An excellent Vacation Bible School experience always leaves kids and ministry leaders delighted about Jesus and your children’s ministry program. But you don’t have to wait an entire year to reap the benefits of an awesome VBS program. Here are three VBS ideas to apply to your Sunday School curriculum to keep the delight going year-round:
1. Establish new themes.
VBS has exciting, fresh, and fun new themes every year. New themes generate excitement in your children’s ministry and help learning to feel different and intriguing. Try assigning a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly theme to your Sunday School lessons to make learning more of an adventure. For example, you might have a theme called “The Greatest Heroes” that teaches kids about several Bible heroes over a few months. To make the theme more prevalent, include hero decorations, crafts, and snacks that also tie to what kids are learning in the Bible.
2. Rotate through activities.
VBS rotates kids through short, engaging, and life-changing activities. Keep your activities to 20 minutes or less to retain kids’ attention and focus, and get them involved with their bodies. Short, meaningful activities are age-appropriate for kids, and they make a strong impact so kids are sure how Bible truths apply to their lives. For example, have kids make homemade playdough when you’re teaching kids about how God forms and changes us. Or have kids play a parachute game to help kids talk about ways God lifts us up. Always debrief activities with questions that help kids think about what they just experienced, what it means in relation to the Bible truth, and what the truth actually means for kids today.
3. Focus on strengths.
VBS focuses on the kids’ and leaders’ gifts and strengths. Kids not only learn through their strengths, but leaders can teach in the areas they feel most called. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences applies to kids and adults. When kids experience various activities, and teachers can teach from their strengths, everyone walks away aware of God’s love for them. For example, a leader might dislike making crafts, but be an excellent game leader. Letting that leader teach your games activities will not only keep the leader enthusiastic, but the kids can learn more from a leader who’s excited about what he or she is teaching. And when you plan varied activities, if a child doesn’t quite get the connection from a game because he’s not physically talented, he’s likely to make the connection in a different activity where he is talented, such as a science-y object lesson.
And the best part—these VBS features don’t have to involve all the extra hands or preparation that VBS requires.
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