To give an overview of what the 10 Commandments are and why they are important.
Read or paraphrase the following to your child:
“A long time ago, God’s people, the children of Israel, were slaves in a land called Egypt. God sent a man named Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land of their own. But the people didn’t know the right way to live.
“On the way to their new land, God gave the Israelites 10 special rules—or commandments. These 10 special rules were written by God’s own finger on two large flat pieces of stone—or tablets. He gave these rules to the Israelites, but these are rules for us to know and follow too. He gave us these special 10 Commandments because He loves us. They teach us how to love Him and others. Obeying them shows God that we love Him—and it helps us to live good, happy lives too!
He gave us these special 10 Commandments because he loves us.
“We’re going to write down these 10 Commandments and put them in our home so we can see them every day and learn about them together.”
Exodus 20:1-17 – God gives the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai.
Deuteronomy 5:1-22 – Moses reviews the 10 Commandments at the border of the Promised Land.
Matthew 22:34-40 – Jesus summarizes the 10 Commandments as showing love to God and showing love to others. That love is the foundation of “all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 19:16-19 – Jesus shows that the 10 Commandments are “good things” we must do if we want eternal life with God.
1 John 5:1-3 – Keeping the 10 Commandments shows love to God and to others. God’s “commandments are not burdensome.”
List the 10 Commandments in order together with your child. (See “The 10 Commandments in order” below.) Write them out together and place the list somewhere in the home where they can clearly be seen daily. We suggest the living room, dining room or kitchen!
Make it your own
This simple act of writing the 10 Commandments out together can be made more fun by allowing your child to choose the color of the paper, pens or markers. Feel free to decorate the list together! Make it special to your home and your child. Stickers, markers and drawings will make this experience more fun and make the 10 Commandments easier to remember for both you and your child.
Pens or markers
Paper (we’ve attached two blank templates to the end of this lesson to save you some time, but if you’d really like to make this project visible in your house, consider using a self-stick wall pad or easel paper)
Optional: Stickers and other decorations
Optional: Scissors (for cutting the paper into a tablet shape)
Optional: Tape or magnets (for putting the 10 Commandments on display when you’re done!)
The 10 Commandments in order (short form):
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take God’s name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
As you and your child work on writing out (and even decorating!) a list of the 10 Commandments, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to engage with him or her about why these commandments are so important. Below are some open-ended questions you can use to start a discussion (and some hints to get your child thinking about the answers).
Remember, these questions are just suggestions. Feel free to use the ones that work for your family (and come up with some of your own). You know your child best—the important thing is coming up with questions that will get him or her talking and thinking.
Question: Why do you think rules are important?
Hint: Ask your child to imagine what it would be like if certain rules disappeared—if people could take whatever they wanted from other people, or if people could drive cars however fast they wanted and in whatever direction they wanted.
Question: Why do you think the Israelites needed these rules? Why didn’t they already know them?
Hint: Remind your child of what life would have been like for the Israelites in Egypt—they were living as slaves in a country full of people who didn’t know or believe in God. But these weren’t new laws—the Sabbath was created in (Genesis 2) , murder has always been wrong, etc.
Question: Why do you think God knows the best rules for us?
Hint: Help your child to think about how smart and wise God is—how He can see everything in the whole universe all at once and how He designed and built all of it, including us.
Question: Which rules help us love God better? Which rules help us love other people better?
Hint: You can walk through the 10 Commandments one by one and ask which ones are about God and which ones are about other people.
Further Your Study
Use our 10 Commandments puzzle templates to engage children of all ages in learning about God’s important laws. Read More >
Create this engaging activity using yarn and some basic office supplies, and test your memory skills of Bible knowledge. You and your children will enjoy matching the 10 Commandments, the armor of God, and the 10 plagues of Egypt. Read More >