"Paint my foot blue!?" VBS Craft Idea Takes Flight!

Adam did not want anything to do with painting his foot blue! It was simply not going to happen—until Sally Cramer showed him that his blue foot would turn into a really cool blue airplane!

His shoes and socks were off in a flash!

Once the foot print dries, it is outlined with fabric paint pen—the kind that bumps up a little.

Every year during VBS, Sally Cramer tries to come up with a hand print or foot print craft for her 2 & 3 year old VBS class. Check out this year’s amazing fleet of little blue feet!

Dabbs gets a blue pedicure!

“Parents love to have foot prints or hand prints at different stages of their kid’s lives,” Sally said, “so why not bring that idea to VBS every year?”

The Blue Feet Fleet!

It started several years ago when Sally, Sherry Vick and Becky Clay helped their class of little people create hand/foot print tote bags! Sally recalled, “It was pretty cool to see the 4 year olds use their VBS tote bags to carry their stuff in when they promoted to BIG Church in the fall”.

Game Day tote bag!

To mix things up, Sally and friends decided to alternate tote bags with t-shirts. Tote bags on the even years—T-shirts on the odd years. The rest is VBS history!

Arctic Edge! Hands and feet—just don’t paint the toes!

Outrigger Island! Hand print palm trees. William’s hand is still green to this day! jk

Sally and some of the little people!

A bit about Sally: she is married to Steve, has two great kids, Alyson (9), and Lucas (10), owns and operates her own graphic design business Little June Bug Graphics from her home, teaches graphic design at The Art Institute, and loves VBS! (She totally qualifies as a VBS Geek of the Week!) …and she goes to my church, FBC Nashville.

Lance and Sally

Thanks Sally for what you (and all of you reading this blog!) do to make VBS happen for kids everywhere! Teaching kids about Jesus—doesn’t get any better than that!

Bonus: gotta give a little shout out to Lydia (Adam’s mom) who is pretty “crafty” herself. The airplane shirt Adam is wearing? Lydia made it! Also, Patrick (Adam’s dad) works here at LifeWay and led music at VBS this year! Thanks Patrick!

Today on Kids Ministry 101, We’re part of the Family Ministry Blog Tour!!

Spring Break VBS 2012!

It’s just March, but I’ve already had the pleasure of visiting one of the first Vacation Bible Schools in our area! First Baptist Church in Gallatin, Tennessee saw a need and provided a great solution! Spring break can be a challenge for working parents who can’t take off from work for a whole week. Vacation Bible School is a great option. The innovative staff came up with a plan. They would provide Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS in the morning and then provide options in the afternoons for kids to experience “regional adventures.” A minimal cost covered admission to area kids museums, zoos, or swimming.

So, for today’s “Foto Friday,” enjoy some scenes from Spring Break VBS!

First Baptist Church Gallatin, Tennessee invites friends to Spring Break VBS!

We were greeted by Executive Pastor, Greg Jackson, and a very special helper... his grandson!

Senior Pastor, Larry Yarborough, and photographer, Mark Fagan, also served as great hosts. (Love Pastor Larry's goggles! These guys really support VBS!)

Some of the youth lead in music as the children were arriving. Then, they also lead the Worship Rally music. They called their group "The Airheads!" Gotta love that! They did great!

Can you believe this is just cardboard, crumpled brown paper, light blue tablecloths, and pillow batting. Awesome!

Learning a memory verse is fun when you add a little waterfall mist as you jump the falls.

Crafts at the Great Barrier Reef were going swimmingly! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

We had SO much fun! Thank you First Baptist Church Gallatin, Tennessee for letting us come visit!

We had to stop and grab something to eat on our way back to work. Look what we noticed by the Chick-Fil-A drive through as we were leaving!

Getting the word out in the community! Great job, First Baptist Church Gallatin!

Sneak Peek Week—Crafts

I know you haven’t even gotten through 2012 and we’re talking 2013 already. But hey, that’s the world we live in on the VBS team. Anyway, I am going to give you a heads up on a few craft supplies you might want to be stashing away for next year.

Wondering what to do with all those extra plastic Easter eggs? Save the bottom half of each egg for crafts next year!

Got any old CD jewel cases sitting around? Save them for a weeklong craft idea in 2013!

Drink up and save those empty water bottles, you’re gonna need them.

And of course no VBS week would be complete without the use of craft sticks in some fashion.

For those of you out there who like to use our Club VBS option, you might need to save spring-type clothespins, felt in bright colors, and brown paper grocery bags.

Decorating Crafts at the Great Barrier Reef

This year, VBS crafts will take place in the colorful Great Barrier Reef. You may remember that the Great Barrier Reef was also a location during LifeWay’s Boomerang Express VBS. Check your storage closets to see if there is something stashed away that can be repurposed.

These tips will give you some ideas for creating your own fun environment for craft time.

Tip #1: Use lots of color. From the fish to the coral, the Great Barrier Reef is full of color. Be generous in your application of color as you decorate your craft area.

Tip #2: Make three-dimensional coral out of Styrofoam®. Cut out a basic shape and save your scraps. Then, glue the scraps onto the base shape to create a fun, free-form coral that you can paint any color you like.

Tip #3: Raid your local craft store. Watch the sale flyers. You can find several things at your local craft store to add to your reef environment—reeds, tulle, and clear plastic ornaments—to name a few. Paint the reeds bright colors and stick them into the Styrofoam®. You can also add a little life to your craft room by printing out a few colorful fish from the Decorating Made Easy Clip Art CD-ROM, and attaching them to dowel rods so the fish can “swim” among the coral and reeds. Use tulle to give your room even more of an underwater feel. It’s inexpensive and easy to hang.

Tip #4: Collect clear plastic ornaments. These make awesome bubbles. Simply hang them with fishing line. With Christmas right around the corner, be looking for opportunities to stock up.

Tip #5: Create a treasure trunk. Find an old trunk or suitcase and adhere an Amazing Wonders Aviation logo to the front. You may want to keep the trunk closed, or you can fill it with craft supplies or treats for your kids.

I hope these decorating tips will get you swimming with ideas. Your kids are really going to love creating crafts under the sea while they learn all about our amazing God!

Be sure to check out the Decorating Tips with Melita video for further details about how we created Crafts at the Great Barrier Reef.


Coordinates for the Great Barrier Reef— 18˚ 34’4″S 148˚ 33’19″E

Are You Crafty?

So we all know VBS and crafts are almost synonymous. Crafts are one of those things in VBS that people remember until they’re 80! C’mon, you know I am right. I bet if I asked you right now you could tell me all about those pictures you made from dried beans. Or the coasters you made from craft sticks and the necklaces from uncooked pasta. I still remember a plaster of paris plaque made with my handprint. (I am pretty sure my mom still has it!)

As for me, sometimes I have a love-hate relationship with VBS crafts. I love editing the VBS Crafts Rotation Leader Guide. It’s fun to be creative and work with a great team of ideators and writers as well as making samples in my office. But here’s the hard part, trying to come up with these absolutely fabulous ideas that kids will remember when they’re 80 and cost around .50 cents a kid. Oh, and then you have to remember that about 100 kids will have 20-25 minutes to make said craft. And you have to use supplies that are readily available in all areas. Whew, can you see my struggle?

So that’s why I ask, “Are you crafty?’ If you said yes and have just been waiting for your chance to share one of your fabulous VBS craft ideas, you’re in luck.

Help me end my love-hate relationship! Leave a comment with your idea. Include needed supplies, brief directions, approximate cost per child, and time frame for completion. Your comment will enter you into a random drawing for a free VBS 2012 Amazing Wonders Aviation Sampler.  All comments must be posted by midnight on October 14 to be eligible for the drawing.

Not to Be Outdone

Since Keith gave a sneak peak at the snacks for 2012, I couldn’t let him out do me. So I decided to give you a sneak peak at some of the crafts for 2012. And without further ado, I present a few of our favorite crafts for Amazing Wonders Aviation.

Can you guess how these cute little planes tie into one of the day’s Bible story?

These foam flyers are a blast. My son made about 15 to play with at home.

Look closely and you’ll see the reason that VBS is so important.

And last but not least, this science experiment turned craft will be sure to amaze your kids!


5 Things You Need to Know About VBS Crafts

Okay, I admit it–there are those of us who consider ourselves crafty and those of us who run from a glue stick and craft foam like it’s the plague. So what do you really need to know about VBS crafts that will calm the pounding in your chest and dry up your sweaty palms? I’ve compiled a short top 5 list based on questions that I have been asked by many of you. So here they are in no particular order.

  1. All craft ideas provided in the leader guide are just that—ideas! Feel free to adapt, modify, change, or use them as a springboard to another idea. After all who knows your church, the kids you will teach, and the resources you have available better than you?
  2. The crafts options given are tested with real kids. However having said that there is no way to accurately represent all the kids you may encounter during your VBS sessions. Sometimes one activity will work better with one group of kids than it will with another . Be prepared to step back and punt if necessary.
  3. Having all your materials prepared and within reach ahead of time is a lifesaver. I like to put all the necessary materials in individual zip-lock bags ahead of time so that as the children enter, I can hand them a bag and let them remove each supply when it is called for. Kids can also put their completed craft back in the bag to carry home.
  4. Substitute, substitute, substitute! While testing the crafts we try to buy supplies that should be available locally at stores like Hobby Lobby, WalMart, Michaels, etc. But what happens when you can not find the required materials in your neck of the woods? Don’t be afraid to substitute. Look around for everyday items that you may have at home or church that can do the trick.
  5. Above all else  remember that no matter what craft you choose, reinforcing the Bible study should be the main focus during your rotation. Kids are great at multi-tasking, they can answer questions, listen to you summarize the Bible story, and complete their crafts all at the same time. I generally start every rotation with the Connection Points provided in the leader guide before I ever start on the actual craft. This generally takes 2-3 minutes and settles the kids as they enter the room. As the kids work, I have them repeat the Bible verse or talk about the life application statement.

Help! I'm the craft rotation leader!

Each year, we have an outside appraiser who takes our craft suggestions and tests them with kids. I thought some of the information she gathered would be helpful to you guys as you are planning the crafts rotation! Thanks so much to Lynn Jordan from Capital Baptist Association for being the craft tester!

Track 1
Name-a-Rang (Grades 1-2)
Time  (1st child finished – last child finished): 19 – 32 minutes

  • Make sure 2 holes are at the top before you print your name.
  • Ink from inkpads smeared on the slick surface of boomerang from the kit.
  • Younger children had trouble getting ribbon through the bells and the small holes in the boomerang. They also had trouble tying the knots.

Kids say:
“I’ll hang it on my doorknob.”
“Too many knots to tie.”

Boomerang Express Nameplate (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 14 – 26 minutes

  • Use self-adhesive foam letters and tiles.
  • Sort letters for the children to save time.
  • Make the mounting board a little smaller.
  • Use larger tiles to fill space more quickly.

Kids say:
“I’ll hang it on my wall.”
“Very Fun.”
“This craft was easy and I liked it a lot.”

Aussie Art Frame (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 1**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 14 minutes

  • Use spoon to apply sand.
  • Pencils worked better than daubers or glue dots.

Kids say:
“Be careful!”
“It makes a mess.”
“I’ll hang it in my room.”

Track 2
Praise Bells (Grades 1-2) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 2**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 10 – 13 minutes

  • Ribbon should be wide enough for knots to hold, but narrow enough to fit through the bell and the hole in the pot.

Kids say:
“These are good for farmers.”
“Kids will need help with the knots and getting the ribbon through the holes.”
“This is hard.”

Worship Whirligigs (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 26 minutes

  • The children had a lot of trouble understanding the construction.
  • Substitute less expensive yarn and paper to reduce cost.

Kids say:
“It was a good one.”
“It was very frustrating!”
“This is hard.”
“The kids might have trouble with the knots.”

Cuppa Coasters (All Ages)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 16 minutes

  • Use a craft stick or stiff cardboard to squeegee the glue on the back of the CD.
  • Caution the children to start at the top and avoid touching the paint.

Kids say:
“I’ll give it to my Grandma.”
“This is one you should do.”
“This was easy and I liked it a lot.”

Track 3
ABC Sheep (Grades 1-2) **Tied for Kid’s Favorite for Track 3**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 15 – 18 minutes

  • Push the marshmallow all the way up the ice pick to make the hole a little larger.

Kids say:
“Putting the arms and legs is hard.”
“I’ll give this to a friend who doesn’t know Christ.”
“The tail is not easy to put on.”

Shareable Wearables (Grades 3-4) **Tied for Kid’s Favorite for Track 3**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 5 minutes

  • Ask children to bring shirts from home or substitute bandannas
  • Spray fabric paint didn’t work well.
  • Substitute regular spray paint.
  • Use dimensional fabric paint to make “A, B, C” then decorate with dots of paint.

Kids say:
“It’s messy.”

Mini-rang Game (All Ages Craft)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 3 – 4 minutes

  • Probably too short to stand alone, inexpensive and quick enough to use as an extra craft.
  • Make the whole room the target buy designating each quadrant A, B, etc.

Kids say:
“It’s easy.”
“Ill use it to play the game and share Christ.”
“You need sharp scissors.”

Track 4
Outback Place Mats (Grades 1-2)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 10 – 24 minutes

  • Pattern will have to be altered to fit the buttons according to the directions.
  • Marker rubs off the pad.
  • Substitute fun foam for the shelving pad.

Kids say:
“I’ll use it to eat on.”
“You use a lot of glue.”

Service Plate (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 14 – 21 minutes

  • Use plastic plates.
  • Placing a second plate under the first will hold your pattern in place.
  • Use permanent markers instead of paint pens.

Kids say:
“Don’t let the kids glob it on or it will smear.”
“It is fun.”
“I’ll give it to my Mom.”

Sheep Station Service Board (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 4**

Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 8 – 15 minutes

  • We did not find the shapes and sizes suggested, but substituted 2½ X 31/2 wooden rectangles and teardrops from bags of assorted shapes.
  • Glue the ears to the face, then both to the board for a more dimensional look.

Kids say:
“It will remind me to do stuff.”

Track 5
Didgeridoo (Grades 1-2)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 8 – 11 minutes

  • Self-adhesive circles did not stick well.
  • Limit the amount of tape- children covered too much.
  • Use bingo daubers in place of paint daubers.

Kids said:
“Don’t let the children use too much tape.”
“I liked this craft a lot, but thought it was kind of hard.”
“I’ll use it to make music.”

Outback Plant Marker (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 2 – 4 minutes

  • Use for an extra craft.
  • Foam shapes would cut down on preparation time.

Kids said:
“I’ll give it to my Grandma.”
“I’ll put it in a plant.”
“Too easy.”

Memory Mirror (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 5**

Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 5 – 15 minutes

  • Use a bigger square to allow more room for writing the verse.
  • Thicker yarn would be easier to glue.

Kids said:
“You can use it to memorize the verse.”
“Make sure the kids are careful with their string.”