Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kid-Friendly Summer: VBS

A great (and inexpensive) summer activity for kids is VBS (Vacation Bible School). Most churches offer some sort of VBS. In an effort to draw in more of the neighborhood children in addition to the kids from the congregation, our church has put on a sports camp in lieu of VBS for the past four years.
This was the first year that my daughter was old enough to attend. Sports camp is for K-6th grade, but a group of very talented teenagers run a "mini camp" for 3-5 year olds at the same time. My daughter was a few weeks shy of three at the time, but she was deemed "close enough".

The mini-campers played simple versions of basketball, soccer, and football. They also participated in other outdoor activities, such as the giant parachute.

No VBS would be complete without song time, including motions, of course.

The bouncy house was a huge hit with the little kids. My daughter talked about it every day.

The older kids got to choose between soccer, basketball, and cheerleading. They had real coaches who provided instruction, assisted by volunteer coaches from the congregation. On the last night of sports camp, the kids play a game against their coaches. Amazingly, the kids always win.

Every VBS I have ever experienced has included snack time and some sort of story time. Our mini-campers learned about "All creatures great and small" this year. The older kids had a weeklong theme of "Undefeated". I didn't sit in on any of their devotional times this year, but in years past the nightly devotionals have included an inspirational story of a real-life athlete and a personal story from one of the coaches, all tied in to a Christian principle.

And of course there is always some sort of program for the parents. Here are the mini-campers doing their "cheer". "God made sky, God made the sea, God made everything, He even made me!"

VBS is a great way to spend a week of summer. The environment is fun, community-oriented, and safe. Parents typically have the option of staying to help or of dropping their kids off. Some churches have VBS during the day; others offer it in the evening. In our area I have found that evening programs are more common; when I was growing up, we always went during the day. You can find local VBS programs by visiting the websites of churches in your areas, or by searching online for your town/state+Vacation Bible School. Not only does VBS provide your kids with great activities and time with friends, but it also has the potential to give you a break. My husband and I ran errands (efficiently!), prepared for a garage sale, and even went to dinner with friends (whose kids were in the same VBS) during our free evenings. And our daughter slept amazingly well that week!

1 comment:

The Krunchy Krab said...

The kids don't ALWAYS win against the coaches. Sometimes ultra lame volunteer coaches from the church accidentally throw the ball up at the last second and make a cross-court basket, causing a tie.