Wednesday, August 29

Sky Vacation Bible School Theme

 A few weeks ago we had a fantastic Vacation Bible School! This was our first year using the Group Publishing curriculum, which really impressed us. They had tons of hands on, small-group activities and key points each day that really drove the lessons home. The songs were fun and got the kids moving, but they had a great message. The Bible stories were amazing - I'll try to post about those later.

The main auditorium is where we have our opening and closing sessions, so it's decorated to the max. Some easy ideas for any flight/sky theme:

1. We flew objects all over the room by hanging them from vents with fishing wire, such as kites, small airplanes, and hot air balloons. To make hot air balloons, blow up beach balls and attach a basket with ribbon for hot air balloons. Our "baskets" were small round tupperware containers covered with brown construction paper. You can also use empty rolls of packing tape. How easy is that?

2. To make a large hot air balloon, just tack up the sides of a pre-school parachute activity toy to the ceiling, and hang streamers down from it. We used flexible cardboard to make a round basket, but you could use a large box to make a square design, or cover any large container with brown paper.
3. A balloon column is semi-easy to make yourself and looks great! I made these in about an hour each, and it was my first time - a great tutorial is here.  I didn't know you can purchase gel to make your balloons stay inflated longer - in the heat of summer our air-filled balloons looked good 4-5 days.

4. Clouds

We used tons of white balloons to look like clouds all around the floor. Simply tie two balloons together, then tie another set of 2 together, and twist the centers around each other and have 3 balloons as the base and one sticking up (see pic above).

The other 3-d clouds were made by cutting cardboard cloud frames and covering them with batting. We spray painted a little blue in ours, but you could also glitter, or just leave plain. (The cloud background was purchased from Oriental Trading and was worth every cent! They have the sky decals you see, too).

5. Rainbow streamers - You'll see these in two places, on the walls of the church and on our giant hot air balloon. Streamers are cheap, simple, and add a splash of color. We strung a fishing line to hang the streamers on top, then taped them to the wall on bottom and covered the tape with clouds.

6. Ask around and see if you can borrow large kites, inflatables (we scored a B-W bomber inflatable raft!), and such. This bomber was a great focal point to our lobby entrance.

 7. Another fun idea - use cotton or leftover batting to "write" messages in the air!

 We had a blast brainstorming and decorating for this week, and the kids raised enough money to purchase 50 mosquito nets for kids in the country of Mali! They made cards to go along with the nets - what a great way to for them to realize they can make a difference!
We set up a net and mock bed so the kids could visualize our goal.
 Here are a couple pics from that week so you can see what it was like - it was definitely our favorite Bible school yet, and no question we're planning to use Group again!

Thursday, August 23

Life... with Sprinkles

 I had one of those defining moments recently. You know, where you see something - perhaps one of those things you've always done - in a new light. My girls had two friends over for the day, which meant they outnumbered me 5 to 1. I knew it was futile to try to get any housework done, so we packed up and went to the park instead. Once it got too hot to be at the park (in the desert, that's about 10:30am - the slide was steaming!), we decided to cool off with some ice cream at our local diner.

As the waiter handed me five ice cream cups, I noticed several containers of sprinkles on the counter. "Do you mind if I put some of those on?" I asked. He hesitated, then gave me a half smile. "I guess it would be all right." I sprinkled about 10 mini fish-shaped sprinkles on each scoop and brought them over to the table.

The girls squealed with delight. "Mine has fish sprinkles!" "Mine too!" "They're soooo cute!!" And I realized, it doesn't take much to make something special. Ten fish sprinkles made all the difference to  them between a fancy parfait and vanilla ice cream in a styrofoam cup. And the guy didn't even charge me for the sprinkles!

Life has a way of getting us to do many of the same things over and over again: Appointments. Laundry. Cooking. Church. Work. Errands. Laundry. Since becoming a mom, more and more I find myself inventing new ways of looking at and doing some of these monotonous tasks, for my own sanity as much as my kids'! And thanks to that nice waiter, I even have a name for it now: Life... with sprinkles.

For example...

~ Life will leave you broke and stuck at home on some hot summer day because, well, you just can't afford the water park every day.

Life with sprinkles will turn the kids loose with a big piece of bubble wrap, soap, and water for the best slip 'n slide ever! And they'll get clean too...

~ Life will inevitably have your kids bored, waiting for you to finish a project somewhere (in our case, often the church building) so they can go home.

Life with sprinkles will turn on the lawn sprinklers and let the kids go wild, to the point that they're the ones not ready to go home!

~ Life causes one to spend, on average, 45-60 minutes waiting each time you go to a doctor.

Life with sprinkles dyes their kids' hair pink before coming to their 3 year checkup, then has them hide in the examining room closet like a spy and play doctor with a tongue depressor (don't judge me! We waited more than two hours..).

~ Life sometimes makes you tempted to tell your kids, "Go outside and play, you're driving me crazy!"

Life with sprinkles will send them outside, armed with an old ball of yarn so they can make a giant spiderweb/obstacle course (and maybe leave off the last part about driving you crazy).

~Life means running errands with small, sticky, sometimes ill-tempered children.

Life with sprinkles means letting them pretend to talk on the department store phones once in awhile, if no one is looking and if you know that picking it up won't call anyone. If.

~ Life, at some point or another, will probably get you pulled over for something. (If life doesn't, speeding definitely will!)  

For the record, I got off with a warning!
Life with sprinkles will take a picture of the cop car and text it to your husband with no message. Just for fun... not that I did that or anything. :) 

But you get the idea -

Life will have its share of booboos, mishaps, long days, and traffic jams. It's unavoidable.

But life with sprinkles will have an ample supply of Angry Birds bandaids to make them feel a little better.  

So go ahead - Use a little creativity and add your own sprinkles... you'll be glad you did, and so will those around you!

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