Monday, January 3, 2011

My Top Pick for Vacation Bible School Setting 2011!

Each year publishers create a setting for their Vacation Bible School materials . . . some are fairly familiar; for example we usually have a beach, jungle, ranch or city setting each year . . . for good reason as they make great settings for a VBS. Settings are an important part of an overall VBS as it gives you a "place" to "take" your children and a base to tie into for each activity, music and decorating and can increase enthusiasm and fun! I do not encourage anyone to select their VBS based on setting, but once you have determined your goal, evaluated which curriculum's scope and theme will best help you to accomplish your goal and have considered features like lessons that intentionally engage children and Live-it activities, setting can help you make your final choice.

This year there are familiar settings as well as a few new and less often used settings for you to choose from. Gospel Light did a great job with their SonSurf Beach Blast as did Concordia Publishing House with their Big Jungle Adventure. Regular Baptist Press takes children to a NASCAR type race with Rev It Up! and Lifeway heads to the Big Apple for their Big Apple Adventure. Standard gives us a different take on a city setting with Inside Out and Upside-Down on Main Street while Adventures in Genesis gives us a different look at an out west setting with Gold Rush. Group once again invites churches to take their kids to Bible Times with Hometown Nazareth and offers an entirely different setting with Pandamania. I was looking forward to Pandamania and was excited to see how Group would work Pandas and China into it's setting, but they didn't really seem to do a lot with that setting. NextGen4Christ adds the unique feature of using Narnia movies to their Knights of God VBS in a medieval setting with castles and knights while WordAction gives you the opportunity to take your children into space with their Mission to Mars. I really like Voice of the Martyrs' Kids of Courage and while they don't really have a "setting", the theme of praying for persecuted Christians around the world clearly comes through. Go Fish Guys gives you the opportunity to take your kids to an exciting concert with "Kickin' It Old School" and while I really like what they did with that, my Top Pick for  VBS Setting 2011 is going to Cokesbury for their "Shake It Up Cafe'"!

Cooking channels on TV have become very popular and there is a move across the country encouraging people to cook their own, healthy meals at home. Cokesbury takes this thought and weaves it throughout "Shake It Up Cafe'" so for it's uniqueness and fun, this year Cokesbury's "Shake It Up Cafe'" is my Top Pick for VBS Setting! 

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