Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gadget's Garage Vacation Bible School

I alluded to VBS here, but today you'll get a peak at VBS in action.

It all started in January when I started looking for the Concordia theme for this 2013 which was Tell it on the Mountain, all rock climbing and mountains and such.  Plus the lessons were really out there and as you'll see from the pictures, most of our VBS kids are six and under, so it's a bummer to have to explain complicated Bible stories to theme.  Then my pastor pulled out an old kit called Gadget's Garage.  It meant that we wouldn't have the Concordia materials available, but we rarely use those anyway, so I jumped right in.

Our VBS was held Monday, June 17 to Thursday, June 20 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Yes, it's a little shorter than a traditional VBS, but it works out well.  Four days is perfect to me.  Five days can really wear you down and three days don't even like enough.  Since our church sanctuary isn't air conditioned, we raise a tent outside and do half our activities outside and the other half in the air conditioned basement.  

We followed a basic outline of events:  registration and passive play, music and opening, lesson, craft, snack, game, music and closing.  For the most part, it worked out great!  Let's dig in!

The first day is always the hardest!  I had spent Sunday fretting over the details and getting everything to church, including plenty of garage-type decorations that I just swiped from my garage and basement.

Then, while we were getting ready, we found this little guy-a tiny baby bunny.  He's so fuzzy!  He actually hung out with us for half the week, but we did manage to relocate him away from the tent, just in case the kids got a little handsy with him.

Like I said, we opened everyday with song.  My pastor played his guitar and played songs from the Gadget's Garage CD.  Since most of our kids aren't readers yet, we didn't worry about song sheets, rather we just used some big poster boards if we needed words up.  But the songs are catchy and most of the kids caught on.  Even the adults have to get in on the action because you are never too old for VBS! 

Next up, lesson.  This year our lessons focused on Creation, Jesus' First Miracle, the Parable of the Sower, and the Transfiguration (try explaining that to 6 year olds-oh wait-I did!).  As you can see, the lessons were pretty interactive.  For Jesus first miracle, we played out the whole wedding at Cana.  I explained Creation and Transfiguration with a flannel board and Kathy threw popcorn to demonstrate the Parable of the Sower.  I have to say that Kathy might win for most delicious presentation of a parable.  

After lesson we took off for Craft Time!  Since we do an all ages VBS, we have different ability levels, so I have four craft stations:  Special Craft, Poster Coloring, Use What Ya Got, and Card Coloring.  The Special Craft changed daily and included sand art, mask creation (seen above), a lace-up heart, and sun catchers.  The posters were the daily memory verse and the cards are invitations to the Ice Cream Social which is held on the Friday right after VBS (these invitations will be used for next year).  The Use What Ya Got station is just a place for kids to get creative and use any type of random supply on the table to create what they want.  Not exactly rooted in the lesson, but it keeps them busy and engaged.

Snack time is always a hit, and Diny made sure that it was fun and delicious this year, like always.  Each day she had a mini lesson that connected to the snack in some way, and a really yummy treat.

VBS just wouldn't be complete without a few mishaps and Miles smooshing his cupcake and knocking over his juice was too cute not to capture on film before jumping to help.  He's a really good helper though because he wiped up his mess too!

After snack we played some games, most of which were of the run-and-scream variety, but this one was of the get-really-wet variety.  We had two buckets and a line of kids in the middle.  The goal was to fill your cup with water and pass it down the line to the other bucket thus filling that bucket with water.  You can see how well that worked.  I guess I should say this was of the scream-and-get-really-wet variety.

We finished up the day with more singing, prayer, memory verses and releasing these crazy kids back to their parents.  It was a long four days for me with working 8 hours at the office then another 3 at VBS, but it was worth it.  We had 25 kids total, which was exactly my goal.  That means next year I will be shooting for 30.  The kids at VBS were all really kind and loving and had a genuine love for Jesus that we were able to help grow a little more.  Plus it was fun!  For a children's librarian with no library, this is kinda my fantasy camp.

The 2014 theme has already been released and I'm actually excited about it.  It's called Gateway to Gailee and you can get more information about it here.  If you can't wait to see what I'm going for next year, you can follow up my Pinterest board to see what I'm planning.  

A big thank you to everyone that volunteered and taught and prayed and generally kept me from ripping my hair out.  And a big thank you to the kids and parents that participated because you are why we do this.  And a big thank you to Immanuel Lutheran Church for letting me be in charge of this craziness!!

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