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I'm often asked if there are any Bible "apps" I'd recommend for use in Sunday School or home. In short, the good ones are few and far between, and by the time you read this, they may be defunct. Some apps come and go rather quickly or are buggy. But... there are some good ones. Read on! We're talking about downloadable apps for cellphones and tablets and a few which are websites-based content creation tools (like Genially). If you want to recommend an app, please hit the "reply" button below.

Bible-based Apps for Sunday School Kids

Bible-based apps for Sunday school kids

There are two main categories of Bible "apps" for kids:

  1. Christian video apps that allow your kids to access and watch Christian videos. Sometimes the content is free. Sometimes the app is free but extra content is pay-as-you-go. Some like the Superbook app are completely free.

  2. Bible Story and Game Apps for your cellphone or tablet. Some of these have "in app purchases" to unlock features or extra content."  Some of these are iphone/Apple store only, but most also have an Android/GooglePlay version as well. And some have multiple versions of the app for use on a wide array of platforms, including PCs and tablets.

    *Many apps require an internet connection to download specific story or game content as you use the app


This is a courtesy listing.  Some are better than others or may meet more of your needs. The theological point of view of many Bible apps is conservative, though less-conservative believers may find that POV muted or not objectionable. Like all resources, you have to preview.

SunScool --this app is awesome! And it comes in iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and Window versions. Created by a UK non-profit international ministry, the app also comes in many different languages. With the exception of one or two story retellings, I found it reasonably ecumenical.  Especially liked the story related puzzles, narration option, and "diamonds" awards to incentivize use.  See my full review in a post below!

Bible App for Kids by life.church   --this ministry continues to develop a very nice "app" product for young children. Also known as the "You Version Bible App for Kids" --the stories are animated.

Superbook Kids Bible App --a free app that lets you watch the popular Superbook Bible story videos.

RightNow Media  --they have a large catalog of Bible videos for kids and adults which you can access over the app (or online) for a fee.

Jesus Bible Trivia Challenge

Bible Coloring Book (Bible Coloring Pages)

Guardians of Ancora
from Scripture Union is designed for iPad, Looks very interesting.

The Bible Word Match Game

Bible Songs for Kids (Offline)

Windows-Based Bible Software recently released or in production

As of 2022, I have found just two PC-only Bible games in development. There may be more. Neither has been released. If I find more worth mentioning I'll create a new post about them.

  • BIBLE X coming in 2023/24, a game about a dystopian future.
    Not sure of the theological POV.

  • Exodus Vigil --a game exploring the Exodus and Egypt. The graphics look great.

  • Please note: A few of the "apps" also come in a Windows version.

A Reminder

Supporting Members of Rotation.org have free access to Sunday Software's library of 18 Bible story and game programs for Windows.


Secular Apps That Might Be Useful in a Sunday School Setting

Here's a list of secular apps suggested by other teachers that have been used in Sunday School (or someone thought about using them). The list is about two years old, so a few of these apps may already be defunct or superseded by the next great app. (This message posted 2020.)

A list of secular “learning and creativity” apps, mostly of the Apple iPad variety. A few are free or have free account options. MOST of these would be for older children and teens.

Having used a number of "creativity programs" over the years in my computer labs, the issue is always the amount of time it takes for the kids to learn and use the tool -vs- the amount of classroom time they take to focus the tool on the CONTENT you want them to learn. You can waste a lot of time "being creative" and not teaching a darn thing. The answer is to know your tool, and keep the kids on track.

  • For creating podcasts: Anchor
  • For creating videos: Animoto, Clips, Flipgrid, Kapwing, Loom, Magisto, Typito, WeVideo

  • For creating animated videos: PuppetMaster App
    This looks really cool, though might take some time to play, create, and master.
    See the YouTube video demonstration of Puppetmaster. It's not free, but might be worth the $2.99 if you are really into your tech Sunday School!  See my "closer look" below.

  • For making a video into a lesson: Edpuzzle
  • For creating publications: Book Creator
  • For giving photos a voice by taking a picture: Chatterpix Kids
  • For creating scavenger hunts: GooseChase
  • For drawing and animating: Green Screen by Do Ink
  • For creating online binders: LiveBinders
  • For engaging discussions: NowComment
  • For creating boards, documents, and webpages: Padlet
  • For creating digital stories: Pixie
  • For creating digital stories using photos: PhotoPeach
  • For creating digital flashcards and interactive games: Quizlet
  • For creating immersive 360 tours: Tour Creator
  • For creating playlists and newsletter: Wakelet

  • See the post below about Genially -- a fun creative content creation program. It's not an app, rather, you log onto a website to use it and share presentations with each other.

  • Some of the apps originally on the above list were nowhere to be found when I updated the list. If you can't find it in your app store, then it's probably defunct. Let me know.

What would you add to the list? Which apps have you used in the classroom (or recommended for home use)? Post your recommendations below.

https://www.rotation.org/pages...lessons-for-children

This topic was started by Rev Neil MacQueen, founder of Sunday Software and a Sunday School computer lab teacher with over two decades of teaching with tech experience. 18 of Neil's interactive PC software titles have been made available as free downloads to the supporting members of Rotation.org.

Many of the same principles Neil pioneered with computer software in the classroom apply to the use of tablets and apps, most importantly the "guide by the side" position of the teacher with tech and students, and the understanding that the tech tools we use should serve the goals of the lesson plan, not crowd it out.

See the recording of a Webinar about Teaching with Sofware and Bible Apps led by Neil at https://www.rotation.org/topic...oftware-Apps-Seminar. In it he talks about many of the apps listed in this topic, as well as how to teach with software and apps in Sunday School and at-home.

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How do you teach with Tablets and Bible Apps
in Sunday School?

This has been a major question I've had for many years.

The usual "Use Bible Apps with Kids" articles I've read list a few apps and then just say "use them!" -- as if that's enough detail to build a lesson plan with.

I've been using PC software in Sunday School since 1991 and even produced software for Sunday School --so I know what the lesson challenges are on any size screen. Honestly, I would have scuttled our early experiments with PCs in the classroom IF all we were able to do was "view Bible videos on the screens." Why? Because we already had a way to do that on bigger screens. What I was looking for was interactive content that was MORE than just a video. I was looking for onscreen content that included Bible Background, asked thought-provoking questions, and gave the kids a tool to reflect. I eventually collected and created software that did that (18 of those titles can be downloaded for free here at rotation.org).

Based on what I'm reading and seeing, MOST Sunday School classrooms that use tablets are using them as a substitute for showing Bible videos on a larger screen. They are putting small screens in the hands of the students by viewing a Bible story through a Bible app on a tablet device --and that's not terribly exciting.

  • Occasionally those Bible apps have follow-up activities --usually of the preschool kind (coloring, moving puzzle pieces) and not much more.
  • Some might have a quick story quiz.
  • Almost none explain the story, present discussion options, or provide reflection.
  • The teacher might have them look at something online, such as a Bible map or picture of a Bible location (but that opens up your tablets to viewing all sorts of other problematic stuff).

Kids will surely love to have the video in their hands, but with many tablets, controlling where and what the kids are viewing can become a hassle. We have this same problem with PCs in my Sunday Software days, but at least the software offered more than "just" the story. We could tell everyone to "stop when you get to X point" so that everyone could catch up. And when the program didn't have discussion content or reflection material built into it, we added it as part of our lesson plan.

A BETTER WAY

How to use tablets in every phase of a lesson plan

Some are content just to have tablets in a limited role within their lesson plan -- to show the story video only, for example. But if you're going to make the investment and want to tape the power of interactive learning with a tablet, there's a better way to lesson plan with them based on the various ways you can use a tablet and the apps available to them.

Your Tablet Can Present the Bible Story

The most popular use of tablets in Sunday School today is to use them as substitutes for a paper Bible. This is done by downloading your favorite Bible app, such as YOU VERSION Bible for kids, and reading it with the kids. These apps present the story with animation too.  If it gets them to engage more and remember more, then I'm all for it. Nothing sacred about paper. Jesus didn't own a paper Bible.

You can also show a video of a Bible story, such as those from the free Superbook Bible app, or viewing a YouTube video clip. Lots of great clips on YouTube! --including those that both show the story AND give life application.

Another popular way to use tablets in Sunday School involves USING A CREATIVITY APP to create something about the story on your tablet is a popular follow-up activity. Here you are limited by age to tools that kids can use. Some creative apps I've seen recommended online are too hard for younger children to use --without devoting most of your class to learning how to use the tool (which is a big no-no in my book).  In the post above this one, I've listed many of the creativity "make something" apps out there. There are hundreds of them.

I know quite a bit about incorporating "creativity apps" in a Sunday School lesson because for years I used creativity software like KID PIX on PCs in various computer labs and lesson plans. Many of today's "free" creativity apps can do some of what Kid Pix offered --creative drawing, as well as creating and manipulating student-made video clips about something in the story.

Thus, your "tablet powered" lesson plan might look like this:

A "tablet using" lesson plan for Sunday School:

1. Opening:  Type a line of prayer that you want to speak out loud when we start class with an opening prayer. (They can also use a creativity app to quickly create their response.)

2. Bible Story: View this Bible video clip from either a children's Bible app or online source, such as YouTube.

3. Discuss with the Class

4. Use this Tablet App to create a special scene or reflection graphic or video that summarizes what you have learned from today's story/discussion.

5. Share your Creative App content with the rest of the class

6. Closing: Type a sentence thanking God for _______ and asking God for __________. Speak it out loud to the class if you are willing. (These prayer responses can also be creatively and quickly made in your creativity app.)

Depending on the age of your students and whether or not you can find the Bible story content in an app, you might use all six of these "steps" or just one or two.  The MORE you use the tablet, of course, the happier the kids will be.

I've included the Opening the Closing steps 1 and 6 in the above outline to share one simple way of using your tablets to promote prayerful interaction. I wouldn't do it all the time, but when you're using tablets and apps in your lesson, why not go the whole way!

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

A Closer Look at the "You Version Bible App for Kids"

YouVersionKids

You Version presents 41 major Bible stories with animation that your kids watch, listen to, and interact with by touching the screen to make fun things happen. Ages 3-7.  Cellphone or Tablet. This Bible app was created by Life.Church, an American evangelical multi-site church based in Edmond, OK.

The text of the stories is kid-friendly retelling, like a storybook. After each "page" is heard you can click the page to make things happen, like make character grumble or jump.  After you have read the story, only then can you do the activity. At the end of the story there's a quiz question. You receive "points/awards" for reading through, answering the question, etc.

The app presents some modest "follow up activities" for the kids that include the ol' "matching cards" game (aka Concentration).  They didn't do a lot to enhance the content, but I suppose they help to incentivize kids to continue learning the stories so they can play the games.

Story menu

The program reminds me of the Play and Learn Children's Bible software that came out in the late 90's on PC and Mac. You Version features more animation.

The same story videos found in the app are also posted on YouTube.

Of course, you don't get the tablet interface, touch and follow-up activities if you just watch the video on YouTube.

Each story must be downloaded to your device when you want to watch it. That's not a problem unless you have a really slow internet connection.

The "Bible App for Kids" is available for iPhone/iPad, Android Tablets, and Amazon Kindleyouversionappoptions

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A Closer Look at the "Puppetmaster" App for Sunday School

When you watch the video demo, you'll "get" my interest in this app. For $2.99 your kids use their own body movements(!) to teach a puppet to move, or they can move the puppet with their finger touches on the screen. They begin by taking a photo of a drawing they've made (or any graphic) and the app turns it into a moveable, posable puppet which you can then turn into an animated sequence of the puppet moving. Very cool. Check out the video demo below.

There’s a learning curve,,so best to schedule its introduction and practice use over a more than one Sunday in a row. Also a good idea to have a helper become familiar with the tool.

How could you use it in a lesson plan? You could assign different characters in a story to different tablets, and have each kid come up with their "puppet" scene to show and share when the story was retold. Bible stories with varied scenes, dialog, and emotions that can be acted out would work best —just as they do with traditional puppets.

Movement-Motions are a great way to remember a story and get into its head.

  • What did the prodigal's father look like when he was running toward his son?
  • What did the priest do when he saw the bloodied man and stepped to the other side?
  • What did Moses do and act like when he split the Red Sea?

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

A Closer Look at "Genially"

Genially is a really powerful website-based tool for creating fun presentations and animated quizzes. It's not an app, it's on a website.

Lots of templates to choose from to get you up and creating FAST.  I use another similar tool called "Powtoons," though its learning curve seems a bit steeper than Genially.

Originally created for teachers, there's no reason why older kids couldn't be taught to use it. Make their animated presentations of a Bible story, add quizzes for others in the class to take.

The FREE version allows unlimited creation, but you can't download them for viewing later. Instead, you save your creations for viewing on the Genially website (which you can share a URL to so people can view it from their other devices, like parents at home on their phones).

Lots of point and click actions to create your presentations. Check the video below of a Tech Teacher's YouTube overview of Genially.

Below is a screenshot of their animated quiz creation tool (one of many). I was immediately drawn to their "gamification" templates, which are different ways to present fun quizzes and facts.

In the online version, the objects in the quiz are moving.

Here's a pretty good "overview" from an independent Tech teacher. Lots of good ideas here, some a little "201" instead of 101.

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Closer Look at the SUNSCOOL Bible App for Kids

This app is very cool and robust. There's so much to it that it is hard to describe without the app in front of you. Which is one of my biggest suggestions: an adult or teacher needs to be familiar with the app before asking a child or youth to use it.  When you first open the app it asks you for your age so that it can adjust its "help" system for you (I really liked that feature).

  • Modestly animated stories, good story interface.
  • Kid-friendly retellings, text, and interface.
  • Comes with multiple language and age options.
  • Can be downloaded to just about any type of smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Narration and onscreen text. Kid and adult reading voices.
  • Lots of "after the story" activities geared to the story, including word searches, memory verses, and quiz questions ---with 'helps' based on your age.
  • Kids win diamond awards for reading and completing each story's game.
  • A great "help" system --a hand appears onscreen when the app thinks you need help.
  • Based upon the free multi-lingual Bible lessons for children produced by Bible Educational Services, a UK international Bible ministry.  I found the content very ecumenical.

Here's a video posted to YouTube by Sunscool showing their Easter story presentation. This gives you a flavor of how the stories are presented, told, and heard.

The Sunscool app has over four dozen stories to choose from. They are grouped under headings in the menu like "Peter" and "Acts, Early Church," and "Parables" (see screenshots below). Some of the menu collections are topical like "What is Prayer and How Do You Pray?"  and "What is the Bible?"

The App was originally geared for non-believers or unchurched children, but even Sunday School kids will find it engaging and helpful, if not also fun.

Available for just about any type of device!

Here are a few random screenshots of the main story menu to give you a visual idea of how the app's content is organized.

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Yes, this app could be used IN SUNDAY SCHOOL! I can easily imagine a group of students gathered around tablets and being led to the story and activities with the TEACHER by their side, stopping to ask questions and add content.

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