Why I Always Say Yes to Preschool VBS! (Plus a Few Bonus Ideas for 2013)

On the last day of a great VBS at Hilton Terrace Baptist Church, I sweep up the remains of the sand table area, brush the glitter out of my hair, and dig play-dough out of the toy dishes, and I say to myself,”There is nothing like preschool VBS.” Preschool VBS is a unique blessing.Here are a few reasons why:

1)We get to play!

We play hard in the preschool department. All age groups play at VBS but in the preschool area play is the main instructional strategy. You have to love teaching an age group where many of the teaching activities involve toys. We use blocks to build a wall as we tell the story about Paul and the angry crowd. Our sand table teaches us about the sandy, dusty road where Paul walked on his way to Damascus. We float boats and simulate storms. We use our doctor kits to bandage baby dolls as we talk about being helpers. Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame says:”Play gives childen a chance to practice what they are learning,” and at preschool VBS, we are practicing all the time!

2)They know the answers (even if you haven’t asked any questions!)

We include our preschoolers in the first part of our Worship Rally. On the second day of VBS, our Family Minister announces that he’s going to ask some questions and correct answer givers win buttons. That’s all my preschoolers need to hear. Even before Curtiss asks the first question, they are raising their hands and calling out answers like “Bolivia!” “Paul saw a bright light!” Now we need to work on the wait til you’re called on before you answer (but hey, at least they raised their hands!) This eagerness to answer questions reminds me that preschoolers are learning machines. This age group takes in and retains A LOT! Which goes right along with my next point.

3) Little people have long memories.

I could cite lots of early childhood research that would tell you how remarkable the young child’s brain is, but instead, I will tell you from my many years of personal VBS experience that even very young children can learn and apply the lessons we are teaching.  I know this because as my little guys move up and into children’s classes, student classes, and yes, even college and beyond they still come to me and say “Remember when we…,” and honestly, the years are starting to run together and I don’t always remember the details but when they start to tell me, I realize what an impact those early experiences have had. I call it my plus ten rule. If you are in my VBS class, I want to teach you something in a way that you’ll remember ten years later. I know those three, four, and five year olds will need these spiritual lessons when they are thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen. As I told children the stories in this year’s Colossal Coaster VBS, I imagined where that class of little people sitting criss cross applesauce on the floor in front of me would be in ten years. They will be in high school, dating, and driving, and it is my prayer that they will remember some of the lessons they learned in VBS this year like people can change when they meet Jesus, God can give us friends who can help us, and we can trust God to love us and care for us. I love seeing kids “grow into” what we are teaching, but  I am always excited to watch kids apply VBS lessons immediately. This year our VBS had one preschool memory verse,Hebrews 13:6: God helps me. I will not be afraid. This one verse really made its way into the hearts and minds of my class of little ones. On Sunday, I heard one of my VBS students reciting the verse to her friends while they were in the block area. That same day, the grandmother of one of my three year olds shared that her granddaughter had always been afraid of the car wash, but this week as they went through, she heard her say, ” God helps me, I will not be afraid of the car wash.” I love hearing and seeing God’s word at work in the every day lives of my preschoolers!

And now a few bonus ideas for Preschool Colossal Coaster World:

We sang our memory verse to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”:

God helps me, I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid, God helps me, I will not be afraid, Hebrews 13:6.

Day 2 “Barnabas Was A Friend to Paul”

Paul and the angry crowd

We acted out the story of Paul escaping from an angry crowd by being lowered down the city wall. We made a felt “wall” mounted on PVC pipe. Paul got in a laundry basket and two preschoolers raised the “wall” so it looked like Paul was being lowered down. We acted this out on Family Night.

On Day 3 “Paul and Silas in Jail”

We made Earthquake Pudding. Put instant pudding mix and milk in a plastic jar with the lid taped down. We passed it around the circle while we listened to the Preschool Music CD “Song About Paul”. Each child took turns shaking the jar and passed it to a friend when we paused the music. Soon we had a delicious pudding snack to share! (Be sure and post ingredients on Allergy Alert Poster.)

Posted in Uncategorized, VBS | Leave a comment

VBS Skit 2013

John, Curtiss, and Mark on the "roller coaster" at Hilton Terrace Baptist Church!

John, Curtiss, and Mark on the “roller coaster” at Hilton Terrace Baptist Church!

Each year, I write a very short skit to publicize that year’s VBS theme. It’s always so much fun to set and really helps us set the mood for the theme. Feel free to use this year’s script! Enjoy!

Speaker 1

Speaker 2

Speaker 3

 

All three enter and get in line next to the “You must be this tall to ride sign” hanging on music stand.

1- Wow! I cannot wait to get on that Colossal Coaster. There’s nothing like cheating death to start your day off right! (high five with 2)

2- Dude, they say this ride has sent more people to the chiropractor than John Cena!

1- Awesome!

3- Speaking of doctors, you know I just remembered. I have a very rare seat belt harness allergy. When that harness comes down, my whole body breaks out in hives!

1- That’s terrible!

2- Well you know my motto is “be prepared” and those rare allergies are just the reason that I never leave home without my emergency bottle of Benadryl. (digs in bag, Hands bottle to 3)

3- Gee thanks. Hey guys, look over there. (Points in direction to divert C and M’s attention while he raises the sign to a level that is above their heads.) Would you look at that? Looks like we are all too short to ride this ride. Let’s just find another ride, look at that nice merry go round over there.

2- (Pulls the stand back down) ______, quit messing around.

1- Yeah we’re going to lose our place in line!

2-(the truth begins to dawn) Hey _______, are you afraid of the Colossal coaster.

3- Afraid? Me? I live for roller coasters, My middle name is danger, well actually, it’s _____ and I am a just a little afraid.  I mean look at that the size of that first hill. Hey I want to go to heaven, but not today!

2- You know our VBS theme this year is Facing Fear, Trusting God.

1- Hey ______, most people are afraid of something: heights, sickness, wild animals. Our world can be a scary place.

2- Yeah our stories in VBS this year are all about Paul, Now that’s a man that who faced a lot of scary situations: shipwrecks, angry crowds, snakes..

3- Guys, you’re right.  I just need to remember that God is with me no matter where I go. OK, let’s show this coaster who’s the boss!

All three go for a short ride on the chair “coaster.” Then all unbuckle. As they leave.

3-Hey guys, that ride is nothing compared to the fun we’ll have starting tonight at 5 PM

1- This year’s VBS will be a ride you’ll never forget: crafts, stories, songs and games.

2- And everyday you’ll learn more about facing fear and trusting God.

3- Take it from me- Faith is more fun than fear any day

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

She’s Nine, Not Nineteen

I just started reading a book called Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Little Girl by Dannah Gresh,  and so far it has given me lots to think about in guiding Meg to walk in confidence and purity. However, clothing manufacturers do not seem to share my concern for teaching my daughter to be a modest young lady.

I’m in the Girls Size 7-14 section, and I’m staring at the clothing folded on the table in front of me. I begin to eliminate things that I really don’t want to put on Meg. No skulls, nothing that will leave piles of glitter trailing behind her. Nothing skin tight, she likes to move. OK, that leaves-nothing! In the last few months I have repeated this scenario again and again as Meg has moved from size 8 to size 10 in some items. Don’t even get me started about shopping for dresses! I don’t know what nightclubs let nine year olds in, but apparently clothing manufacturers want them to have plenty to wear should they be admitted!  My little girl goes to school and church, and she needs clothing that fits into those settings! I wish that clothing companies would remember that girls this age are not teenagers. Meg still loves to jump rope, play tag, and arrange her stuffed animals.  These little girl activities do not lend themselves to the form fitting clothing that is being sold in the girls departments. I am constantly looking for basic dresses, jeans, and t shirts that are age appropriate and beautiful, just like my sweet girl!

Christmas outfits 2012. I finally found a dress for Meg that had long sleeves with a full skirt. She is very cold natured and she loves skirts with some twirl!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

That Was Beautiful!

This summer, I went with Meg to Centri-Kid camp, and she gave me one of those “You’ll Never forget This, Mom Moments. There were around 750 people filing out of the auditorium at Norman Park after the worship service on Saturday night. It was hot and the air was thick with gnats as it always is in South Georgia this time of year. (Because our first years in ministry were in Ashburn, I have spent a lot of time at Norman Park, but somehow my walks down memory lane never include the gnats!)Meg was walking a little in front of me as we cleared the doors, and when we got outside, she lifted her head toward the sky and said in a very conversational tone, “That was beautiful.” I said, “Meg, were you talking to me?”
“No, Mom,  I was telling God that the worship tonight was beautiful.” Yes, it was, and so are you, sweetheart, so are you. Keep your eyes on God’s beauty, and thanks for reminding me!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I (Still) Love to Tell the Story!

The South is a land of stories, and I grew up listening to hunting, fishing, and “did you hear about” tales told by some wonderful storytellers. However, when I think about stories from my childhood, I go back to my Sunday School, Vacation Bible school, and Sunbeam (Yes, I’m that old!) days when I was told Bible stories by some truly gifted women.

Mrs. Bobbie Jean Watson and Mrs. Polly Hutchinson could keep a class of restless kids spellbound with their words. When they told a Bible story, you were right there along with Paul and Silas in jail. You felt like you were that man on the road who was robbed, beaten, and later helped by the Good Samaritan. And when Mrs. Bobbie Jean told our class the story of Jesus dying on the cross, it changed my life because that was when I first thought about how much love it took to make sure that “whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”

When Mrs, Bobbie Jean and Mrs. Polly told Bible stories, their words painted vivid pictures, and these were words were not from the Baptist Sunday School Board( that’s what Lifeway used to be called Itold you I was old). They really weren’t even reading from the Bible. Remember in those days, it was all King James which is beautiful but hard for kids to understand and attend to for a long time. So they did what all great storytellers do, they studied the text and then told those stories with words that came straight from the heart in a way that even a child could understand and remember many years later.

And now, I’ve moved from the little baby bear chairs where I was the listener to the front of the room where I am the teacher. And I never tell a story from the Bible to a group of children without asking God to make me just a little like these ladies whose words brought the Bible to life for me. I love to tell the story today because grownups in my church used their  time and their gifts to tell the story to me and that story still changes me today.

I love to tell the story,

‘Twill be my theme in glory

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Love Into Action

Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love. I John 3:18

Put your love into action. There’s an old hymn I grew up singing called ” I Love Thee.” One line I’ll always remember is “I love Thee, I love Thee and that Thou dost know, But how much I love Thee my actions will show.”When I love, people listen. I’ve met lots of people who can’t be swayed by a testimony, words on a page, or preachers in a pulpit, but there are very few people who are not moved by a life that genuinely shows the Savior’s love, day in and day out.

Father, Help me love in such a way that people see Your love alive, walking around Columbus, GA, teaching school, worshipping in church, playing on the playground. Make Your love true in my everyday life. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer SUN Bible Study Continued

I’ve been absent from the blog a few days. I’ve kept journaling, but I haven’t been able to sit down to writeat the computer, but today I am returning.  I loved studying with everyone last Tuesday and I can’t wait to see what God has for us in the rest of the sessions.

I’m going to go back a bit to I John 3:1. Look at it in the Phillips New Testament:

Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.

We are children of God, and its not just a name it’s who we are! We are called to act like our heavenly Father because we are his children! We can’t be who we are any more; we have to be like Christ. And the more we are like Christ, the less the world will recognize us just as they did not know Him.

Father, Help me look like Jesus because I love like Jesus. Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer SUN Day 9

Scripture- I John 2:20

For the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. (New Living Translation)

Understanding-

 In this verse, John is encouraging believers who were experiencing doubts about what they had been taught, John reminds them that they already know the truth through the Spirit. Today, John preached about the Spirit leading Philip to share the gospel on a wilderness road, but the Spirit also leads us to find truth in His word. As we journey together through the Book of I John, I pray that we will ask the Spirit to lead us to what He want us to discover.

Now-

Father, Fill the 400 Room at HTBC with your Spirit as we meet and seek your message for us in Your word.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer SUN Bible Study Day 8

 

This is very similar to my wedding dress. I'm not much on today's strapless styles, but even I have to admit the sleeves back then were a bit much!

Scripture- I John 2:17

The world and its desires pass away but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Understanding-

This week was our 21st wedding anniversary and this has me thinking back to my days as a bride. At the time, I was focused on having what I considered to be the perfect wedding. I spent hours making sure every detail was just the way I wanted it, but it’s funny how twenty years later I would definitely do things differently (my big eighties hair and dresses with shoulder pads for example.) My tastes have changed, but our commitment to our vows has not! The wedding might look different today, but the promises we made have lasted us twenty years, and we still intend to love, honor, and cherish each other until “death do us part.”

In a way this reminds me of what John is saying here. Don’t forget that the world and all it has is fleeting, temporary, and already passing away. Much of our lives is given to things that do not stand the test of time.To experience something eternal, do God’s will. This investment brings rewards that last forever.

Now-

When I am tempted to put all my energy into temporary tasks, I need to remember that “only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer SUN Bible Study Day 7

 Scripture

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I John 2:12

Understanding

There it is again. John tells us why he is writing and it’s to remind us that we “have been forgiven on account of His name.” We are forgiven because of what Jesus did, not because of our actions or righteousness. In these first days of readings, John reminds us again and again of the cross and our forgiveness through His sacrifice. Meg and Jack love to hear me tell stories of their baby days, my own childhood, and how our lives were when John and I were a couple BK (Before Kids). They weren’t there, but I think it links them to these events because I was there, and I’m telling these stories from my memories and experiences.

Just think of how this relates to John. He was there in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was at the foot of the cross where Jesus told him to look after Mary, and he outruns Peter on the way to the empty tomb. What an experience to read these words I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name written from the pen of John, a man who was there in the days when all of our sins were forgiven through the name of Jesus.

Now

As I continue this study, I am reminded about the divine inspiration of scripture and how God used men like John and other biblical writers to pen words that speak to us today through the Holy Spirit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment