The summer ushers in nice weather, fun activities, and the arrival of VBS! One of the best things about VBS is the fact that children of all ages are welcomed to learn more about Jesus. Keeping kids engaged takes a lot of work, so using God's Living Water as an example, we'll dive into all the ways you can engage kids at VBS.
As a VBS Leader, you have the opportunity to get to know your students better and build relationships. The more you and your students know each other, the more you can know how to keep them engaged. Throughout your time together don’t miss out on chances to invest in those relationships. In addition to memorizing their names, you can use the God’s Living Water Conversation Cards as a fun way to get to know your kids. There are four categories of cards in the deck, but these three categories are best for getting to know your participants: Talk it Out, Bible Trivia, and Did You Know?
In the Talk it Out series, questions lead into biblical themes found in the daily stories of God’s Living Water. These questions are simple enough that even younger students can answer and think about Jesus as a part of their life. But they also allow you to get to know how each child thinks. With the Bible Trivia and Did You Know? cards, kids will have fun learning new things and getting answers right to questions about the daily Bible lessons. Both you and your students will have the opportunity to learn new things.
This is just as much fun for you as it is for them! Imagination is key when working with kids and they’ll enjoy being part of that themselves. We all know that decorating for VBS is fun, but it also can serve as a tool to reinforce your student's learning. Go crazy with decorations! If you’re not sure where to start, check out this Pinterest Board with tons of ideas for how to decorate your space.
The Early Childhood Leaflets and Elementary Leaflets are another great way to encourage creativity as each lesson has an activity sheet connected to the lesson. The coloring sheets and activity sheets are great for keeping students focused and helping them apply what they learned in a new way, reinforcing the lesson for the day. For a little more information on how the leaflets can work, check out this video:
While it may feel like a lot to you, the more over the top you are, the more engaged your kids will be. Act out the Bible Lessons each day, maybe even do it more than once and a little differently each time so the details of the story are heard more than once. Use different voices, tell the story really quietly one time, then really loudly the next. There are so many things you can do. After a couple of times ask your students to join in and act out the story. Thanks to your demonstrations, they'll have an idea of how they can act out the story and that is just one more way for them to learn what you are teaching them.
Music is another area you can show enthusiasm. Study and memorize the song action videos, then make your motions big and energetic during your Opening and Closing sessions. Your energy will catch on and influence other children to memorize and remember the words about Jesus in the VBS songs! You can even encourage them to get to know the songs and motions really well throughout the week by inviting them to perform for everyone on the last day. Music is another technique to teach and I guarantee some of your students will remember that they are covered in Jesus’ grace because of your enthusiasm for the music of Vacation Bible School.
This summer, dive into lessons that remind your youngest and oldest learners that they're drenched in grace!