Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Follow Up VBS with a Harvest Outreach Program

VBS may be just around the corner, but it's not too soon to start planning for a follow-up program. Get new families to come back to your church with a fun, faith-building fall festival or Halloween alternative. On the last day of your VBS program, hand out invitations to your fall festival. (Reproducible bulletin inserts, posters, and flyers are included on the CD-ROM.)

This flexible program can also be used for a Thanksgiving service of Psalms, an easy-to-do pageant about the story of Ruth, an optional puppet skit, ice-breakers, service projects, and more! 

If you're looking for harvest ideas, a Thanksgiving program, fall festival games, crafts, and outreach ideas, take a look at the Church Family Harvest Celebration outreach program with lots of reproducibles on CD-ROM. (Including the coloring pages shown below.)

This easy-to-use instruction guide tells you all you need to know—whether you've been planning church events for 25 years or this is your first time! Includes promotion and programming ideas, recipes for refreshments, games, craft instruction sheets, recipes, and lots more. Take a look at the contents and view sample pages from the Church Family Harvest Celebration.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use this flexible program:

  • Perfect for Back-to-School, Thanksgiving, or Halloween alternative
  • Step-by-step instructions for planning and set-up
  • Reproducible instruction sheets and patterns
  • Christ-centered games and crafts
  • Quick and easy decorations and centerpieces
  • Missions project ideas
Try out these coloring pages from the Church Family Harvest Celebration. There are two separate coloring pages in this file. Each coloring page has a memory verse. There is a coloring page in the file for the New International Version and a separate page for the King James Version. If you use a different Bible version than the ones given, feel free to cut off or white out the verse and replace it with the version you prefer.

You can make as many copies of these coloring pages as you need for your children's program. Click on either image below to download the harvest coloring pages. Visit our Sunday school downloads store for more coloring pages, crafts, and puzzle downloads—many as low as $1.99 each! We even have coloring pages and crafts designed especially for your VBS program. Visit our VBS downloads store  for more downloads especially for vacation Bible school. May God bless you as you prepare to teach children (and their families) about the harvest season and how much God loves them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Go the Distance Coloring Pages

Here are some coloring pages we’ve created for Go the Distance, the Mega Sports Camp VBS. There is a coloring page for each day—a total of five plus a cover page. The coloring pages have the daily memory verse portion and the lesson focus and Scripture. Each day we've added a few more words to the verses so by Day 5 both verses, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, are shown in their entirety.

This set of coloring pages contains memory verses in the New International Version. If you use a different Bible version than the ones given, feel free to cut off or white out the verse and replace it with the version you prefer. Each coloring page shows a picture of the Bible story about Paul being taught that day. There are five coloring pages plus a cover page—all for just $4.99 per set. Best of all, you can make as many copies of these pages as you need!

You may want to make a coloring booklet for each child with coloring pages for each day stapled together. At the end of your VBS week, your students will have a booklet with the entire VBS Bible stories and memory verses—a fun keepsake reminder of their week at your Go the Distance Vacation Bible School.

If you have another VBS program for which you’d like  coloring pages, just leave a comment. (Hometown Nazareth coloring pages were posted October 11, SonSurf Beach Bash coloring pages were posted October 19, 2010, coloring pages for PandaMania were posted November 9, 2010, and Main Street coloring pages were posted April 11, 2011.) 

If you’d like to take a look at any of these VBS Starter Kits, visit Shop VBS for more information and to order your Starter Kits. To view additional reproducible coloring pages, crafts, and puzzles, visit our VBS Downloads Store.

You can make as many copies of these coloring pages as you need for your VBS program. May God bless you as you prepare to teach children (and their families) about Jesus' love for them!
(Click on the image above to download the pages.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Creating a Preschool-Friendly VBS

Setting up VBS for Preschoolers

Young children who have not attended VBS before may not be comfortable with some of the large group activities planned for your elementary VBS. You can help by setting up specific preschool areas for the Bible story, free play, crafts, games, and snacks. It may help to divide your preschoolers (or any of your young students from age two to five) into groups of 8-10, with an adult or youth leader for each group. The groups can rotate through each activity station, combining with other preschool groups for the Bible story, games, and snacks.

It may also help to have a "quiet room" with puzzles, coloring pages, and picture books for your toddlers and preschoolers. Children who finish the craft early or who tire of the large-group activity can spend time in the quiet room reading picture books or doing quiet activities with an adult or youth helper.

If your VBS begins with elementary children and preschoolers together for a time of opening music, be prepared to have one or two helpers take younger children to your preschool classroom for free play if the large group setting (or the loud music) becomes overwhelming.

Use similar VBS-themed decorations for your preschool rooms as you use for your elementary VBS. Just make sure to use decorations without small parts that your little ones can swallow. A good test is to use only those items that are too large to fit inside a cardboard paper towel tube.
Place an attendance chart in your preschool area(s). Give each child a sticker as he enters and help him place it in the appropriate square on the chart. (Some children may prefer not to do this, which is fine. A helper can add stickers for them instead.) An attendance chart can be a wonderful distraction for your twos and threes who may have difficulty saying goodbye to Mom. Greet the child by  name (stoop down so you can look him in the eye), help him say goodbye and give Mom a hug, then hand him a sticker and help him find his name on the chart. You can purchase themed VBS stickers as well as Bible stickers, cross stickers, glitter stickers, and colorful attendance and memory verse charts from eChurchDepot.com.

Free Play for Preschoolers
Provide the following toys and supplies for your preschool free play area(s). Ask church members and preschool leaders for donations. Make sure they label their items if they want them to be returned after VBS. Conclude your free-play time with a bathroom break.

  • Blocks: Wooden, plastic, or cardboard blocks in different sizes, shapes, and colors; toy people and animals; toy vehicles; manipulative building toys; but nothing with sharp edges or small parts.
  • Art: Crayons, washable markers, and chalk; white paper and construction paper; poster paper taped along a wall and over tables for murals; paper shapes for coloring and decorating; stickers; tape for hanging artwork from walls and ceiling.
  • Disguises: Costumes, shoes, masks, scarves, capes, plastic sunglasses, purses and bags, and dress-up clothes for boys and girls.
  • Dramatic Play: Dolls, doll clothes, plastic cell phones, toy cameras, stuffed animals, small chairs or large pillows, doll beds, dishes, toy food, doll strollers, plastic shopping carts.
  • Books: Various picture books showing items familiar to young children such as nature, farm animals, pets, friends, family, church, preschool, etc. Include several VBS theme-related picture books, if available.
  • Puzzles: Colorful cardboard and wooden framed puzzles with 25 pieces or less, some with knobs.

Use the new Jesus in Nazareth Preschool VBS from Christian Ed. Publishers this summer to supplement your elementary VBS program from Group, Hometown Nazareth. Written especially for 2- to 5-year-olds, this five-day preschool VBS program includes Bible stories, snacks, crafts, and games with reproducible student sheets and colorful visuals on CD-ROM. You can view samples and take a look at the contents and course overview for the Jesus in Nazareth Preschool VBS. Order the spiral-bound book with CD.

Now you're on your way to a fun-filled, stress-free VBS for your young toddlers and preschoolers!

Monday, June 6, 2011

SonSurf Beach Bash VBS Active Relay Game

Here's a fun, active relay for your SonSurf Beach Bash VBS. Divide the students into teams. Provide a sponge and a clear jar for each team. Mark a start line at one end of the play area. Place a bucket of water for each team at the start line. 

Place a clear jar for each team at the other end of the play area. Give the first player on each team a sponge. At your signal, the players, dip their sponges in the water, race to the clear jar, and squeeze out as much water as possible into the jar. 

The players then race back to the next player on their team and hand him the sponge. That player dips the sponge into the water, races to the clear jar, and squeezes out as much water as possible into the jar. The player then runs back and hands the sponge to the next player on the team. Play continues until one jar is filled to overflowing with water. That team wins the game. Pour out the water from the jars and play as many rounds as time allows.

Encourage good sportsmanship and teamwork as the children play. Compliment those who cheer on others and use kind words.