Simple Activities to Use During VBS Transition Times

VBS season has rolled around, and whether you’re gearing up for the kids and fun times or if you still have weeks to go before your VBS, it’s always a good idea to be prepared with plenty of extra resources and games to keep kids engaged during any downtime. Here are some VBS transition ideas for filling extra time at the beginning of the day, the end of a station, or even during snack-time when some energetic kiddos are getting antsy.

Transition Time #1: Waiting for VBS to start

When VBS is ready to start and the energy level is high, mental acuity games are the best way to go. These are the kind of games that kids must pay careful attention to words or actions in order to obtain the answer or meaning of a puzzle.

  • Game Idea #1: Word association – For example, “What goes with a baseball?” or, “What goes with a vase?
  • Game Idea #2: Johnny Johnny Whoop – Hold out your hand and touch each finger, tapping the tip of each finger from the pinky to thumb, saying "Johnny" as each finger is tapped and "whoops!" as you slide between the index finger to the thumb. Go back the other way, the same pattern in reverse. This happens very quickly so it sounds like, "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny whoops, Johnny whoops Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny." Then, add something unnoticeable like a small cough, scratching your nose, or placing your hands on your hips. When you ask the kids to repeat it, they have to repeat everything exactly back. You repeat it until they realize that you mean everything. Each time you repeat it, make the "unnoticeable" action more obvious (such as scratching your nose at the end).
  • Game Idea #3: Accent the word – Take turns going around accenting the next syllable in a sentence following the previous person. For example, the first person says: “JEsus loves you.” The second person says, “JeSUS loves you.” The third person says, “Jesus LOVES you,” and so on.

Transition Time #2: Kids are tired of the activity at hand

Try redirecting attention using a fun riddle or two. This type of activity gets kids interested in finding the answer to either a humorous question or a factual, informative statement.

  • Riddle Idea #1: Would you rather questions – These questions can be simple to come up with on your own, or try doing a quick search on the web for a list of pre-made questions.
  • Riddle Idea #2: Old-fashioned riddles – A number of good old riddle books can be found at your local library or with a quick search online.
  • Riddle Idea #3: I Spy – Ask kids for “clever questions” first. “Is it something bigger than my hand?” Or, “Is it something on another person?”

Transition Time #3: Storytelling is over, but it isn’t quite yet time to move to the next station

If you have some downtime between storytelling and the next rotation site, try incorporating some Bible memory games. These games help kids spend a bit more time practicing the verses of the day, encouraging them to learn the verses by heart!

  • Verse Game Idea #1: Say it louder – Instruct half of the kids to say the memory verse louder than the other half.
  • Verse Game Idea #2: Fill-in-the-blank – Have the kids fill in the next word after the previous person’s turn.

Transition Time #4: Music time is over, but there are a few more minutes before the next station

Fun songs or rhymes can be a good way to transition out of the music site into another site at VBS. Anything on the silly side usually holds the attention of kids, especially the young or more rambunctious ones.

  • Fun idea #1: Silly songs. Great go-to songs are “Herman the Worm,” “Baby Shark,” and the favorite, “Ha-La-La-La,” which gets everyone moving around to the interactive verses. All can easily be found online.
  • Fun idea #2: Tongue Twisters. “Sally Sells Seashells” and “How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck” are classics.
  • Fun idea #3: Rhythmic clapping and echoing. Start off with a simple clap rhythm that the kids copy back to you. For echoing, have the kids repeat back a song phrase or Bible verse they’ve been learning.

Utilize simple time-fillers like these to keep kids engaged and entertained the entire time they’re at VBS. The most important thing is that everyone has fun while learning about Jesus.

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Karle Embretson

Karle Embretson is a student at Concordia University, Nebraska. She keeps busy at school with an English major as she endeavors to change the world one word at a time. Last summer, she interned at Concordia Publishing House in the Marketing department, where she honed her writing skills as she worked with VBS and Sunday School material. In the past, Karle has been a camp counselor and VBS volunteer who really enjoys spending time with kids and Jesus. You can usually find her outside in the sunshine with a good book, writing a story or two, or trying to be as amazing as her favorite movie character, Napoleon Dynamite.

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