Thursday, December 30, 2010

Music, Crafts and an Opportunity to See, Touch and Experience 2011 Vacation Bible School Before You Buy It!

After you've narrowed down your Vacation Bible School options to just two or three kits by determining your goal, finding materials that intentionally engage the children in the teaching of the Bible lesson and provides opportunities to live what they learn, considered the scope and sequence, theme and setting it is time to look at two components that have the potential to last beyond the five days of VBS . . . the music and crafts! 

When you consider the music look for songs that reinforce the theme and scope and sequence. When children sing those songs they can be reminded of the Bible lessons and how they apply to their everyday lives. I'm very happy to see most publishers provide music CD's for children at about $2 per child. This makes it very affordable for you to give each child their own copy of the songs they learned in VBS! This year my Top Pick of VBS music is hands down Go Fish Guy's "Kickin' It Old School"! Their songs have enthusiasm, spunk and do an excellent job of reinforcing the Bible lessons in their VBS! Even the parents will enjoy listening to Go Fish Guy's music! I'm not a big fan of one trend I'm seeing on the music dvds for VBS . . . that of utilizing teens. I'd much prefer seeing VBS age children on the dvd. I'd also like to encourage publishers to utilize more boys on their dvds and a wider ethnic representation among the children. It can be a challenge to interest older elementary boys in VBS - we need to show more boys on the dvds - not just girls.

Crafts give children the opportunity to make something they can make each day and take home with them to remind them of the Bible lesson and theme. As always, Gospel Light did an excellent job with their craft book once again this year and I'm happy to say many other publishers provided excellent ideas for crafts, too! When considering crafts look for projects that can be completed in one setting and cost less than $1 per child. Crafts that have a practical component are best as they are more likely to be kept and are then able to provide that reminder of the Bible lessons the children learned in VBS. Most paper crafts, while inexpensive, will in short order end up in the trash - look for crafts that children can use . . . such as zipper pulls they can put on their backpacks. Oriental Trading usually has excellent and affordable ideas for crafts - take some time to see what they have before you purchase crafts for your VBS.

On-line reviews and publisher web sites are helpful tools to enable you to learn about the VBS choices for 2011, but one of the best ways to make your choice is to attend a Book Store VBS Open House or Workshop. Check with your local Christian book store and see if/when they have their VBS events scheduled and then plan to attend. You will have the opportunity to talk with consultants from the publishers, and actually see, touch and experience the VBS materials as well as hear the music at these events. Most stores will even allow you to take several kits on consignment so you can sit down with your VBS leaders and then decide which kit is your best "fit". My 2011 Top Ten VBS review and Comparison Charts will be out the first two weeks of January, print them out and take them with you to your local VBS event and then evaluate the kits before you make your selection for Summer 2011!

January 3rd marks the beginning of my Top Ten VBS Countdown for 2011! Please plan to join me for these reviews and pass the word so people you know can join in the VBS conversation!

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