I LOVE holidays! I enjoy decorating for them as much I enjoy celebrating them!

However, when I think about the holidays I think about all the “stories” that are connected with each one. Not actual books that I have read to my kids about each holiday, but the “story” that my grown kids would tell you about each one. Take Halloween as an example, they would tell you how Grandma helps them clean out their pumpkins, while Grandpa helps carve them (Grandma never does the carving) and how only Grandpa can make the pumpkin seeds, and Grandma always brings over pie for dessert that they eat it while looking at their jack-o-lanterns!
On Christmas Eve they would tell you “to make sure the “doggie door” was open because that is how “Santa” gets in the house since we don’t have a chimney. On St. Patrick’s Day they would explain to you that the milk is green, and that there are small green footprints all over the house because “PJ the leprechaun” snuck in the house! Now, I know you might be thinking, “Wow, what have you done to your kids?” Well, what I have realized is that I ignited their imagination when they were young, which in turn has created “stories” from their childhood. These “stories” are OUR family stories and have given them a sense of belonging. They are “stories” that they will pass on to their own children and will one day be a part of our family history.

The book “Playing for Keeps” reminds us that stories can make history for a child and can transform his or her perspective.

When we are at home we are creating and telling our own “stories” with our kids. However, as SGLs we get to help mold a child’s perspective each week about God. Bible stories are how we teach our kids why and how God loves them, that God made them, and that Jesus wants to be their friend forever! We need to be as intentional and impactful as we can while teaching them Bible stories.

Here are a few tips for storytelling that I find super important:

1. You must be engaging! (Sitting in a chair and using a monotone voice is not going to cut it!)
2. Do NOT be afraid to make a fool out of yourself! (You need to be bigger than life.)
3. Interact with the kids (Use them to help you tell the story.)
4. Use props! (They don’t have to be professionally made or expensive, kids have great imaginations engage them!)
5. Don’t be afraid to make a mess! (That’s why we have vacuums)
6. Change it up! For example, one week try using video curriculum. (All kids learn and respond differently, so changing it up is a good thing!)
7. KNOW the story! Do not rely on the script! Relax, the stories aren’t that hard. You do not have to say it word for word. (Kids sense fear, and will eat you alive if they think you are scared of them!)
8. Have FUN! Kids are wired to have fun! Bible time does not need to be serious, just impactful. (Kids won’t remember something that didn’t interest them in the first place.)

Stories can make history for a child.
Stories can transform his or her perspective.
Stories are powerful.
Stories over time matter.
Especially when they come from parents and leaders who care.

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Jenny Zimmer

Jenny is a California native and Preschool and Family Life Director at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA. For over ten years she has been doing ministry work. Working with young children is her passion, which is why she is also a part-time preschool teacher. Having two older children of her own, Paige and McKenzie, Jenny recognizes the significance of spending time with children. At the same time she knows the value of family which is why when she is not working you can find her with her husband Jim, daughters, and dogs enjoying the California atmosphere.

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