Hang netting from the walls (soccer nets can be used as fishing nets) and place sea stars and shells in the netting and on the floor beneath it. Toy sea animals add a fun touch, too. If you have outdoor areas, bring in clean sand or sandboxes with shovels, pails, and more shells. Paint a large box to look like an open treasure chest (or use a large trunk) and fill it with gold paper or newspaper spray-painted gold. Then place gold and silver coins, colorful beaded necklaces, and other fun “treasures” on top so they spill out. Seat a toy parrot on top of the chest. You can also place several smaller treasure chests around your VBS area.
Hang some life preservers on your walls. Ask church members for old trunks, compasses, large bells, small sailor’s hats, camping equipment, old ship’s wheels, barrels, and anything else nautical you can use to decorate your rooms. Don’t use anything with splinters or any sharp or rusty objects, however. Staple ocean wave borders or blue fabric to your walls for an ocean effect. An old mop and a bucket also make wonderful props.
Fish squirts are fun decorations that can be placed in a tub of water for a wet play area. This also makes a great place for cooling off the children on a hot day. Give your student leaders and adult helpers spray bottles of water to squirt children who get warm during your game time and need a way to cool off.
Create a photo area with a large barrel, rope, old maps, a sail, an anchor, and anything nautical you can find. Old sheets make wonderful sails. Hang a High Seas Banner in the background. Take a picture of each child holding a spyglass and send it to him or her the week after VBS. (A spyglass telescope craft will be posted on this blog next week.) Include an invitation to your next children’s ministry event (Bible club, fall festival, or Sunday school kick-off) and a note reminding the child (and his parents) about the fun time they had at VBS.
Now you’re ready to set sail for an exciting VBS ocean adventure!