Guest Post: Expanding Children’s Minds with Bible Stories

Guest Post: Expanding Childrens Minds with Bible Stories

As the mother of three children – ages 9 and 6 (yes, I have twins) – it is mindset to go beyond the education they receive in school. With the importance schools place on standardized testing, I want to teach them the things they need to know in life that are not included in these tests. Their understanding of courage, faith, and perseverance are just as important as learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. I have found the Bible is the best way to teach them these things.

Here are some of the ways the Bible has helped my children to grow:

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Our Development Cycle: Illustration

Our Development Cycle: Illustration

4Soils is based out of the Venture Studio at Stanford, but our illustrator, Noel, works from his home in the Philippines.  This means that most of our communication—everything from the Sphinx’s smile in Joseph, to the color of Queen Vashti’s hair in Esther— is decided through email.

Sometimes it’s difficult communicating exactly what we’re looking for in text. Sometimes, after sending emails back and forth, we have to open up an image editor and draw a mockup. It’s magical how immediately a picture can make things clear.

Our Development Cycle: Illustration

Illustrations play a similar role in our apps. They clarify the story text. They bring the Bible to life, helping children imagine how Joseph must have felt when his brothers tossed him into a cistern and sold him as a slave. So just like when writing our stories, we take great care to make sure our story illustrations really support the Bible text.

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Our Development Cycle: Story

Our Development Cycle: Story

Ever told a great joke you just heard, only to find it’s not quite as funny when it leaves your lips?

Telling Bible stories feels a lot like that. The Bible is the Greatest Story Ever Told– it’s the most influential story in Western culture– it’s the bestselling story each year, every year. And it’s the divinely inspired story that’s changed the lives of millions of people.

How do you tell a story like that?

The short answer is, with a generous dose of humility.  It’s a challenge that keeps us on our feet. But it’s a thrilling challenge, because we believe that mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone provide exciting opportunities to present the Bible to children in new and interactive ways.

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Our Development Cycle, Part 1

At 4Soils we’re often asked, “What’s it like developing Bible story apps?” If that question has ever crossed your mind, or if you’re curious about life at a mobile startup, this series of posts is for you. We’re going to explore our development cycle, from story germination all the way to product release.

In this first post, I’ll present a broad overview of our development cycle, then in the coming weeks I’ll zoom in on specific processes that we go through to bring you a new Bible Heroes apps.

Our Development Cycle, Part 1

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Sneak Preview and Playtest Bible Heroes: Daniel!

Looking for some unique summer fun @ Stanford? Join us on August 6th for snacks and to playtest the newest Bible Heroes adventure: Daniel.

Playtesting with children is one of the most important steps of the app creation process, as it helps us design intuitive, fun, and educational apps that children love and parents approve.

Your children will be the first to try out Daniel, and when we release our new app we’ll credit them as contributors!

Sign up here!

David is coming soon!

David is coming!

On August 4th, Bible Heroes: David and Goliath will be available for iPhones and iPads everywhere!

-A Biblically accurate retelling of David’s showdown with Goliath.
-A beautifully illustrated world of lions and armies, of a shepherd boy and a warrior giant.
-Interactive games that reinforce the Bible story: Sort the Philistines from the Israelites, help David pick stones for his slingshot, and color David facing down lions.
-Scenes that come alive with the touch of your finger.

This August 4th, give your children the opportunity to learn God’s word in a fun and engaging way with Bible Heroes: David and Goliath!

If you haven’t experienced Bible Heroes yet, try out Bible Heroes: Noah now.

What’s the story behind 4Soils?

Whats the story behind 4Soils?Hi! My name is Lusi, and I’m one of 4Soils’ cofounders.

We’re often asked how we came up with the idea for 4Soils, so I’d like to share how everything started:

 

 

Last summer, my husband Kevin and I were staying with our close friends and their young boy, James*.

Whats the story behind 4Soils?
Over dinner one night, James began laughing hysterically.  When his parents saw our puzzled looks, they explained that James was just playing his favorite game: Talking Tom. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a game where you punch, tickle, and generally abuse a cat named Tom.

We all laughed at how amused James was.

Whats the story behind 4Soils?

Over the course of that week, I had two revelations:

1. The iPad is amazingly intuitive. James, a 3 year old child, had learned to navigate the iPad better than my mom!  This made me appreciate Apple’s design on a new level.
2. Most parents are treating the iPad like a treat or a babysitter for their children. This is probably because of the way children use the iPad–80% of James’ iPad time was spent on mindless games like Talking Tom.  But I also knew there were excellent educational games for the iPad that make learning fun and engaging for children, and I felt the iPad had so much more potential than a gaming console.

So we asked 150 parents of faith if they had found good Biblical content for their kids. The answer was pretty much “no.”

Despite the 600+ thousand (and growing daily) apps out there, almost none faithfully portrayed Bible stories.  Some companies offered stories based on the Bible, but often they took God out all together and changed important elements of the story to “fairy tale-ize” it.

But kids aged 3-8 are impressionable, and James’ and many other parents of faith believe that planting God’s love and word in their children’s hearts is the most important thing they can do for their children. So we felt called to create good, biblically accurate content on the iPad, a platform that US kids are already using an average of 43 minutes a day. We want to help parents supplement the Biblical foundation set at home and Sunday Schools.

The Happy Ending?  Today, James plays with Bible Heroes: Noah, even while out shopping with his parents at Costco!

Will you partner with us to get the word out so that all parents have access to this tool to help teach their kids about the God’s word?

Whats the story behind 4Soils?

Posted by Lusi