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  • Writer's pictureDavid Rausch

Drawing can DOUBLE Biblical retention in kids. Here's how to use it...

As KidMin leaders, it's our mission to plant the Word of God in the hearts and minds of children. So what if I told you there's a SIMPLE way to do that TWICE as effectively. Would you be excited?

Of course you would!

Here's the secret: Have your kids draw during the lesson.

(I told you it was simple!)

Youki Terada writes about this in an article titled "The Science of Drawing and Memory." He points to a new study that shows "drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing because it forces the person to process information in multiple ways: visually, kinesthetically, and semantically."

In fact, the experiment shows that drawing information can boost recall by almost DOUBLE.

The University of Waterloo conducted the study to better understand how drawing affects a student's ability to remember information. Terada goes on to explain, "In an early experiment, they asked undergraduate students to study lists of common terms—words like truck and pear—and then either write down or illustrate those words. Shortly afterward, participants recalled 20 percent of words they had written down, but more than twice as many—45 percent—of the terms they had drawn. This experiment helped to establish the benefits of drawing."

And there's good news for those of us who are "artistically challenged" too! The experiment showed that "the benefits of drawing were not dependent on the students' level of artistic talent." So it doesn't even matter how good you are at drawing, nor does it depend on your preferred learning style. Drawing information benefits everyone.

So why is drawing such a powerful memory tool?

In short, the researchers say it's because it takes multiple steps which use multiple parts of our brain. "So when we draw," Terada says, "we encode the memory in a very rich way, layering together the visual memory of the image, the kinesthetic memory of our hand drawing the image, and the semantic memory that is invoked when we engage in meaning-making. In combination, this greatly increases the likelihood that the concept being drawn will later be recalled."

Here's a short video that visually explains the findings in the study:

So try this...give the kids in your ministry a sketch pad and some pens or markers. During the lesson, encourage them to draw what they're learning. Tell them to use as few words as possible.

Or here's a storytelling method we've used in GO! a long strip of butcher block paper down the middle of the room and have the kids gather around it during the storytelling time. While the story is being told, encourage the kids to draw or paint what they're hearing on their portion of the paper. When finished, you can hang it up in the room as a visual reminder of what they learned.

But why stop with there? You can also use other artistic mediums such as play dough or wiki sticks to the same effect.

Drawing during a KidMin lesson is fun, engaging, and helps kids remember. That's a win, win, win!



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