Saturday, June 21, 2014

Workshop of Wonders VBS ... odds and ends

"All my ordinary turns extraordinary when I live my life for you. 
I'll imagine with God. I can build with God.
Watch me grow with God every day.
As I work with God, as I walk with God,
Live for God, that's what I'll do."
-"That's What I'll Do" song lyrics by Matt Huesman

In addition to the decorations and the activities, there are a few other odds and ends that made our VBS spectacular this year.

Missions Moment
In years past we have collected money each night for a mission organization during our opening gathering, but this year we wanted to spend more time exploring the mission of the organization and why we were supporting it.

Habitat for Humanity was recommended in the Workshop of Wonders curriculum. We agreed that it aligned well with the "Work with God"/"Build with God" themes of the week and thought that even the younger kids would be able to understand the idea of building houses for people who don't have one.

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Money bucket
The money bucket ... love the sound of change hitting a metal bucket!!
Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Habitat for Humanity missions progress
Habitat for Humanity mission project progress tracker
The kids worked together to collect spare change and drop it in the bucket. The collection each night "bought" us another piece of a cardboard house poster. The kids loved guessing what piece they would earn the next day. And, we raised over $140!

In addition to the fundraising campaign, each group participated in a Missions Moment each night while they ate their snack. They learned more about the work that Habitat for Humanity does, worked together to make a mural, decorated thank you cards for local heroes, and made prayer bookmarks.

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Community mural
The kids worked together to make a community mural during their Missions Moment on Day 2

Parent Emails
The Workshop of Wonders curriculum suggests that you send home handouts each night that summarize each session. We've copied these in the past, but found that most of them never made it home and by the end of the week, were not even handed out.

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Summary of night sent to parents by email
Day 1 email to parents
It was important to me to emphasize the connection between VBS and home, letting parents continue the conversations that we began, and then it dawned on me... why not use the church's Constant Contact newsletter service to send emails home each night?!?

While I used some of the text from the Cokesbury handouts, I also added a summary of the crafts, snacks, and activities, as well as announcements about the end-of-week celebration and a report of how much money we raised for Habitat for Humanity.

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Summary of night sent to parents by email
Day 3 email to parents
I received several compliments on this added communication tool, even from one of our visiting families. (Although the only drawbackswas that I didn't have email addresses for some of the kids who attended as someone's friend and/or weren't dropped off by their own parent.)

Trading Cards
One of the neat things that the curriculum offered this year was Scripture Treasure Trading Cards that connect to a free Workshop of Wonders app. Similar to the VBS passports we used last year, I thought this would be a great way to further reinforce the VBS lessons at home.

I debated back and forth about the best way to distribute and keep up with the trading cards throughout the week, knowing full well that most would get lost in the car on the way home. I finally landed on an almost perfect solution... trading card pockets. The kids could add a card each night and take home the full page of cards at the end of the week.

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Scripture Treasure Trading Card collection
Each child went home at the end of the week with a collection of Scripture Treasure Trading cards
Only six cards were provided in the sets from Cokesbury, so I used the graphics from the Decorating CD to create three more cards to fill the nine pockets: one with church information, one for the child's name, and one with information of how to connect to the app.

Volunteer Thank Yous
To thank our many volunteers (some nights we had as many volunteers as kids!) I was inspired by our theme for the week, "ordinary things become extraordinary with God." I bought two bulk packs of Extra gum and attached a card that said "Thanks for helping make VBS 2014 EXTRA-ordinary!"

Dancing Commas :: Workshop of Wonders VBS :: Thank you gift for VBS volunteers ... Extra gum and a note that says "Thanks for making VBS EXTRA-ordinary!"
EXTRA-ordinary thank you gift for volunteers
Hopefully they felt some love and gratitude for their hard work this week!

Another great VBS goes down in history! Now it's time for vacation!

1 comment:

  1. Such great ideas! I love the trading card pockets and even better, that you created Constant Contact newsletters. That way, parents could actually just save them to their phone or laptop.


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