This week I made a photobook using actual Bible text and toys to ‘act’ the story then set the book up with the toys in an ‘Invitation to Play’ the story.
When I found a company doing photobooks for £6 (!) I got to work making a photobook of a Bible story using Bible text cut and paste from the CEV Bible at www.Biblegateway.com and photos of toys ‘acting’ various scenes. When the book arrived, I set it up with the toys in an Invitation to Play for my daughters to find when they woke up, with the toys from the pictures all set out so they could play the story. My 4 year old went straight to it and asked me to read the story to her. As I did, she used the toys to ‘act’ the parts. I chose the story of Josiah (2 Kings 22-23), who became king age 8, as we like the story and it’s rarely included in children’s Bibles.
In the story, the book of the law is discovered during some repair work in the temple. King Josiah realises they have not been following the law, and sends five men to the prophet Huldah to find out what God wants them to do. My 4yo explored the story using all the characters I’d put out, including children and babies, as they would have been present at the reading of the law and the Passover at the end of the story. She set up the prophet Huldah with her three children and a selection of cats and dogs which made me smile, as I’d imagined Huldah as a bit of a John the Baptist type, kind of austere and single. However we are told (in 2 Kings 22:14) that they meet Huldah in her house and that her husband worked for the king, so she may well have had children, and maybe animals living in her home. I found this really encouraging, that someone who heard from God so clearly, and was used to speak to the King and affect the spiritual direction of a generation was also a wife, maybe a mother and perhaps an animal keeper. Like me.
Strange, isn’t it. After all I’ve had years of reading Bible stories like Joseph and Moses and Elijah, and reading how they were ‘men just like us’. Except I’m a woman. And through mu daughter’s play, this story spoke gently to me. I love how playing with the story somehow let’s me see God, how He works and even myself in a different way.
What will you play today?
Make your own book
You can make your own Josiah Bible story book by right clicking, saving and printing out the pictures below which have the text from the CEV. (I like the CEV translation as it’s very readable if you’re using it with young children, and rarely needs explicit bits editing out.) To make an A5 book, print the text 2 up, ie 2 pictures on each page you print.
You can then make up to 10 pictures using toys or anything else you fancy! You might like to work together as a family to make them, or do a couple of pictures each. The easiest way to make the book is to make your pictures A5 too. Then put them in order with the text in the right places, and you have your own book.
If you want to make a photobook version, take high quality photos of your pictures and upload them along with the text to a photobook website. I used Free Print Photobooks which have soft back books for only £6.
Here are the text pages. It’s all directly from the Bible except the section in italics where I’ve summarised a long list of idols which Josiah had destroyed.