I so wanted to use the title “Loci Dokee” for this post but I didn’t know if anyone would read it. I’ve also since learned that I was probably pronouncing it incorrectly.
The ancient Romans and Greeks used a mnemonic device called “loci” for memorising information. Basically, they would mentally “walk through” buildings or streets and associate the various locations or items with something to remember.
It is sort of like tying a string around your finger to help you remember to put the rubbish by the curb. As you leave for work and put your hands on the steering wheel you notice the string and say to yourself “oh yes, I need to put the rubbish out.”
Or remembering how many days in each month by using the the knuckles of your hand as a mnemonic device.
I’ve often used an adaptation of this same method called “Memory Lane” when helping children learn verses from the Bible. Kids love it and it works particularly well when memorising a number of verses together.
How It Works
Children follow a “path” and stop along the way to say parts of the memory verse. The words might be written out at each stop but once the children repeat the journey a number of times they learn to say the verse from memory without reading the words.
A Bible and chosen verse(s)
(outdoors) Sidewalk chalk and a surface such as sidewalk/footpath, asphalt, driveway or paved parking lot
(indoors) Marker, pen or pencil and paper. Rope, string, masking tape to visually connect the papers and form a path
(outdoors) A stick to “write” with and a surface such as sand or beach
or any combination of the above.
Read over the verse(s) and divide it into phrases.
Create a path using the method you have selected.
Write the phrases on separate pieces of paper (or on the surface you have selected).
Place them on the path in the order they will be said.
Show the children how to follow the path. They will stop at each paper and read the phrase aloud before walking to the next phrase. (You might do it first to show them how it is done.)
Older children can write out the phrases and set up the game for everyone else.
This activity can be done at a quiet and slow pace appropriate for smaller indoor spaces or fast and loud if you have a large outdoor area.
If you have plenty of help and space appoint helpers to stand at each stop and read the assigned phrase with the children. This personal touch aids in memorisation. You will be amazed how quickly children learn long passages of Scripture with this method.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
I stressed four important words in the commission: Go, disciple, baptise and teach.
I asked how we could “make disciples” and I got the best possible response. A little girl said, “Well, I think we could just tell someone a story about Jesus and then they will want to follow him. Then they can tell someone else and they will want to follow him. And then they can tell…” This went on for a little while until someone else interrupted with, “If our whole class goes out today and tells someone then I think everyone in the world will be a disciple in about an hour!”
I want their faith!
Here is the class activity we did to help us learn about telling the world about Jesus.
A plate with enough edge that it can hold liquid.
A small bowl or saucer
Eye dropper (if you have one, I didn’t)
Pour a few drops of the dish-washing liquid into a small bowl and soak the ends of toothpicks in it. Set aside.
Pour enough milk into the plate so the bottom of the plate is covered and there is a thin layer of milk.
Pour oil over the milk. You don’t need as much oil as milk but you’ll need enough for it to eventually form a very thin layer over the milk (Don’t stress over the amounts). Stir with the spoon then set the spoon to the side.
Now, spend a few minutes watching the milk and oil separate and form oil clusters.
While this is happening talk about how this looks like the world and all its people. People like to live together in families and towns and countries. The plate looks like a map of the world.
Then talk about what it would be like if no one in the world followed Christ.
Now, add drops of food colouring to represent Christians and talk about how Christians live in the world among people who do not follow Christ. (If I had used a little eye dropper my “drops” would not have spread so much and this would have worked better. Small droplets will make the best effects.) What if Christians only stayed in one place and never told people about Jesus.
Now for the fun part! Ask the children what they think the world would look like if Christians were to follow the Great Commission and go out into the world to tell other people about Jesus. Then let the children take turns lightly touching the soap end of a toothpick to one of the drops of food colouring. Amazingly, the food colouring shoots out across the milk and oil and makes amazing colours.
Continue doing this until the white plate is full of colours. All the while you and the children are doing this talk about how telling people about Jesus changes the world.
I really think you will love this idea! Here are some photos (click to enlarge):