. It is called
Bible Clips and has pictures that can be used in any
size, figures and objects that can be combined into new
pictures, and can be used in full color for complete
pictures or for flannel board figures, or in black and
white for pictures to color. It comes with a graphics
program and the clip art is vector art, that can be
resized without loss of quality. (The files come in the
proprietary .GED format as well as exporting to .WMF and
.CDR formats.) I find I use it a lot. It comes with a
manual which shows all the figures and objects
available. It is no longer being published, but you may find resale copies online.
As you download pictures or scan pictures or text for
use in your class, remember that the artists, authors,
or publishers hold the copyrights to these items. It is
our responsibility to find out to what extent we can use
their work in the materials we make for our classes.
Most providers allow you to use a picture for your own
personal use, which would cover most instances of
classroom use. (Although they may place a limit on the
number of pieces of clip art from a collection you can
use in one publication, or the number of copies you can
make.) Many will not allow you to sell the art, or
anything made using the art. The most liberal will allow you to use it in any
way you want with the exception of including it in a
collection of clip art to sell. Some Internet sources
allow you to use the clip art you get from their site
only as long as you are a subscriber. Read the copyright
information provided with the software or on the
website. If in doubt, write or email the
publisher/artist/author. Get an answer in writing.
Use a program such as Microsoft Publisher to make greeting
cards to send to students who are absent or having a
At the beginning of each quarter, send
an invitation to the students who will be in the class.
These could be made of paper folded in fourths, of
special greeting card stock or of regular card stock
(white or color) cut in fourths and sent as post cards.
Make attendance charts that follow the
Make or copy a basic scene that can
be enhanced by purchased stickers.
Make a black & white scene or map
that can be completed by adding colored shapes or
Sheets of stick-on address labels in
sizes from 1/2" x 1-3/4" to 8-1/2" x 11" may be used
to make stick-on titles, pictures, or descriptions.
Pictures can be printed on larger labels and cut out
for applying to the basic scene.
Use stickers that repeat the
pictures on the memory verse cards and let the
student apply an appropriate sticker every time
he/she memorizes a verse.
A List of Useful Products
A Bible. Never start developing a
lesson without reading the appropriate scripture in
the Bible. For copying excerpts from the Bible, copy
and paste from an on-line Bible such as Bible
A color inkjet or laser printer
Storage Media (zip disks, CD-RW,
etc.) You will want to save your materials on disk
for re-use. The equipment doesn’t have to be the
latest and greatest or the most expensive, but
should be adequate for the job you are trying to do
without getting you so frustrated that you lose
Nice to Have:
with the appropriate lamination pouches, or peel
and stick lamination paper (similar to contact
paper, but stiffer.) Or try a small, no-heat
laminator from Xyron.
Books: See Suggested Links for
One or more children’s Bibles with
colorful, historically accurate pictures (purchased
for the pictures.)
A children’s Bible story book with
simplified stories-one that covers the historical
events of the Bible, at least from Genesis to
Esther, and Matthew to Acts. (purchased for the
Coloring Books with biblical themes
Other children’s books of individual
Bible stories (Avon, the make-up company, sometimes
has some excellent materials in this category.)
A Bible atlas
Most of these supplies are available at office supply stores.
Inkjet paper, heavy enough so there is little
see-through when printed on both sides. Coated paper allows colors to show
up better, but is more expensive.
Card Stock, white
Colored card stock or construction paper
Inkjet Business Cards
Self sticking mailing labels, 2" x 4", 10 per page
(these use the same templates as the business cards, but different sizes are
available for different uses, if desired.) 3" x 3" diskette labels (nine per
sheet) are also a good size for many uses.
if you have access to a projector. I also use these when I want a
cut-out of a complex object. I print the item on a transparency, and then I
don't have to cut all the edges - I just round the edges and you can see
Magnets (adhesive backed
Magnetic Business Cards or 8.5 x 11 sheets that can
be printed with an inkjet printer.)
Look for other supplies that can be
used in innovative ways, like printable
(as in the "Do Not Disturb" signs on hotel doors.)
Some paper bags can go through some printers (for
making each child a place for his or her "stuff,"
for example.) Or put a colorful label on a plain
bag. (For my own use, I like freezer bags from the
grocery store in place of file folders for keeping
all the little pieces of a lesson together.)
Transparent static cling window
can be printed with an inkjet printer. (Office
Notebooks or binders.
Iron-On Transfer Paper
Yes, some of
these materials are expensive; but these are only ideas
to give you a starting point. Children are accustomed to
bright, cheerful, good quality reading materials and
games at home and school and will reflect the importance
we assign to their Bible class materials.