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Vacation Bible School

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A boy shows off his Vacation Bible School T-shirt

Vacation Bible School helps children learn about religion while building a lifetime of memories and friendships.

Photo © FirstBaptistNashville / Flickr

Vacation Bible School Overview:

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a ministry outreach churches provide to educate children about God. Each church runs its own Vacation Bible School program but may use a purchased religious curriculum in its teachings.

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Vacation Bible School Length:

VBS lasts about five weekdays in the summer. Children attend around 3-4 hours each day.

Vacation Bible School Teachers:

Teachers at VBS are church staff as well as church members volunteering their time. Many of the church members helping out with Vacation Bible School are parents too.

Vacation Bible School Themes and Activities:

Many VBS programs choose one theme for the week. They use this theme to creatively adapt it to God's Word.

Sample themes kids may experience at VBS include:

  • Beach party
  • Environment
  • Jungle
  • Road trip
  • Science
  • Shipwreck
  • Space
  • Superhero
  • Western

A typical day at Vacation Bible School may include:

  • Prayer
  • Bible stories
  • Arts and crafts
  • Games
  • Skits
  • Songs
  • Puppet shows
  • Sports activities
  • Snack breaks
  • Team lessons
  • Character-building activities

Age Range:

Preschoolers up to high school age children benefit the most from Vacation Bible School. Age guidelines vary from church to church with many focusing on the elementary school ages. Some also offer free childcare for volunteers who have children too young to attend VBS.

Benefits:

  • Children learn about religion through fun, age-appropriate activities.
  • Life lessons help every child learn how to be a good person and a friend to others.
  • Perfect for younger children to get a feel for camp without having to go away overnight.
  • Kids meet new friends who share their beliefs.
  • You don't have to be a church member to attend VBS.

Costs:

Most Vacation Bible School programs are free. Some do charge a small fee, which usually covers snacks and craft supply costs. T-shirts and CDs featuring the songs learned that week may also be offered for an additional fee.

Volunteering for Vacation Bible School:

Churches begin preparing for VBS almost immediately after the current year's session ends. Volunteers are always welcome, even up to the day VBS begins.

You can help with snacks, crafts, childcare at the church, registration, setting up, breaking down, storytelling, coordinating other volunteers and more. If you prefer a hands-off approach, churches also ask for donations of household items, such as used toilet paper rolls or popsicle sticks, for some of their crafts or decorations. Call your local church to find out what their needs are so you can help with VBS.

Finding a Vacation Bible School:

Most churches run their own Vacation Bible School programs. If the church you are interested in is not holding its own VBS, the church secretary can usually provide a list of other churches in your area who are holding VBS.

You can also check newspapers, local magazines, message boards and the church's website. VBS dates, registration info and fees (if any) can typically be found through these resources as well.

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