Vacation Bible School Ideas: Engaging Kids with Faith, Fun, and Fellowship

Communities benefit from Vacation Bible Schools, which provide essential education to all. These short-term programs teach Christ-centered values and interpersonal skills using engaging and innovative strategies that bring children to faith. Vacation Bible Schools serve as fantastic community outreach tools, inviting people who don't often attend church to participate, connect with peers, and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesse Wisnewski
May 15, 2023
Kids Ministry Curriculum

Continue reading for a variety of Vacation Bible School ideas, including four themes, activities, and games to inspire your children.

How to Choose Relevant VBS Themes for 2023

Selecting the perfect theme for your children's ministry can be challenging, as it requires careful consideration of each child's unique situation. Most importantly, the theme you choose should be memorable, relevant, age-appropriate, and in line with your overall church message. Here are some of our top picks, but remember, the theme sets the stage for the rest of the VBS experience:

1. Superheroes

The appeal of this theme is clear; children love superheroes, and designing a VBS around them will spark their imagination and capture their attention. Through God, people find the strength to accomplish extraordinary feats every day, and basing your Vacation Bible School curriculum on this theme will remind your children of that very fact.

2. Outer Space

Use a galactic space theme as a way to incorporate science into your Vacation Bible School. While some people believe religion and science conflict, this exciting theme will demonstrate to your students that God designed every complexity in the universe, and we have Him to thank for the wonders of science.

3. Ready, Set, Move

Presented by Orange VBS, the Ready, Set, Move curriculum is diverse and entertaining. It is based on the principle of following God here, there, and everywhere, and serves as a child-friendly roadmap for faith. Choose this all-inclusive VBS curriculum to save your ministry leaders time and ensure your children have a top-quality experience.

4. All the Animals

Embark on a journey with Noah on his Ark as you explore Vacation Bible School ideas related to the animal kingdom. Dive into the world of gigantic beasts like whales and elephants, as well as tiny creatures like mice and butterflies. Examine themes with both ferocious predators and gentle animals, reminding your students that God created them all every step of the way.

8 Vacation Bible School Curriculum Ideas

1. Object Lessons

No list of Vacation Bible School activities would be complete without a healthy dose of object lessons to bring wonder into your young attendees' eyes. Object lessons connect faith to logic and incorporate God into everyday activities, fostering belief in Jesus from a young age. Discover nine free object lessons for children here.

2. Memory Verses

Memorizing scripture can be challenging for young minds, which is why children's ministry workers love memory verses. Short, catchy snippets of scripture are easier to remember and simple to teach. Try sharing one at the beginning of each day and repeating it several times. Here are our top 100 Bible memory verses for children.

3. Have Fun with Music

Reward your young participants for good behavior with a music session at least once a day. Children love to dance and sing along to catchy tunes—just make these songs about God, and they will be in for a treat! Listen to Twists & Turns Music for Kids VBS 2023 on Spotify, or check out this blog for 25 music options for your children at VBS.

4. Get Crafty

The VBS Crafts Rotation Leader Guide 2023, a helpful tool by Lifeway for children's ministry leaders, includes three different VBS craft ideas per day. Opting for a pre-selected pack of activities keeps the children entertained while ensuring your workers have ample time to focus on what matters—supporting the children through their VBS experience.

5. Scripture Pop Up

Liven up the process of memorizing scripture by assigning each child a unique word from a simple Bible passage. Mix the children up, have them sit on the floor, and instruct them to jump up when their assigned word is mentioned in the passage. Speed up the process each time to test their quick reactions.

6. Laughing Lions

This game is the less-peaceful sibling of the better-known game Sleeping Lions, guaranteed to put a smile on your students' faces. Arrange everyone on the ground, with each person's head resting on someone else's stomach. The first person shouts "ha," the next "ha ha," and so on until the circle is complete, and everyone is inevitably in stitches.

7. Bible Bingo

Keep it simple with this old-school game while educating your children and providing a fun time for everyone. Make it more engaging by reading a lesser-known Biblical story beforehand, then completing a Bingo scorecard based on it, following these scorecards. This activity will help commit the story to their memory while avoiding a dull Bingo game that only covers basic Biblical language.

8. Sacred Charades

Another way to deepen your children's knowledge of the stories they learn at your VBS is by playing charades afterward. Write down the names of the main characters in the story, including some better-known ones, and let the children battle it out in a classic game of charades. Divide the children into teams and offer a tempting reward for the winners.

Ways to Enhance the Vacation Bible School Experience

Teach your children the value of serving their community from a young age by incorporating mission projects into the VBS experience. Depending on the community outreach programs you offer, consider getting your young participants involved. This could involve anything from visits to elderly homes to writing cards for sick children.

How to Plan and Promote Your VBS Effectively?

Executing an impressive VBS requires months of rigorous planning. Even with the best curriculum, the most impressive location, and a variety of fun activities, inadequate planning could still lead to failure. Planning and promoting are essential for VBS, so follow this timeline to ensure you don't miss any crucial steps:

  1. Choose the topic as early as possible—ideally six months ahead.
  2. Assess your available volunteers and recruit if needed.
  3. Write a list of all the resources you will need for your VBS.
  4. Order or gather any essential items you are missing.
  5. Consider decorations and ask for help creating them (this can be a Sunday school activity).
  6. Create a detailed schedule to identify any gaps in your plan.
  7. Promote your VBS far and wide using bulletin boards, flyers, and digital signage.

Tips for Adapting Your VBS for Different Group Types

No two churches are the same, and every ministry has children of different ages, varying sizes of service, and different resources available. That's why the planning phase is so important for VBS—choosing a relevant theme and activities will keep your children engaged.

If your church has children of various ages and you want to appeal to all of them, find ways to create slightly more challenging or simpler versions of tasks for older and younger kids, respectively. For example, younger children can create a craft that the older kids then use for their theater production, while younger kids might play charades instead of participating in the show, and so on.

Even with limited resources, there are ways to support your community and your children. Offer a virtual Bible school for children who cannot attend in person, ensuring they still feel included. Providing at-home activities for children who might be sick or unable to come in ensures no one gets left behind.

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