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VBS- any suggestions???

Hi there!  I used to post here all the time and recently I've been a lurker. 

My H, sister, her bf and I are helping out with vacation bible school at our church and we are in charge of recreation.  So last night was our first night-wasn't sure exactly what to expect- but wow some of these kids were outta control last night.  I mean not horrible but the older kids did not listen at all.  The 4 of us don't have kids yet but I've been around them my whole life, just not this many at once I guess.  Anyway we went through our whole weeks planned games and now I need some ideas for tonight.  The lil ones we played duck duck goose- and red light green light.  The middle ones loved freeze tag..then the oldest ones (4th & 5th graders) were def the hardest to please.  They played freeze tag and simon says-but were like, "I'm tired, can we play something different" or "I don't wanna play, I quit".  LOL Some loved running around while others didn't want too.  Obviously we can't make everyone happy but shoot. I mean they thought we were 'big kids' so that's prob why they stopped listening to us after a while.  We are all between 25 & 28- but apparently look like teenagers to them.

We have planned balloon toss the last night and some beach ball game tomorrow.  However we realized that in the 20 minutes we have the kids, they lose interest about 10 min into a game.  Any ideas would be very helpful & appreciated!  I thought about going to Walmart today and buying a wiffle ball/bat- we are outside, however there isn't a ton of room- we might be able to play kick ball but some of these boys could prob hit it pretty far.  Thanks for any ideas!

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Re: VBS- any suggestions???

  • I think getting a bat and a ball is a good idea - 4th and 5th graders are a bit too old to be occupied by freeze tag and simon says for more than a short period of time.  Can you play games like dodgeball or trenchball?  What about picking up a few different rolls of lanyard for the kids to make stuff out of?  How long is the recreation period?
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  • imagesaisongbird:
    I think getting a bat and a ball is a good idea - 4th and 5th graders are a bit too old to be occupied by freeze tag and simon says for more than a short period of time.  Can you play games like dodgeball or trenchball?  What about picking up a few different rolls of lanyard for the kids to make stuff out of?  How long is the recreation period?

     

    We have them for about 20 minutes- and they already have craft time before or after we have them.  We are outside unless it rains- so maybe a ball and bat would work- we just don't have a lot of room outside- I'd hate for one of them to break out a window but we can try it.  Dodgeball we thought about but there are only about 8 kids in each group- plus I'd hate for one of them to get hurt.  I've never heard of trenchball?

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  • Charades --- you can use Bible phrases, movies, names of books, etc.

    Hangman --- same thing --- you can use the names of Biblical phrases, names, movies, etc.

  • A game I love playing with kids of that age group is called Switcharoo. It can be applied to biblical questions or just a fun way for the kids to get to know more about eachother. I shall now completely butcher the game in trying to describe it to you.

    Everyone sits on a chair in a large, wide circle. If you are outside, put pieces of paper on the ground in a large circle for people to stand on instead of sitting on a chair. The paper will be torn, chairs will be knocked over, but it's all part of the fun.

    There are enough chairs/spots for everyone except for one person, who stands in the middle and makes a statement about themself (this could be bible related, or it could be something like "I have a cat" or "I'm wearing green"). Everyone that agrees with that statement or can identify with it (they also have a cat) must switch to another seat/spot. During this, the person in the middle is dashing madly for a spot/seat to get out of the middle, and chaos ensues for about 10 seconds until one poor sot is left in the middle. Repeat.

    Kids love it and it's an easy way to fill 20 minutes. As long as it's fast paced during the switching part you'll keep them interested and laughing - but drag out the statement part by having them first declare their favourite bible story or character or something and then make a switcharoo statement.

    I think another thing that you need to consider is to stop an activity before it fizzles out - this way you are clearly in control, not the kids. Also, if your concern is the boys in the group getting rough, manage this by stopping the activities a bit prematurely, when you start to sense things getting close to going downhill.

    Another favourite game of mine with kids of that age is Spoons ( with cards ). It also tends to get a bit violent if you don't cut it off, but another easy way to blow through 15 minutes or so. Make it somewhat biblical by keeping track of the winner of each round and giving them a letter toward a biblical word that is jumbled, and the group has to determine what the word is by the end.  Something like that. 

    What can I say. I like a little bit of violence in my schoolyard games, I guess?

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  • imageTofumonkey:

    A game I love playing with kids of that age group is called Switcharoo. It can be applied to biblical questions or just a fun way for the kids to get to know more about eachother. I shall now completely butcher the game in trying to describe it to you.

    Everyone sits on a chair in a large, wide circle. If you are outside, put pieces of paper on the ground in a large circle for people to stand on instead of sitting on a chair. The paper will be torn, chairs will be knocked over, but it's all part of the fun.

    There are enough chairs/spots for everyone except for one person, who stands in the middle and makes a statement about themself (this could be bible related, or it could be something like "I have a cat" or "I'm wearing green"). Everyone that agrees with that statement or can identify with it (they also have a cat) must switch to another seat/spot. During this, the person in the middle is dashing madly for a spot/seat to get out of the middle, and chaos ensues for about 10 seconds until one poor sot is left in the middle. Repeat.

    Kids love it and it's an easy way to fill 20 minutes. As long as it's fast paced during the switching part you'll keep them interested and laughing - but drag out the statement part by having them first declare their favourite bible story or character or something and then make a switcharoo statement.

    I think another thing that you need to consider is to stop an activity before it fizzles out - this way you are clearly in control, not the kids. Also, if your concern is the boys in the group getting rough, manage this by stopping the activities a bit prematurely, when you start to sense things getting close to going downhill.

    Another favourite game of mine with kids of that age is Spoons ( with cards ). It also tends to get a bit violent if you don't cut it off, but another easy way to blow through 15 minutes or so. Make it somewhat biblical by keeping track of the winner of each round and giving them a letter toward a biblical word that is jumbled, and the group has to determine what the word is by the end.  Something like that. 

    What can I say. I like a little bit of violence in my schoolyard games, I guess?

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  • imageTofumonkey:

    A game I love playing with kids of that age group is called Switcharoo. It can be applied to biblical questions or just a fun way for the kids to get to know more about eachother. I shall now completely butcher the game in trying to describe it to you.

    Everyone sits on a chair in a large, wide circle. If you are outside, put pieces of paper on the ground in a large circle for people to stand on instead of sitting on a chair. The paper will be torn, chairs will be knocked over, but it's all part of the fun.

    There are enough chairs/spots for everyone except for one person, who stands in the middle and makes a statement about themself (this could be bible related, or it could be something like "I have a cat" or "I'm wearing green"). Everyone that agrees with that statement or can identify with it (they also have a cat) must switch to another seat/spot. During this, the person in the middle is dashing madly for a spot/seat to get out of the middle, and chaos ensues for about 10 seconds until one poor sot is left in the middle. Repeat.

    Kids love it and it's an easy way to fill 20 minutes. As long as it's fast paced during the switching part you'll keep them interested and laughing - but drag out the statement part by having them first declare their favourite bible story or character or something and then make a switcharoo statement.

    I think another thing that you need to consider is to stop an activity before it fizzles out - this way you are clearly in control, not the kids. Also, if your concern is the boys in the group getting rough, manage this by stopping the activities a bit prematurely, when you start to sense things getting close to going downhill.

    Another favourite game of mine with kids of that age is Spoons ( with cards ). It also tends to get a bit violent if you don't cut it off, but another easy way to blow through 15 minutes or so. Make it somewhat biblical by keeping track of the winner of each round and giving them a letter toward a biblical word that is jumbled, and the group has to determine what the word is by the end.  Something like that. 

    What can I say. I like a little bit of violence in my schoolyard games, I guess?

     Thank you for all the good ideas!  That first one sounds fun & I just looked at the weather and it's supposed to start raining soon- so we could play that one indoors.  I hope the kids enjoy it- i wanna play :)

    Yeah we just said "ok new game" last night bc the kids were starting to run around like crazy people and scream and stuff- oh gosh...I couldn't help but laugh. 

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  • As long as you're using soft nerf balls, dodgeball shouldn't hurt.  If you only have 8 kids though it could be tough since you need teams.
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    Little ones - we played "hide and go sheep" (aka bringing the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd).  It's just like the regular hide and go seek, although we had two shepherds, and in the end you have to "corral" all of the sheep together.

    Games (all games for two or more teams):

    Get a ball (soccer, beach) and have the kids sit down.  Have them pass the ball not using their hands (so feet, knees, elbows, neck) down the line.

    Balloon pop relay: Blow up baloons (one balloon for every two kids).  Have a chair one one side of the room, line up kids on the other side of the room in two lines.  Every person in line must have a partner.  When you say "go," the first two kids in each line run to the chair.  One kid sits on the chair and puts the balloon on their lap.  The other kid must pop the balloon by sitting on it (while it is still on the other kids' lap). 

    When we did this, we played boys vs. girls, and the boys won by a LOT (less shy about jumping on their partner).  I would mix the teams, but have the "pairs" be same sex girl-girl or boy-boy.

    Dress up relay:  Get a couple of things (baseball cap, pajama bottoms, lei, bathrobe or XL t-shirt). ( I did straw hat, lei, hawaiian shirt and grass skirt, but I had a budget).  Just make sure the items are the same for each side so it is fair.  Have the first person dress up, run to a cone, then run back, and then take off the clothes for the next person in line to dress up.  

    "getting to know you game"  Mix the kids up - better if they are with someone they don't know very well.  They each have to learn 4-5 things about their partner. 

    Then get in a circle.  If John and Suzy, and Jack and Mary were partners, for example, you would throw the ball to John.  He would throw the ball to someone else Mary, for example), and say "Suzy likes to play soccer."  Then Mary would throwthe ball to would throw it to someone else, and tell something about her partner (Jack).

    There are "make your own" BINGO sheets available online (DO NOT PAY!  You can find them for free!).  You can put in whatever words you want (ie you can make it Biblical, or put the names of the students in class, or whatever) and the program will mix up the words so that every card is different - you just need to print them out.  I used candies for markers (V-day hearts), but you can rip colored paper.  I did this with 4th graders and they still liked it b/c it was different then regular bingo and there were prizes.

    Water gun roulette:  Buy around three water guns at the dollar store (try to get the same color / make).  Fill ONLY ONE with water.  Then pass them around like you are playing "hot potato."  When the music stops,  if you have a gun, you point it to the person you would have passed it to, and squirt.  If it is empty, the person is safe.  If the gun sqirts the person, you've killed (taggeg - squirted) them and they are out.  We had tatoos for the people who were out to keep them occupied for the rest of the game.

    I did this with three guns of the same color.  If I were doing it again, for a large group I would do two guns of one color, and two guns of another color, and passed one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise), b/c the kids figure out which gun is the "loaded" one. 

    Obviously, not sure what your religion is about - if they frown on even water guns, this would not be a good choice, but I did it at a public school.

    Limbo. 

    Another relay - - get a broom and some other kind of ball (like a beach ball, or a ball that doesn't roll great), split the teams into to, and have each player "sweep" the ball to a cone and back to the line, then have the next kid sweep.

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  • Ankle balloon war - break into 2 teams. Everyone ties a balloon to their ankle. Once your balloon is popped, you're out. The team with the last unpopped balloon wins.

    Crazy relay. Come up with a bunch of crazy things to do and write them on slips of paper -- should be the same for each team. Each person runs down, pulls a slip of paper, performs that task and then runs back. Some of your crazy things should include the entire team.

    One day can you have a water day where the kids can get wet? If so, could you restructure that day so your game time is at the end? You could do water balloon volley ball, slip n slide, squirt guns, water balloon fight, sprinklers 


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  • Non-outdoors / rainy day games: Give everyone a safety pin (or clothespin) and if you "catch" someone saying a word or set of words (for example, if you are doing the story of Jonah and the Whale, maybe "whale" "ocean" "sea" or "boat" then they have to give you their clothespin.  You can play this over the whole morning, or until someone has all the pins.

    For little kids: Fold a piece of paper into three parts.  Have one person draw a head, then fold it back up, then have the next person draw a middle, then one person draw the feet.

    Also for little kids:  Draw a mark on a piece of paper (a "swoosh," a square, a zig-zag) and have them draw a picture using the mark.

    How long will you be doing this?  Maybe check the internet for crafts. 

  • I ran the games for our VBS this year. 

    For the 4th - 6th graders, I did water balloons, crab soccer, aardvark relay (using a straw, transfer dried peas, M&Ms, or Skittles from one area to another) and I am totally drawing a blank on the other activity.

    For the K - 2nd graders, I did Jesus Says, Red Light/Green Light, Beach Ball Keep Away, Mother May I?, and a water balloon toss.

    For the preschoolers, we did many of the same games as the older kids, but swapped bubble blowing for water balloons, added Follow-The-Leader, and took them on a nature walk around the church property.  (We're in a rural area and there's always a groundhog, rabbit, deer, or turkey in the yards).

    Websites I used to plan:

    http://www.jubed.com/youth_ministry/

    http://www.youthgroupgames.org/

    Don't forget rainy day backups!  Minute to Win It games are good, too, depending on the number of kids you have.

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