It doesn’t matter what church denomination you are. If you don’t prepare properly, you will have problems come up. Hopefully this article will give you some great ideas.
Map it Out: Set up a small committee of people. These should be people that have the ability to draw from various resources. (Music, Games, Arts & Crafts, Bible Knowledge,Refreshments). Try to keep the group small. the smaller the group, the less conflicts. Next, use these people to make decisions about their particular area. Give them reign to strive for their goals.
Establish a Theme: You can use everyone in your committee or just the Bible Knowledge individual. Once you establish a theme, think of a good VBS name. This name is what will catch the parents eye as well as the children.
Order Supplies: Try to do this at least a month in advance. Ask members of your congregation for help in the supplies you need. You may be surprised to see how much help you get. Set a deadline when all materials must be on hand. This is a big area because you are considering art and crafts, food, and games.
Advertise: Once you have a theme, set the dates and times. Publish them. Get it out to the public any way that you can. Do this at least one month ahead of time.
Pre-registration: This will save you a lot of time at the beginning of VBS. It will also help with the planning. Keep this in mind though. Children like to invite friends at the last moment. If you establish a deadline, stick to it. In the registration process, be sure to know if certain children are on medication. Leave nothing to chance. If you can have a volunteer nurse on hand, the better off you are. Also know if any child is restricted to certain activities.
Insurance: Make sure your church has insurance in case of an accident. If you don’t have insurance, check with a local company. This is a must.
Set up a daily routine: Each day have all the students assemble in one spot. Do this at the very beginning each day. Take roll, if you are taking a collection for missions are whatever, do it now. This way children won’t lose money. You can get a headcount for food and the other activities. Have your opening sing a long, devotion, readings, videos, or special announcements.
Group Rotation: Have your group leaders lead their group and assist them as you go from one area station to the next. 20 minutes is long enough at each station. Have a 5 to 10 minute passing period between stations for a restroom break. Let the leaders at their stations do their job. Try not to interfere with them. If you don’t have confidence in their ability, you shouldn’t have asked them to begin with.
Daily Wrap up: Always end each day with the children together. Sum up what was accomplished and what they can look forward to the next day. This will help keep them interested. You can sing a few songs or have a devotion. Remember though, the smaller the child, the less attention span they have. focus on keeping the children involved right up until the final minute. Dismiss on time and quickly.
Staff Meetings: Remember these are usually volunteers and their time is precious. If you have things to go over, be quick and to the point.
Other things to consider are motivational things. A guest speaker, a puppet show for smaller children, sing along, saying shouts, hand gestures, and signs go a long way in motivating your children. You want the children to learn and come back. However, if they don’t have fun, you are defeating your purpose. If you have new children that don’t belong to your church, don’t cram your religion down their throats. Encourage friendliness and fun.
One of the toughest things to decide is length. Do you go one week or two? This can be a tough call. Remember this though, children always make other plans in the summer. There are ball games, camps, vacations, visits etc. always keep this in consideration when preparing. Another area is rainy day activities. If you can’t get outside, have a backup plan.
Last, review your progress. With all your workers, thank them first. Always give lots of praise to them. Then review your progress. Did you achieve your goals?
What can you do the next time to make it better? Use all criticism for constructive purposes only. Again, thank your workers and dismiss them.