10 commandments

Note: This post comes from a presentation Olivia did as a Kindergartner in 2007

Olivia teaches the ten commandments:

The ten commandments are ten rules that God made. He wrote them down on stone tablets. We can read the ten commandments in the Bible. I learned a finger trick from my mom and dad. It helps me understand the ten commandments. You can see the trick in the picture.

  1. Hold up 1 finger. This means that God comes first. So the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
  2. Hold up 2 fingers. Two gods is too many gods! If you have two gods, one of them must be an idol. So the second commandment is “Do not worship idols.”
  3. Hold up 3 fingers. It looks like a “W.” W is for “Watch your words.” God’s name is holy, and we should only use it when we are talking to Him, or about Him. Never in a bad or silly way. So the third commandment is “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain.”
  4. Hold up 4 fingers. What is the thumb doing? He’s resting! So the fourth commandment, to “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
  5. Hold up 5 fingers. It looks like I’m making a promise. So the fifth commandment is “Honor your parents.”
  6. Hold up 6 fingers. It looks like the finger is shooting the hand. So the sixth commandment is, “Do not murder.”
  7. Hold 7 fingers.The fingers look like people getting married. When people get married, they make promises.So the 7th commandment is, “Do not commit adultery.”
  8. Hold up 8 fingers. It looks like bars to a jail cell. So the 8th commandment is, “Do not steal.”
  9. Hold up 9 fingers. It looks like the thumb is telling lies about the fingers on the other hand. So the ninth commandment is, “Do not bear false witness.”
  10. Hold up 10 fingers and wiggle them. It looks like I’m coveting. That means you are saying, “Give me that! Give me this!” So the 10th commandment is, “Do not covet.”

More Ideas from Michelle (Olivia’s Mom):

  • Book: Hand Commands by Ann Dunagan is a children’s book with a similar concept of using hand motions as visual cues to remember the Ten Commandments. A few of our hand motions are the same, while others are different, but all are very clever and sweet! (Update: this book is no longer in print, but you can see the hand motions from the book at http://harvestministry.org/hand-commands-explanation.)



  • Song: Mercy Me teaches the ten commandments in the fun and catchy song, “Ten Simple Rules,” from their CD, 10. We all love this song! The kids and I like to make the hand movements while we sing along.
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Have fun learning the ten commandments! Be sure to let me know if it works out for you.


Fun Way to Memorize the Ten Commandments — 36 Comments

  1. Hi Michelle,
    This is probably my favorite post! I’ve got 4 little ones and it’s past time we memorized these. Gonna start tomorrow morning. I know my kids will like these hand signals.

  2. Thanks Michelle. Simple and fun (and it worked for me in about 15 minutes).

    I am going to try this with my 4th grade Sunday School kids. Figure I will ‘quiz’ them throughout the year until we have it nailed down.


      • Hi Michelle,

        We had great success! Our curriculum focused on the Old Testament. So, in addition to teaching it to my 4th graders, I was able to teach it to our entire Sunday School group (3yr through middle school).

        A couple highlights…..

        1) After class, watching the kids show their parents the hand motions, and telling them the respective commandments. Most of the parents reactions began with an open mouth. Very cool!

        2) At the end of the school year, the group went in front of the congregation. Our group leader asked the congregation, “How many people know the 10 commandments?”. Immediately, all the kids raised their hands. Awesome!

        3) When I asked the kindergarten group (still in front of the congregation) to tell me commandment No. 7, one of the boys (Trevor) shouts at the top of his lungs “STAY LOYAL!!!”. It was so great to feel the energy that comes from children when they proclaim God’s commandments with confidence.

        We had a great time making it fun to learn the hand motions. We would play games in a group to learn them. My favorite was putting 10 pieces of paper below random chairs, each with a number on it, and having the kids check their chairs (this was during our regular group openings). Those with a number told the group the respective commandment.

        Thanks again, Michelle.

        Your grateful brother in Chirst!


        • Joel, that sounds great! I’m so glad that the kids picked up on it so well! Thanks for updating me on how it worked out for you. God Bless, Michelle

  3. Love this! Thank you so much for this. I knew of a family friend who did something like this to teach her 4 children the 10 commandments, and have been searching for it to teach my 2 LO’s. Such a fun way to remember them. Thanks again. :)

  4. I found your blog while searching for ways to help my 4th grade class at church learn the 10 commandments. This is SO cute and helplful! And this song is icing on the cake. Thank you! The girls and I are going to have fun tonight! I will be teaching my 2 and 4 year old tomorrow. Makes me smile that your blog is still being fruitful 3 years after you posted this :)


  5. Love this! Will use it with my Educational Support students. Although I think all the kids could benefit.

  6. Wow you all have a beautiful family! My friend shared this post with me because we are going over the 10 commandments here at home. Thank you for the helps. Just some food for thought…The fourth commandment says to keep the Sabbath Holy. Why does the song from Mercy me say “Sunday” and not Saturday which is the 7th day in which the Lord rested?

  7. Hello, I am 34 years old, and I love my faith but I have dyslexia, and I have trouble remembering things in orders and just plain remembering anything. The finger trick is amazing, it has really helped me. At 34, I think I will be able to remember them now for the rest of my life. Why wasn’t I taught this in Sunday School? Why don’t we teach it in Sunday School now?

  8. I teach the five-year-olds in primary. I’m excited to use this activity to help the kids memorize the 10 commandments. Thanks for the great post and the darling photos!

    • My little girl in the pictures is 13 now! :)

      I hope it works well with your class! We’ve used this method for years and it is so easy to remember.

  9. Shared this post! what a great way to teach kids the ten commandments. Thank you for sharing

  10. My 13 year old has to memorize the 10 Commandments for the Lutheran Challenge. I was not looking forward to this – but your post made it so easy. She (and I) memorized all of them in about 20 minutes.

    She also has to know all of the books of the Bible – any ideas?

    Thanks very much!!

    • thats awesome, Nancy! For books of the bible, we did them in chunks. When one chunk was memorized, we’d go on to the next, reviewing old ones as we went along. We also had a song for the Old Testament. Maybe you could find a song online.

  11. I taught this to my 8th grade religion class today. They loved it and actually requested me to quiz them on it!!! Thank you!

  12. This is absolutely the best one I have seen yet. For #7, we made our thumb and pointer finger into a circle (wedding ring) and pretended to put on a wedding ring. It was an impromptu thought from a darling 8 yr old.

  13. My daughter was really struggling to memorize the 10 commandments until I came across this. What a blessing! She had it down pat after one go through. Thank you so much!

  14. hey i really wanted to tell you that the commandments are in the wrong order but other than that this is really good

  15. Hi Michelle, wow! I was glad to see this. I have used similar process for 12+ years to teach 1st & 2nd graders the ten commandments. I did so, primarily do its easier to remember, and I am an ASL Interpreter. Praise Jesus. Love the photos :)

  16. LOVE IT! Our pastor has been preaching about the Ten Commandments. He encouraged us to memorize them and of course to follow them. I only read through this lesson one time then turned off my phone and tried to remember it. With the real life connections to the Commandments as well as the pictures of your adorable daughter showing me how to hold the fingers, I was able to remember all of them for the first time in my life. I have known the Lord since a child but have not memorized. Thank you very much and may your family continue to bless others and be blessed themselves!!