Friday, July 27, 2007

Vacation Bible School

This week, in addition to my other entertainment, I assisted at my parish Vacation Bible School -- with a western theme - Wah-Hoo!

My part, fortunately, was very scripted. I don't think I could have managed otherwise.

Day 1. The story of Rahab, who hid the spies sent by Joshua from the King's army. Joshua, chapter 2

We had the "spies" hidden under a sheet and when the soldiers came, I tossed more sheets over the kids to hide them too. The soldiers were actually voices on a CD and I only had to read my part and poke the kids with "swords" and "spears" through the sheets. Before I uncovered the kids, the "spies" (also on the CD) gave me a red cord to hang from my window so I wouldn't be killed when Jericho was destroyed.

Day 2. Joshua's Army crosses the Jordan river. Joshua, chapters 3-4. The river is flooded, but when the priests step into the river carrying the Ark of the Covenant, the waters are parted and the army crosses on dry land.

We put several thick towels on a tarp and soaked them. Then we had the kids take off their shoes and cross the "marshy ground" to approach the river (blue sheets held up to look like a flooded river. When the kids approached the river they could feel the spray from the flooded river (my partner had a spray bottle) and when the "priests" touched the river, it dropped away revealing rocks on the "river bed".

Day 3. The walls fall down. Joshua, Chapter 6

I was at the hospital with my husband, but my co-teacher had this under control. He had the children marching around the "walls" he'd set up and when they stopped and sounded their "horns", he had a pull-down video screen that rolled up like a window shade - causing some of the kids to bolt out of the room. I'm sorry I missed that one.

Day 4. The resurrection. Mark 15-16 I missed that one too, but my co-teacher had about 30 balloons blown up and hidden. When it was time to announce the resurrection, he pulled them out of hiding and tossed them around the room. The kids won't forget that any time soon.

Day 5. Naaman is cured of leprosy. 2 Kings 5: 1-14

We set up by the "Jordan River" again - this time with pots of water. We rubbed onion on the kids to give them an idea what it would be like to have leprosy. Some were upset. Some said they thought it smelled good - at first. By the time we cleaned the smell off, they were all glad to be rid of it.

Believe it or not, you can take the smell of onion off fairly quickly by rubbing the skin, under water, with the back of a stainless steel spoon. I have no idea how that works, but it does.

Afterwards, I dabbed vanilla extract on the back of each hand and invited them to "let God be in control" of their lives. That was a big hit after the onions.

Finally, it was back to the parish hall for the closing and traditional pizza party. I asked some of the kids if they plan to come back next year -- and got a resounding YES! from each one.

The program we used is Avalanche Ranch by Harcourt and each part of the program is scripted so that the teacher can just follow the program. You can choose your own crafts, but theirs come in kits and fit into the program themes. Our director of religious education opted to purchase a CD with all the music for each of the kids. It's well worth it. The kids who attended last year's camp still have their CD's and still sing the songs - whenever their parents can stand it. The music is peppy and upbeat. Some of it they already know, the rest written for VBS by PROFESSIONAL musicians.

I can't wait to see what they'll have for us next year.


Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

Wow! Although I used to love Vacation Bible School, we never had cool stuff like this. What a wonderful way to teach the stories of the Bible!

Judy said...

I've taught Vacation Bible School for years. I always enjoy it, but this year was the most fun I've had -- in spite of the interruptions.