Monday, January 6, 2014

VBS 2014 . . . Jungle Safari from Standard Publishing & I'm Giving One Away!

I'm delighted to begin my 2014 VBS reviews with Jungle Safari by Standard Publishing! Once again this year, I LOVE how they have devoted one station to service projects - as I said last year, this is something I would LOVE to see all the publishers do. Far too often stations are "wasted" on time-fillers and meaningless activity when they could be used to help engage children intentionally in activities which allow them to actually live what they are learning! Standard not only "hits the nail squarely on the head" again this year with Jungle Safari, but they have shown they are able to write and design resources year after year which continue to reach and engage children! 

Jungle Safari
Standard Publishing
  1. God is CREATOR - God creates an amazing world - Genesis 1
  2. God is PROVIDER - God provides for Elijah - I Kings 17
  3. God is PROTECTOR - God protects Daniel - Daniel 6
  4. God is SAVIOR - God saves us through Jesus - John 3, 19 & 20
  5. God is KING - God rules forever in Heaven - John 14; Revelation 1, 4, 21 & 22
Setting – On a safari through the jungle
Message – Standard says, "Children will go on a safari to explore the nature of God as CREATOR, PROVIDER, PROTECTOR, SAVIOR and KING"
Focus - Evangelism, Application, Bible Content and Service
Strengths
  • I'm very happy to see a strong focus on evangelism in each lesson - each teacher's resource includes information on how to lead children to Jesus!
  • The Bible lessons are very engaging - the first and last lessons have children opening their Bibles, reading verses and looking in their Bibles to find out what happened - excellent! The other three lessons engage children actively by having them help present dramas of the Bible lessons. I love how these three engage the children, but would have liked to see Bibles opened and the text part of the lesson read from the Bible for the kids to act out.
  • I'm very happy to see volunteers encouraged over and over to remember to pray for the children participating in their VBS!
  • NEW THIS YEAR - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the "Service & Missions" Site! As I said last year, I'm so glad Standard does not "waste" a site with silly videos and activities which have no real point or which do not make a lasting impact. This site does the following . . . "Helps kids KNOW - what is so great about God and how they can count on Him as they are challenged to live differently. They will be able to understand the needs in their communities and around the world and see how serving others is linked to the nature of God." They will, "EXPLORE instead of passively watch a video or listen to a presentation, kids have the opportunity to work with each other and their leaders as they experience a need and discuss together how knowing God as CREATOR, PROVIDER, PROTECTOR, SAVIOR and KING  can help them help others." It will also help kids, "SERVE as they take tools and ideas and are encouraged to S.W.A.M.P - Serve With A Mighty Purpose."
  • I LOVE the daily "Service Challenge" which gives children several practical and do-able ways they can live what they learned. I also LOVE the daily "Service Journal" which gives children space to record what they did, when they did it, what happened and if they will do it again! EXCELLENT!
  • NEW THIS YEAR - "Special Needs Tips" throughout to help leaders, teachers and helpers know how to engage and involve children with special needs in every part of the VBS! Excellent! Complete section in the Director's Guide on helping and involving children with special needs!
  • This year the craft ideas involve children in making musical instruments they can use to express themselves through art, music and movement to use immediately and praise God! They will be able to talk about who God is based on a daily Scripture verse from Psalms to help them discover what is great about God and why He deserves their praise and use their musical crafts to praise God in Toucan Jam during the closing session! You have the option of purchasing craft kits from S&S Worldwide or making the crafts with supplies you gather.
  • Includes an abundance of snack ideas - many, many are healthy and tasty! - and lots of game ideas!
  • I especially love the “guided conversation” and “Crew Review” for the small group leaders and station leaders each day to help kids focus on God’s Word and how it lives in their everyday lives!
  • I love the “Intro Activities” for each day’s Bible lessons – gets kids engaged and thinking!
  • I LOVE the "Point to Jesus" at the end of each lesson - excellent!
  • NEW THIS YEAR - Reproducible music from Yancy which engages children in praising God and worshipping Him! However; I’d like to see children on the DVD rather than teens. 
  • Last year I said I would like to see - "Science projects worked into the curriculum – possibly in the opening or close – as these are a great way to capture the attention of kids – particularly the older elementary boys!" and I'm very happy to say this year Standard added science to their Snack & Game time and science object talks for each day which you can use whenever and wherever you like! (Try adding them to the opening or closing!)
  • FLOPPETS return again this year - children will be very happy to see the daily Jungle Bible Pals Floppet and be reminded of the daily point!
  • I LOVE the Large Group Game played by all the children each day in the Opening! Starts the day on a fun note, builds enthusiasm and introduces the point for the day! Daily Closing is a great way to end the day with a challenge to children to go home and serve others! Closing would be a great place to add the Science Projects!
  • Director's Guide is complete - excellent safety info - and I LOVE the info on involving families, reaching out to families and following up with families! Also has excellent tips for outreach and Spiritual growth!
  • Check the director's book for how you might win a FREE Yancy Concert at your church!
Would like to see
  • Bibles opened in all of the Bible lessons and the text part of the lesson read from the Bible for the kids to act out.
  • With the exception of the last two songs, most of the kids in the music video are white, teen girls. I'd really like to see the music video have more children - not teens - from more races.
Standard says, "Children will learn they can all count on God through Bible stories which start in Genesis and lead them to Revelation. Kids will KNOW what's so great about God, EXPLORE the nature of God and SERVE God in practical ways.I love the focus in each lesson and each station on pointing children to God and challenging them to take what they learned out the doors of the church to live it in their everyday lives, every day by serving others! I am delighted to see a strong Bible content and an intentional effort to help children not just walk away from VBS with more “head knowledge”, but rather a focus on helping children remember, understand and live God’s Word in their everyday lives! 

Jungle Safari is an excellent option for a VBS with a strong focus on serving, evangelism, solid Bible content and application! It is not only an excellent choice for VBS, it would be an amazing resource to use on Sunday Mornings throughout the Summer as well! Be sure to take a serious look at Jungle Safari and consider how you might use it at your church!

I am extremely happy to say, not only did Standard Publishing send a kit for me to review, but they sent an extra VBS kit for me to give away (USA only)! If you are over the age of 18 and would like to be included in the drawing for this kit - which will be on January 20, 2014, please comment below to let me know how God has shown you, you can count on Him and live differently. He has shown me, even when people hurt and disappoint me, I can trust Him and make the choice to be faithful to Him. When I do this, He gives such joy!

In addition if you have followed on Google Friend Connect, followed by liking on facebook with the tab in the "Find us on Facebook" box ON THE BLOG or at this link (not just liking the post) and/or have followed About the Children's Department by email you will receive one entry for each of these which you have done. Plus, if you "share" this post, you'll receive another entry (please let me know if you share). This will help me be able to draw names from among people who would like to win Jungle Safari from Standard Publishing and it gives you several ways to enter the give-away! Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

28 comments:

  1. Hi, I follow on Google Friend Connect, and also like the facebook page. I also follow by email. I also shared the post.

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    1. Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

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  2. Thanks for the chance to win! I follow you through my Feedly reader and enjoy your posts very much. God has show me I can count on him through his provision of all my needs in varying circumstances. Because of this, I'm learning to live with joy each say.

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    1. I'm so glad we can count on God, always! Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

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  3. I look forward to this series of blogs every year! Thanks! God has shown me that I can count on him through reflection on the past. I only need to take a few moments during the day to marvel at the crisis that was averted, or the problem that was solved, or the worry that was wasted, or the prayer that was answered to know that God has proved himself over and over again to be faithful. With this kind of evidence, how can I NOT count on him and challenge myself to live differently each day?

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    1. God does prove Himself over and over! WE can count on Him! :-)
      Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

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  4. I look forward to this series of blogs every year! Thank you for posting!
    It only takes a few moments to stop and reflect on past events to see how God has shown me I can count on him. Whether it is the crisis that was averted, the problem that was solved, the worry that turned out to be wasted, the need that was provided, the peace that was given, or the prayer that was answered. Evidence of God's faithfulness is found in our past--if only we take the time to stop and reflect. So many of God's blessings go unnoticed and unthanked. But with that kind of proof, how could I NOT count on God and allow him to challenge me to live differently for him?

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  5. Debbie Booket KetchamJanuary 6, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Thank you so much for the chance to win! God has been teaching me to have joy and peace in ALL things. I am finding that He really does have a plan for me and that I need to wait on His timing with joy and peace. Not an easy thing sometimes, but I am learning that life is easier when I wait. :) I follow on Facebook and by e-mail. I shared this on Facebook. Debbie Ketcham

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    1. I'm so glad God does have plans for us and we can wait on Him - this does bring joy!

      Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

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  6. I follow on Facebook and via email... I also shared the post on Facebook! Thank you for your reviews! SO helpful!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!

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  7. God has shown me that he never changes and remains faithful to what he has called. I follow via RSS feed and I have liked About the Children's Department on Facebook.

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    1. Oh yes! God is ALWAYS faithful! Thank you for sharing and for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  8. God has shown me that he will be by my side and give me the tools I never thought I had just when I needed them. The past year was a hard one, but because I trusted God, things did not turn out as bad as they could have.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I'll try this again! So sorry for the hard year - so glad God was by your side! Thank you for sharing,for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  9. Well, God has shown me that even when I go through difficult times, He has a kind word for me always. "His grace is enough."

    I follow on Facebook and share on Twitter.

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    1. It always is! Thank you for sharing, for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  10. God has shown me in many ways I can always count on him. When my children were little times were hard. But we never did without. God always provided. This trust in God was always shared with my children and I am blessed to see them as adults having the same trust and faith.

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    1. I'm so glad we can always count on God! Thank you for sharing, for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  11. Liked your FB page and shared the article to my FB page. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  12. Over the years I have directed our church's VBS, God has shown me I can trust Him to provide the right volunteers in His time, so I don't have to worry!

    I would love to win the Jungle Safari curriculum, so I have shared on Facebook as well as liked on Facebook and followed on Google Friend Connect!

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    1. We don't have to worry! Thank you for sharing, for reading About the Children's Department and sharing it with the people you know!

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  13. Hi I follow on facebook and via email. It would be great to win a copy of this curriculum to use with our children's ministry or share with a local church.

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  14. As an elementary school teacher, children's ministry leader, mother, and wife, I rely on God everyday and He has never let me down...even when I let Him down. I follow your blog on Facebook and through email and look forward to these reviews each year!! Thanks for all that you do!!

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  15. Wow! This VBS looks awesome!

    God has shown me that I can count on him by never letting me down! He comes through with His promises and provides for my every need!

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  16. This looks like a great program. Thanks so much for your review. I will definitely pass this along to our church leadership and see what they may be considering for this year's program. I appreciate the information and pray God blesses you for your wonderful work!

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