I love diving boards.
Strangely though, I actually never dive correctly off of them. Instead I walk to the very end and jump feet first into the pool. I can vividly remember swimming at the olympic size pool at my college. I loved the way time seemed to stand still as I fell from the high board. I would allow gravity to take me deep into the water hopefully to feel the cement bottom with my toes.
As parents, we have the special privilege of sharing the depths of Scripture and the gospel with our children as they grow. We will be their swim vest during the early years, keeping them afloat with core doctrines and beliefs of our faith. We offer them the diving board to know God through Jesus in an intimate personal way. Our ultimate goal is their ability to navigate the waves of theology with their own grasp of biblical truth.
These “swimming lessons” must start very early in life. Even when a little one’s language is just forming, he can learn truths about God, our sin, and our Savior. It is never too early to begin.
Recently, I was asked to review the brand new Frolic Series from Sparkhouse Family. Because of my role as a pastor’s wife, I am asked often about resources for children so I was eager to explore these books.
Frolic Board Books (Ages 0-3)
My daughter who is almost two, wanted to read these books right away. As she flipped through the pages, she pointed out small details like a butterfly or flower. This age is naturally enamored with animals so the use of a sheep, dog, hedgehog, dove, and goat for the main characters is a fun touch.
These books introduced initial concepts about God and faith in a gentle way. For instance God’s Wonderful World uses the five senses to introduce Creation and Pray to God focuses on praying to God anytime and anywhere.
These books are a good fit for its target ages. Babies and toddlers can easily begin to understand very basic tenets of our faith. The topics and pictures help them learn about the world around them in a gentle way. I would label these books as good “diving boards” to deeper topics as they get to age 3 and above.
Frolic Friends (ages 3-5)
Again, I loved the illustrations in this set of four books. My four year old begged to read them as soon as I opened the box. The size of the books is perfect for little hands to hold and their hardback cover is definitely a plus for busy little ones.
These books cover a variety of character building topics such as patience, anger, friendship, and sharing. When each character struggles with those respective qualities, he stops to pray to ask God for help resulting in an answer to prayer and change in the situation. The last page of each book includes verses, discussion, and prayer for the parents to use with the child.
It’s important for children at this age to realize that being a good person will never come naturally because of our sin nature. I appreciate the prayer in each of these books pointing to a need that can be solved only outside of ourselves. However, I do think these prayers could have been written to more specifically point to the answer which is Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Because he was perfectly patient, giving, etc…. we have hope to show those same qualities. This is an extremely important age for beginning to truly comprehend the gospel and our desperate need for a Rescuer. I would hate to short circuit that understanding by focusing mainly on outward behavior.
Frolic First Bible (ages 0-3)
I was impressed with the quality of this little Bible. It’s binding looks like it would hold up well with toddler use. The illustrations are bright and colorful which would definitely interest little ones.
This Bible includes 20 of the most well-known stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Each story is two pages with simply written text and a short application at the end.
I have mixed feelings about this Bible. While, it is geared for very small children who cannot read and will mainly be interested in the pictures, I was disappointed in the faith message at the end of each page. Even at two years old, I want my my children to understand theological truth on their level. For example, one story concluded with “God is pleased with me.” When in reality, God is only pleased with me through the blood of His Son. The story of David & Goliath goes beyond bravery and ultimately shows us the One who defeated the giant of sin. On an age-appropriate level, even the smallest of children can begin understanding these truths.
If these books are a part of your family library, I think they could act as great beginning diving boards for your child’s faith.