Last week I shared with you highlights from the first two days of VBS at our house with the grandkidsThe format we used was pretty simple. Mornings were for the teaching, object lessons, crafts, and activities. Afternoons were play time. Our evenings involved a bedtime story or two that introduced the topic for the next day. The kids noticed how everything tied together. Everyone was tired at the end of each day, which meant we all slept really well! And everyone was excited to get up the next day to see what new lessons we would learn from the Bible. So, let’s take a look at more highlights from Days 3-5 of our VBS week!
Day 3: Acting Out Jonah and the Big Fish
The third day of our homespun VBS was a grandchild request, Jonah and the Big Fish! The prior evening’s bedtime story was God’s Messenger from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Our morning started off with the children acting out the story of Jonah and the Big Fish. I prepped by creating a giant “fish” in the stairwell leading to our basement. Basically I used black lawn bags taped to a pool noodle and created the look of seaweed with a hula skirt and had Swedish Fish on the floor as krill in the belly of the fish. I hid a can of sardines for the smell factor. The children boarded a “ship” with a ticket to “Anywhere BUT Ninevah”. Pappy was the captain of the ship. The children acted out each scene from the Bible story, culminating with Pappy “throwing” each of them overboard as we “floated” down into the dark belly of the fish.
Jonah, Jesus and Temptation
While we were in the fish belly, we talked about the story and read Matthew 12:38-41 where Jesus refers to this story in the New Testament. Jesus explains that Jonah’s time in the whale was a prediction that Jesus would die and come back to life. Just like Jonah was presumed dead for 3 days, Jesus would spend 3 days in the grave. And just like Jonah miraculously survived, Jesus would miraculously conquer death and return to life in a resurrected body.
After all of that excitement, we took time out for a craft and made a cup and ball game with the cup decorated as a fish and the ball as Jonah. You can find several versions online for free. We then shifted to talk about temptation and how to deal with temptation. This tied the story of the Fall with the story of Jonah. We used the Bernoulli Principle object lesson I outlined in a previous post HERE. Teaching children about their sin nature and then how to deal with temptation when they face it is a very important life lesson.
Day 4: All About Jesus
The theme of Day 4 would be all about Jesus! Bedtime the night before we read The Sun Stops Shinning and God’s Wonderful Surprise from the Jesus Storybook Bible. The next morning we started off by talking about all of the ways that Jesus proved that he is the Son of God. We looked at some of Jesus’ miracles in John 2:1-11, Luke 8:22-25, Mark 10:46-52 and John 11:1-7, 17-45. These miracles show that Jesus has super-natural power over all created things. He even has power over death! These miracles show us that Jesus really is the Son of God. He is more powerful than we are!
We then moved to Luke 24 and discussed Jesus’ biggest miracle, his resurrection. Here we focused on the proofs Jesus offered that he really was alive and the lies the Romans told to try to cover up the facts. We then made our own infinite flipper to share the gospel with other people. You can find instructions online. The gospel is represented by a gold circle (heaven and God’s purity), a black heart (sin), a red cross (Jesus), a white heart (sin forgiven, Jesus’ righteous covering) and back to the gold circle (heaven). That wrapped up Day 4.
Day 5: Escape Room Review
Our last day together was a review of what we had learned throughout the week. The night before we read The Garden, The Curtain and the Cross and Possums’ Empty Tomb. For our review, I used a prepackaged Easter Escape Room you can purchase HERE. It was a little hard for the ages of our grandkids (5-11). The Escape Room is designed for ages 8-15. We had to help our grandchildren decode the messages. Once we showed the 5 year old how to decode things, she joined in on the action and did well. If I had to do this over, I would approach it more as a team activity, rather than an individual activity. There was a lot of reading on this printable. We skipped much of that and went straight to the decoding. I honestly think our children were too young for this, but they played along and in the end they each got a prize when they completed the game. If any of you use this with your teens, I’d love to know how it works for you!
A Few More Thoughts
Their very favorite day was Jonah and the Big Fish. I’m not surprised because our kids love acting out Bible stories. Each day I added coloring pages, word searches, dot-to-dot pages and mazes that followed our themes. Our children loved these activities. I found all of these for free online. The very best part of the week was just giving our grandchildren our full attention. We didn’t turn on the television at all during the week! Our undivided attention is what our children and grandchildren crave. This kind of investment of time will make you the person they go to when they need to talk about the hard things in life. I hope you’ll try out some of these ideas. Let me know if you do. I’d love to know how it goes!
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