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Bible *Smash* Mats for Children with Disabilities

Repetitions of Bible concepts help children with special needs understand and learn more. Volunteers and buddies can review and reinforce Bible lessons for children with disabilities with Bible *smash* mats.

What are Bible *smash* mats?

A *smash* mat includes concepts that children learn. In the case of Bible *smash* mats, the goal is to review and reinforce Bible stories. A proven way of learning stories is a first-next-then-last format. Our Bible *smash” mats follow that pattern. In this picture, you can see the first-next-then-last parts of Adam & Eve.

Teach Bible lessons to children with disabilities with playdough smash mats

Who are Bible *smash* mats for?

The Bible *smash* mats are created to help children with moderate-to-severe disabilities learn stories and lessons. Language can be hard for children with disabilities, and we don’t like doing hard things. The Bible mats shorten the language and help the children have fun, which leads to more learning. The mats are also designed to guide volunteers and buddies as they work with children with disabilities at church.

Easy-to-follow directions for volunteers and buddies

Here are the downloadable files for the Adam & Eve Smash Mat:

Adam & Eve free smash mat (PDF)

All smash mats (available on The Adapted Word)

How do I use a *smash* mat?

To prepare the mat, print on cardstock and laminate OR place in a dry-erase pocket. The only supplies you need are a Bible and playdough – and you probably have those easily available!

Bible *smash* mats are created to reinforce Bible stories and not replace them. Do your lesson as usual. Then, allow adults/buddies to use the *smash* mats with the children. There are easy directions for them on the top of the page.

The text helps guide volunteers in what and how to review. For Adam & Eve, the first sentence is “Adam lived in a garden” followed by an empty line. This guides the reader to read the first line aloud and then pause. Then, the card continues with, “God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from”.

Now comes the learning and fun part! Present both options to the child – “God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from ONE TREE” or “the store?” Have a ball of playdough ready for the child to smash “the store”. Continue until all four parts of the story are finished – the mat should now tell the story.

Teach Bible lessons to children with disabilities with smash playdough mats

Wait – I have a child who doesn’t speak/who can’t make a choice/who randomly points at the pictures

That’s okay! Children with moderate-to-severe disabilities learn best when they feel successful and when they are having fun.

For a child who doesn’t speak, let them point. TIP: If they reach for the incorrect choice, move the mat so that they point to the correct choice and reinforce it. The interaction would look like:

Volunteer: “God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from one tree or the store?”

Child: Starts to point to “the store.”

Volunteer: Moves mat so that child ends up pointing to “one tree” and says, “Yes, God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from one tree. That’s what The Bible tells us. Let’s smash the other circle!”

For a child who doesn’t make a choice either by pointing or talking, interact with them. The interaction might look like:

Volunteer: “God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from ONE TREE or the store?” (verbally emphasize the correct choice)

Child: response does not indicate a choice.

Volunteer: “The Bible says – God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from ONE TREE. Let’s get rid of this circle!” The volunteer helps the child smash “the store” by putting playdough on the circle and letting the child smash the playdough OR describes what they are doing.

For a child who randomly points at the pictures, verbally emphasize the correct choice while pointing. This interaction might look like:

Volunteer: “God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from ONE TREE or the store?” (verbally emphasize the correct choice)

Child: randomly points.

Volunteer: Moves mat so that child ends up pointing to “one tree” and says, “Yes, God told Adam he could eat anything except the fruit from one tree. That’s what The Bible tells us. Let’s smash the other circle!”

OK, we finished the mat.

The *smash* mats are not a goal to finish. Rather, they are a way to reinforce the story. After smashing the four incorrect choices, read the story with the correct choices. Then, discuss the Bible verse at the end and how God wants us to obey him.

Conclusion

Bible *smash* mats can help children with disabilities learn Bible stories. They also help volunteers and buddies know how to teach. Use the Bible *smash* mats to review and reinforce Bible stories for true understanding. See options available at The Adapted Word.

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