Have you been tasked with putting together this summer’s Vacation Bible School curriculum? Then there’s a good chance you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, VBS is an incredible opportunity to bring your community and your congregation together for a week of fun and education, but planning that week is no easy feat. To help you out, we’ve put together some VBS themes to get you started, as well as plenty of Bible-themed games, activities, and kid-friendly crafts to go along with those Vacation Bible School theme ideas. And of course, all of these ideas have one goal in mind: helping kids to familiarize themselves with the Bible.
If you’re someone who has a special kid in your life, then you know how important it is to help children understand the word of God. And while some verses may be a bit beyond their understanding right now, there are plenty of ways to teach them the lessons they need to know through VBS games, activities, and crafts. Summer is approaching, so once you’ve picked your Vacation Bible School theme for this year, then it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll spend the week. Here are some unique and clever VBS ideas to keep kids engaged and excited as they learn about the Bible this summer.
Best Vacation Bible School Theme Ideas
- Under the Sea: Dive right into the word with an Under the Sea VBS theme, which is all about how Jesus doesn’t just see what’s on the outside of people — he sees deep down on the inside, too.
- Superheroes: Through God, we have the strength to do incredible things, and a Superheroes VBS theme will remind kids just how powerful and capable they are, as long as they believe.
- Camping Trip: Even if you don’t actually spend the night under the stars, a Camping VBS theme is great for getting kids to put away their screens and appreciate the beauty and splendor of Mother Nature.
- Wild West: God is like a cowboy who shepherds us with care and leads us away from danger, and a Wild West VBS theme allows you to reflect on that (plus learn some square dancing and lasso skills).
- Outer Space: God’s galaxy is vaster than we could ever imagine, and an Outer Space VBS theme will allow kids to explore that expansive universe and the small (but vital!) role they play in it.
- Weird Science: Just as God lovingly created us, a Science VBS theme can focus on allowing kids to craft their own inventions and try fun experiments.
Best Vacation Bible School Games
- Trinity Tag: In this Bible-themed take on the classic game, the person who is picked to be “It” must try to tag their peers. However, in this version, a group of three people — representing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – can hold hands and form a triangle in order to remain safe. When a whistle is blown, the “trinities” must separate and continuing running from whoever is “It.” Anyone who is tagged while standing alone becomes the new “It.”
- Bible Charades: This game is just like regular charades except with Bible characters. After dividing groups into teams, have each participant write down Bible characters for the other team to act out for their teammates. Teams then get points for the number of characters they guess correctly.
- Belly Laugh: God has a joyful heart, and a quick game of Belly Laugh will remind kids of this. To start, have one child lie on their back, then have another child lie with their head on the other child’s belly. Once everyone is positioned on their backs with their heads resting on another child’s belly, choose one person to start the game by shouting, “Ha!” The next person will shout, “Ha, ha!” Each child continues to add a “ha” as they work around the group, until eventually, one person inevitably bursts into laughter.
- Human Knot: In addition to being a great team building exercise, a game of Human Knot serves to remind kids that they work together in the Body of Christ. To play, have everyone circle up and then reach out and hold hands with two different people in the circle, excluding the two people to either side of them. Each left hand should hold a left hand, and each right hand a right. Once your “knot” is formed, then have kids communicate to figure out how to untangle themselves and end up in a circle again.
- String Game: God created us all individually, and you can show kids just how special you all are as individuals by playing the String Game. Have someone start off the game with a ball of yarn in their hand. Tell them to share something special about themselves, then roll or toss the ball of yarn to someone else while holding onto the loose end. Continue to have participants share facts and pass around the yarn (always holding onto a piece of it) until they’ve created a giant, intricate web tying them all together.
- Scripture Pop-Up: Choose a simple Bible verse and assign each child a different word from it. Then, have the kids mix themselves up and crouch down. As you read the verse, children should each jump up when they hear their word before crouching back down again. After rereading the verse a number of times in different ways, challenge the kids to put themselves back in the right order again according to their assigned word.
Best Vacation Bible School Activities
- Bible Verse Treasure Hunt: Use popular Bible verses as clues to set up a treasure hunt for kids, which they can work on in teams or as individuals. You can even award the first person or team to solve all the clues with a prize. If you’re feeling creative, you can make your own, but you’ll also find Bible verse treasure hunt games you can download online.
- Bible Race: Want to test everyone’s knowledge of the Bible? Give everyone their own copy of the Bible (or split them into teams if you don’t have enough to go around), and place the book under their chairs. You can then call out a passages and award points to the first person or team to grab their Bible and flip to that page.
- Bible Stories Bingo: Bingo is always a great way to fill the time, and you can learn about the Bible along the way when you download a religious-themed Bible Stories Bingo game to print out and play with your group.
- Encouragement Circle: Kindness is essential, and you can teach everyone the important of kindness through an Encouragement Circle. To start, give everyone a piece of paper and have them write their name at the top. Then, tell them to pass it to the right, and each person writes two (or more!) positive characteristics about whoever’s name is at the top of the paper. Keeping passing until everyone receives their original paper back filled with compliments.
- Books of the Bible Word Search: Everyone loves a good word search, and if you’re trying to get your kids to memorize all the books of the Bible, then this printable Books of the Bible World Search bundle is perfect for you.
- Ways to Worship Checklist: Have kids make checklists of the many ways they can worship God at home, such as by reading their Bible, singing a worship song, worshipping God by serving others, or praying. They can work together to brainstorm ideas and talk about ways they can make time for worship, even when school begins again.
Best Vacation Bible School Crafts
- Tissue Paper Angels: With the help of some lollipops and tissue paper, kids can put together this own adorable tissue paper angels to take home, and you can use the craft to discuss Hebrews 1:14 (or any other Bible verse about angels watching over us).
- Stamped Sheep: Recount the Parable of the Lost Sheep from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke with this cute craft, which uses tempera paint to stamp paper sheep in a tissue paper flower field.
- Woven Paper Angelfish: In addition to being cute and mess-free, this woven paper angelfish craft is a great way to introduce the story of Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish (John 21).
- Paper Boats: Kids can make their own paper sailboats from text weight paper and wooden skewers, which you can then tie into the story of Jesus calming the storm, as told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
- Painted Whales: The story of Jonah and the Whale is a classic, and kids will have a blast listening to the tale as they paint and decorate their own paper whale cut-out.
- Watercolor Rainbow Art: All you need is a pipette, watercolor paper, liquid watercolors, and a few other supplies to make this cool craft, which you can use to explain why rainbows are a symbol of God’s faithfulness and mercy.
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