Are you ready for the happy days of this summer’s VBS? To ensure
that your VBS is a rockin’ event, we’ve already started the
selection process for you. Our reviewers sifted through every inch
of every kit to help you find the top 3 bee-boppin, sho-wappin,
shang-a-lang-a-ding-dong hottest VBS programs that’ll rock the
charts in 1999.
Remember the old TV show Happy Days? Life seemed much simpler
then. The show made it seem like no one had anything better to do
than hang out at the local malt shop. And people’s biggest problems
could be solved with “the look” or a laid-back “hey” from the
We don’t have the Fonz! But we do have 15 experienced children’s
ministers and VBS veterans who’ve helped us help you. Each of our
14 participating VBS publishers was kind enough to send us three
sample kits. Then we sent the kits out to our reviewers. Two
reviewers examined each kit to ensure a checks-and-balances
Before you feast your eyes on the top three picks, let’s talk
about lingo. Here’s what we mean when we say…
• Active learning-Children learn deeply by being involved
in activities that evoke emotions. It’s learning that involves
everyone and is focused through reflection, interpretation, and
• Interactive learning-Children work together in pairs or
groups to accomplish shared goals. The success of the group is
dependent upon each group member. Children teach and learn from
• Learner-based VBS-The learning environment focuses on
children by gearing lessons to how children learn best.
Learner-based classrooms accommodate varied learning styles (how
children learn best) and multiple intelligences (innate cognitive
• Center-based VBS-Groups of six to eight children move
to various activity centers each day, such as story, craft, game,
and snack centers. The entire VBS is focused on the same lesson for
• Site-based VBS-Larger groups of children attend one
activity site for the entire time, and they attend all five sites
throughout the week. Every day, the five different lessons are
taught at these sites, and all the components of the specific
lesson happen at that site.
• Traditional VBS-Children remain primarily in one
classroom or location with the same teacher for the duration of the
VBS each day. The entire VBS is focused on the same lesson for the
CONCORDIA PUBLISHING HOUSE
Jungle Journey uses a South American theme and five Amazon
creatures as object lessons. The Bible stories focus on how God
kept all his promises in Jesus. The Scriptures pinpoint reasons for
fears and show that children don’t need to fear any more.
The Jungle Journey is definitely learner-based. The variety of
ideas and options sugessted to present the material and involve the
students is very impressive. Children will love the jungle theme
and learning all about the interesting jungle creatures. Did you
know there’s a lizard named the Jesus Christ lizard? It got its
name because of its ability to walk on water to get away from
See what we mean! Children love learning new and interesting facts
1. Hands-on activities. Questions encourage student
interaction. Enough material to create an interactive
2. Content-Well-planned and sequential. Bible-based with
daily life application. Service and mission projects. Doesn’t
include specific information on how to lead a child to
3. Director materials-Detailed step-by-step format.
Contains preplanning schedules, training session material, job
descriptions, relational tips, registration procedures, ideas for
extended sessions, emergency plans, and security ideas.
4. Teacher materials-Each age group contains teacher tips
for age-level insights, discipline, and special-needs children.
Details the life application in each lesson. Informative program
introduction. Great resources for future events or classes.
Preparation is not too intensive.
5. Student materials-Attractive and colorful. Contain
real information with reinforcement of the lesson objectives. Used
effectively for review and life application. Provides parents a
quick and easy report of the day. Inviting to unchurched
6. User friendliness-Easy to use and prepare. Information
is easy to find. Easy-to-follow directions. Craft kits are ready to
go. Lesson patterns and objects are ready to be copied. Teacher
packets are available and include CDs.
7.Publicity helps-There are 10 pages of publicity ideas
including ways to craft your own publicity plan. Colorful,
kid-friendly posters, door knob hangers, and postcards. Other items
available for purchase. Emphasis on children inviting their
8. Teacher aids-Extra resources available such as a
decorating guide, teacher packet with easy-to-use materials and
idea helps, and a skit book.
9. Theme-The jungle theme is attractive to kids of all
ages. The theme is interwoven into all the activities. Evangelistic
10. Art-Vivid, colorful, and child-friendly. Real-life
photos and cartoon characters create an appealing
11. Crafts-Great craft ideas relate to the Bible lesson
for the day. Prepackaged, ready-to-assemble crafts are a bit pricey
but very easy. There’s also the option of gathering your own craft
12. Music-Lively, upbeat, and easy to learn. Catchy,
simple tunes relate to the lesson themes. Appealing to girls and
boys. Split-track CDs and cassettes, music song books, and lyrics
books are available.
13. Games-Simple noncompetitive games tie in with the
theme. Good mix of age-appropriate games for lesson
14. Snacks-Easy to assemble with easy-to-find
ingredients. Snacks relate to the theme. Kids are involved in snack
preparation. Cost-effective for large groups.
15. Adaptability-Many options for expanding each lesson
for a 10-day program or summer Sunday school curriculum. Suitable
for a backyard Bible club or camp setting. Family Fun Pak offers
ideas to make the VBS intergenerational.
16. Opening/Closing-Simple opening celebration. Ideas for
a closing event with the parents. Skit includes the same characters
from their 1998 VBS.
17. Drama-Lots of opportunities for skits and role
playing. Drama takes place mostly in the Bible-story review.
18. Format-Full of possibilities for solid relational
connections between children and adults. Class time takes on a
small-group feel. Schedule options for center-based and traditional
19. Follow-Up-Demonstrates strong value in connecting to
unchurched families with ideas for follow-up visits and
20. Registration-Preregistration ideas and strategies for
hassle-free registration. Reproducible registration forms included.
Colorful, theme-related registration cards are available.
21. Vital statistics-Starter kit, $39.99. Concordia
Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, Missouri
63118. Or call 800-325-3040 or (519) 748-2200.