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Biblical storytelling with children: "Godly Play"

By Debbie Weir

What is Godly Play?

  • Godly Play is a creative, imaginative approach to Christian formation and spiritual guidance.

  • Godly Play has a Montessori foundation with 40+ years of research and practice.

  • Godly Play values process, openness, discovery, community and relationships.

  • Godly Play models the worship life, stories, symbols and rituals of Christian congregations.

  • Godly Play allows practitioners to make relevant and personal theological meaning.

  • Godly Play nurtures participants to larger dimensions of belief and faith through wondering and play.


Why Godly Play?

  • Sensorimotor style of storytelling as the primary means to encounter God

  • God is experienced, not just learned about

  • Young children can respond to the stories of God

  • Enables young children to bring their experiences into dialogue with God in the biblical stories

  • Provides a way for young children to tell the stories of God to others


Preparation for Godly Play Storytelling

  • Listen to a telling of an experienced storyteller (Youtube)

  • Read the story from the Bible and meditate on it

  • Read through the Godly Play script once

  • Reread, paying particular attention to the directions for moving the materials

  • Begin to practice the story by moving the materials without saying the words aloud

  • When you feel comfortable with the movements, begin moving the figures as you tell the story

  • As you practice, keep your eyes on the materials

  • Do not speak and move figures at the same time

  • Employ an economy of words


The materials for sharing a story with children through Godly play include fabric and figures that can be made of materials you have on hand. This link goes to a page of a U.S. company that shows the kinds of figures folks often use.  It isn't necessary to use anything expensive or fancy. What matters is your connection to the story and the children, whatever your materials. 

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