Vacation Bible School: What Children Really Get From Attending VBS
School is officially out for the summer, but churches nationwide are gearing up for a different kind of class. Hundreds of Vacation Bible School, or VBS as its more commonly known, are in full swing across the country. I know from experience the dedication and hard work teachers put into the week long extravaganza. I’ve had the privilege of teaching VBS many times over the past decade. You may not realize it, but children get a lot more from VBS than just a Bible lesson every night. Here is a list of ten things children get from attending Vacation Bible School:
1. Full Stomach
I’ve never been to a VBS where the kids didn’t leave fat and happy. Kool-aid, cookies, pizza, ice cream sundaes, smores, as much as they want until the food is all gone. It’s like a party every night.
2. Self Confidence
VBS is an uplifting experience for all involved, but especially for the children. After all, it’s all for them and about them. Every night, they will be told how special they are, not only to their parents, but to God. Some will hear this for the very first time. Every child should leave feeling better about themselves than when they walked in.
3. Dirty/Wet Clothes
Water fights, pies in the face, marshmallow cream, paint, peanut butter, I’ve seen it all. Be sure to send your kid in play clothes, because it is a certainty whatever activities the church has planned is going to be messy. Messy equals fun and fun equals happy. Happy kids are a goal for every VBS.
There will be plenty of souvenirs for the kids to take home as reminders of the week they spent at VBS. Everything from beaded do-it-yourself jewelry to popsicle stick photo frames to painted sun catchers and race cars to tie-dyed t-shirts will be brought home. Expect it. It’s going to happen.
5. Social Skills
Children interact with adults and peers alike during their week at VBS. Lessons promote conversation. Games promote good sportsmanship. Crafts promote teamwork. The experience as whole helps children learn to successfully navigate social events in a playful, nonjudgmental environment.
Screen time is an issue most parents agonize over. Children today are as attached to electronics as much as the adults. It’s the age we live in. VBS is great way to get electronics out of kids’ hands and get them moving. Children will run. Children will jump. Children will clap, dance, and sing. Children will relay race, jump rope, and skip. Children will enjoy summer the way it was meant to be, in real time rather than virtually.
7. Life Long Friends
Don’t be surprised if your child runs up and hugs children in the grocery store you’ve never seen. There’s a good chance they met at VBS. The kids in class together share a special bond. Going through the week together builds friendships that will last a lifetime, not matter the miles or time that separate.
During VBS, children are given space away from their parents under the watchful care of the volunteers and teachers. For some, VBS is the first time a child is put in classroom type environment. It allows a child to learn to do things on their own and helps them spread their wings to find out just how much they can accomplish.
9. A Good Night’s Sleep
Your child will be ready for bed every night of VBS. The games, crafts, activities, and songs will wear them out. I can almost guarantee it. By the end of the week, they’ll be ready for some lazy days. As a teacher, I know I always am.
10. Happy Parents
For all the reasons above, especially the good night’s sleep.
This article was written by Beth Pugh, a wife, mother, and daughter trying to find contentment in the world of chaos in which we live. You can find her work at Yahoo, Scary Mommy, Good Men Project, and Like Baby Bear Soup.