School is officially out in New Jersey! What a crazy past few months of homeschooling that was. I have several friends that choose to homeschool their kids and I respect and support their decision. But, what I learned through forced homeschooling during COVID-19 was that homeschooling is NOT FOR ME. My children and I do a lot better when I am not their primary teacher, but instead, their primary hugger, boo-boo kisser, joke teller, take to the park-er, etc. As thankful as I am that homeschooling is done until September (well, I hope forever!), what are we going to do all summer with a lot of our camps and activities canceled? Enter at-home Vacation Bible School!
My kids love Vacation Bible School (VBS) every summer. They love seeing their friends, singing songs with accompanying hand motions and dance moves, and all the crafts, snacks, and activities that go with it. They are all very disappointed that VBS won’t be happening, in the same way, this year. The church is offering a virtual VBS, but we all know small kids only have so much attention span to watch someone else doing a craft on a computer screen. So with help from the Spiritually Hungry Blog, I compiled a list of ideas for setting up your own VBS at home.
Find A Vacation Bible School Curriculum
There are a lot of on-line resources for VBS. You can purchase your own curriculum, ask your church to lend one to you, or even put together your own from free print-outs. Make sure you pick a theme and there are enough Bible stories, crafts, and activities to accompany that theme. Lifeway is chock full of resources for any VBS trailblazer. YouTube is also a great resource for finding simple, kid-tailored Bible lesson videos. My kids’ personal favorite Bible channel is Saddleback Kids, Animated Bible Stories.
Decide Your Vacation Bible School Format
You will need to figure out what timeframe works for you, your kids, and any other friends or family members you might have joining. How long will you do it? For a week straight? Two days a week for a month? And how much time will you spend in each session? My church did VBS from 9-12 for 5 days. This might be too long for your family. Maybe an hour a day is more manageable. Don’t forget, you are in charge which makes this flexible. If you see something is working great, run with it! If something needs to be adapted you have the freedom to do so.
Put Together A Schedule, Kids Love Structure
Vacation Bible School, just like regular school, has a list of events and a structure to follow. It usually starts with an introduction or worship time. This includes a lot of engagement between kids and the leader, fun dancing and singing to worship songs, and just getting excited for the day. Next, the kids will play a game, followed by a craft, snack, Bible lesson, and memory verse. Something to that effect. All of these activities relate back to the theme for the week.
Kids love to see bright, fun decor to get them excited about the day ahead. I swear, walking into our church’s VBS is like walking into a kid’s dream. There is loud music playing, laughter, fun, and vibrant decorations covering every inch of the wall. Pinterest will be your VBS BFF. Use Pinterest for curriculum ideas, decoration ideas, free print outs, etc. Chances are you aren’t the first person to try Vacation Bible School at home, you might as well use the resources available to you.
Invite Friends (If you can)
I know due to COVID-19, every state has its own restrictions on gathering sizes and who can meet indoors, outdoors, in groups, etc. If your state allows gatherings you should consider inviting friends to join you for your VBS activities. Even if it is not feasible to be together, consider planning the events with a friend and then hosting the day over FaceTime or Zoom. It is always more enjoyable for mom to have another mom to bounce ideas off of, and always more fun for kids to do things with their friends.
Don’t forget, HAVE FUN! If it turns out to be more of a chore than something enjoyable for everyone, start over!