Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Music, Crafts and an Opportunity to See, Touch and Experience 2012 VBS 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 which intentionally engage 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 which have the potential to last beyond the five days of VBS . . . the music and crafts! 

When you consider the music look for songs which reinforce the theme, 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 Praise! Their songs have enthusiasm, spunk and do an excellent job of reinforcing the Bible lessons in their VBS! Even parents will enjoy listening to (and singing and dancing to) Go Fish Guy's music! 

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 which can be completed in one setting and cost less than $1 per child. Crafts which have a practical component are best as they are more likely to be kept and are then able to provide a 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 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.

I'm also delighted this year to see an emphasis on using the craft time to engage children in serving others! I love how Standard Publishing provides options each day for service projects children can make for others during craft time! Crafts with a purpose!!! I'm also very happy to see the unique turn Group took with "craft time" in their VBS, Sky. Rather than involve the children in making crafts, they engage them in really cool science projects and give the children their "Sciency gizmos" which children are able to take home so they can show their cool science projects to their parents! I love this! Fun, different and cool!

On-line reviews and publisher web sites are helpful tools to enable you to learn about the VBS choices for 2012, 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 2012 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 2012!

January 2nd marks the beginning of my Top Ten VBS Countdown for 2012! 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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