VBS Wrap-up

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:12 NIV).

Looking back at VBS, it all comes back to the Bible points the children learned each night:

  • God made you.

Monkey really got this point! Now she says everything from water and sun to markers and princesses are made by God. He made everything -almost everything:

While daddy was holding her and tickling her, he asked “who made tickles?”
Monkey giggled “Daddy made tickles.”

  • God listens to you.
  • God watches over you.
  • God loves you no matter what.
  • God gives good gifts.


Since Monkey only really got one of the five points, I almost wished VBS was more than one week, but then I got a grip. Instead, I decided to think of easy ways to keep the momentum of VBS going at home.

How To Incorporate VBS Elements At Home:

  • Pick a Bible story that illustrates one of the Bible points as an overall theme.
  • Be excited and upbeat.
  • Read the Bible story together. (Knowing Monkey, she’ll then read it back to me in her own short sweet version.)
  • Act out the Bible story. At VBS I saw how much the children enjoyed acting out the story of Jonah. They also enjoyed laying under a sheet pretending to be Jesus as the station leader recounted the story of Jesus rising from the tomb and being alive again. Right now I’m envisioning telling the story of the Samaritan woman and having my daughter and niece take turns acting out the scene with real water. They’ll love that and maybe the story will take root in their enjoyment.
  • Sing and dance together to one of the songs from the VBS CD that speaks to the Bible point.
  • Do a craft that relates to the Bible point. I learned at VBS that my daughter and several of the other children enjoyed making things to wear, like beaded necklaces, masks, and cups attached to yarn (okay, they were supposed to be kaleidoscopes, but the pre-schoolers in my crew liked them better as cups. Several of them wore them every night!) They also liked being able to draw on a big blackboard with thick chalk. Of all the possible crafts, I’m most excited about the lessons to be taught through making beaded necklaces. It’s easy. Monkey really loves beaded jewelry and most of all because downtown we have The Potomac Bead Company. The sight of all those beads and colors just makes me feel happy.
  • Reinforce the Bible point during our runs together. Nature gives so many opportunities to support God’s word.
  • Pray together.

***

So to wrap-up VBS 2011: Pandamania, I have to say that I’m so proud to be a part of FUMC Chambersburg. Members are so generous with their time and talents. They inspired me throughout the week.

Miss Dawn from The Write Soil co-hosted the opening and closing programs with energy, enthusiasm and passion. My niece adored her. As I watched her, one word came to mind: brilliant!

Other members had such warm hearts, children were just drawn to them. And I’m especially grateful to those members blessed with voices that speak to young children. It’s truly a gift to be able to get and keep the attention of a group of three and four-year-olds.

I have one word for the decorations for Pandamania: spectacular! The decorations truly transformed our church into a jungle. Below is just a small glimpse of a much more amazing picture:

VBS Night 3

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast ~ (Psalm 139:9-10 NIV).


Dear Friends and Readers,

We are half way through our week long Vacation Bible School and I find myself struggling to write with energy and enthusiasm. I had no idea that I would feel so drained and sapped of creativity after only three nights. But it’s totally worth it! Witnessing my daughter and niece discover God’s awesome love is simply amazing.

Without further ado, I give you my observations from Wednesday night:

  • It’s incredible the differences between pre-schoolers going into kindergarten in the fall and pre-schoolers who will attend pre-school for the first time in the fall.
  • Tonight’s Bible story was Jonah. My fellow crew member and I were both impressed when all the children recognized the blue sheet on the floor as ‘water’ during ‘Bible Adventures.’ Once they were told the brown mat was the boat, apparently it was obvious to them all that a blue sheet would be water.
  • My niece ‘Zoey’ became my God Sighting for the day when lying on her stomach beside a little boy, she looked at him and said, “You are so adorable.” And later when we were on our way home, I heard her singing softly, “He’s wild. God is wild about us.” I’ve heard her sing Beyonce’s Single Ladies and the entire soundtrack to The Little Mermaid, but hearing her sing about God for the first time made my own heart sing with joy.
  • Is it possible for a child of 4 to be obsessive compulsive? I’ve witnessed one child go straight to the bathroom and wash her hands every night this week. And every time she passes a hand sanitizing station, she saturates her hands, which is a big no-no for little children.

VBS is draining and can be frustrating at times, but it’s been an incredible learning experience and overall, a total blast! Stay tuned to hear all about tonight’s adventures!

Blessings!

Your friend and blogger,

 

God Sightings

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? ~ (Psalm 139:7 NIV)

Thanks to VBS I now have a term for the process I’ve been practicing with Monkey for the last few months –God Sightings, or illuminating evidence of God’s presence in our lives. I discussed pointing out God’s presence to Monkey during our runs in this earlier post – Running with Monkey. If you remember, she didn’t seem to be impressed at the time.

Fast forward a month after her first night of Vacation Bible School where she learned that God made her and it’s a completely different story! On our run this morning rather than pointing out something and saying, “God made that,” I asked her, “Who made the ducks?” Her answer was immediate: “God made the ducks!” I repeated the same process for practically everything and her answer was always the same and it was always said with excitement.

Tonight at VBS, one of the station leaders asked her “Where did you see God today?” Monkey replied softly, “God made the water.” I practically wept with the pride bursting in my heart. By golly, she got it! There must be something about VBS that helped make the idea click for her.

Group Publishing, Inc. provides the material for our church’s VBS and in the Crew Leader Pocket Guide they note: “The more you incorporate God Sightings into your conversations with kids, the more they’ll ‘get it’.” This has certainly proved true in my experience.

Here are Group’s suggestions for incorporating God Sightings into your day:

Sights –

  • Eat or drink something that God made. Then say, ‘Thanks, God.’
  • Point out something God made that makes you smile.

Sounds –

  • Point out how we think of God when we hear people singing about him.
  • Tell kids that hearing laughter and happy voices reminds you of the joy God gives us.

After helping Monkey recognize God Sightings, the next step is to help her be a God Sighting.

Here are Group’s tips on helping kids show God’s love to others:

  • Encourage children to thank those who take care of them.
  • Thank children for watching over their younger siblings and friends.
  • Encourage children to help clean up.
  • Practice giving high fives for jobs well done.
  • Surprise your child by exclaiming “God loves you!”
  • Challenge kids to share what they’ve learned about God.
  • Praise children for physical gifts like running, jumping, singing, clapping and smiling.
  • Encourage kids to ask questions, let them know that God gave them each a bright mind that can learn more about Jesus.

Pocketful of Pandas

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well ~ (Psalm 139:14 NIV)

 

This week Pocketful of Playdough is going wild! It’s PandaMania around here with Vacation Bible School Starting tonight! This is the first year Monkey can participate and I’m helping out as a crew leader for the pre-school kids. (I know! ‘Wild’ seems rather tame compared to the chaos I’m expecting.)

Rather than try and stick with my regular blogging schedule, I plan to post the good, the bad and the funny I overhear or witness at VBS, like this little gem from my nephew:

“Who is this ‘Amazing’ Grace she keeps singing about?” ~Logan, age 7, said this during the luminary ceremony at Relay for Life this past weekend.

ETA: VBS Night 1

Oh what a fun week it’s going to be! I have four pre-schoolers in my crew, one is my daughter and another is my niece, but that doesn’t make them any easier to control!

Tonight we learned that God made you. So I’ve asked Monkey many times who made you, and she always replies, “God made us!” Why she insists on saying “us” rather than “me” I don’t know, unless she’s including her cousin.

After we got home and I got Monkey to bed, I immediately went to the bag I got as a crew leader and started reorganizing. I really wanted to switch to one of my prettier and brighter bags, but in the interest of staying recognizable as a crew leader, I’ll stick with the same bag the other leaders have, but it’s so hard! After one night, I knew that our snack time is scheduled too late in the evening so I’ve added some baggies of pretzel sticks and a couple pouches of fruit snacks.

After I straightened out my bag, I giddily pulled out my red folder with our schedule, a map and the daily lesson sheets. Oh the fun I had highlighting, stickering, hole-punching and note-making! My bag may look like everyone else’s but I guarantee that no one has a cuter and more organized folder :)