Archive for the ‘VBS’ Category

Nothing too original with this one- I just followed the directions over at Somewhat Simple.

Cut the bottom off of a bottle and put a baby sock over the bottle (enclosing the hole you made by cutting off the bottom). Dip it in straight dish soap (in any container with a flat bottom that will accommodate your bubble snake).  I used the super cheap stuff from the dollar store.


For each kid at VBS, they got 5 minutes to color an infant sock with permanent markers (put the sock on the bottle, then color).  Then we spent the rest of the time blowing bubbles for our last night of VBS.  Each crew was different.  One group competed for longest snake, another group worked together to make a giant bubble pile/cloud on the ground, some just ran around and blew their bubbles.


Pre-school age kids are most likely to breath IN when they put their mouth on the bottle, so encourage them to only blow out, or they’ll get bubbles in their mouth.

These were super simple, but tons of fun for all ages!  They’ve seen a lot of use at my house this summer!

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These butterfly notebooks were the craft for day 4.  With school upcoming, this seemed like a fun and practical craft that should really be useful.  I made some other versions for my girls at home- definitely a neat back to school craft as well.

They are a bit time consuming to prepare, but it’s a neat craft that sticks nicely to the butterfly as a theme for the Resurrection (the bible story for the 4th day of VBS).

I got spiral notebooks at the back-to-school sales.  Clear re-positionable contact paper comes in a roll 18″x24′.  I think other sizes were also available.

My butterfly was really a simplified blown up version of a butterfly stencil.  The copier did all the hard work for me to size it, then I just transferred it onto a piece of cereal box to make a stencil.  Of course, any object will work, or letters.  Use your stencil to trace your shape, or free hand it.

Small scissors or an exacto knife work well for cutting out the shapes, but I had a free-form shape cutter that I’d used for one of my crafts last year (someday I’ll post about it) that sped things up quite a bit to make the number I needed.  I couldn’t cut them out completely with the free-form cutter since the base of the cutter wouldn’t go over the spirals in the notebook, but it was simple to cut the rest of the wings with scissors.  Whatever shape you use, remember to keep them simple if you have a lot to do!


Once the shape is cut out, you move on to the contact paper.  I put on the outside layer for each notebook and left the paper backing inside so that it wouldn’t adhere to the first page.  This stuff is forgiving and re-positionable, especially for the outside piece.  The size of  your piece will vary based on the size of your cut-out shape.  Just make sure it overlaps your shape by at least 1/2″ or so.  I cut the inside piece of contact paper and slipped it into each notebook for after the kids decorated them.


Regarding applying that piece of contact paper, you can take the whole backing off and set it on like a giant sticker- reasonably easy to do.  But for the kids to do it (and maybe adults, too- whatever you prefer), this is a better method:  Start to remove the backing from one edge of the contact paper.  Set it on the cut out shape and adhere the edge, make sure the whole piece sits squarely over the cut-out.  Then pull the loose edge of the paper backing from underneath the contact paper and smooth it down as you pull off the backing. I did “burnish” the surface to get it to stick better once it was properly placed, but only for the front- the kids didn’t burnish the inside.   To burnish I used the handles of my scissors to rub the contact paper and get it to adhere better to the notebook.


Now for some inside decoration.  I used shaped paper punches (butterflies, stars, helicopters, and planes) and fine glitter in the little shaker containers.  I punched a full 8 1/2″x11″ paper of each, and for 66 kids that was sufficient.  It also kept things simpler with only one color choice for each punched shape.  Adults handed out the shapes to the kids- a small pinch of punched shapes goes a long way.  I handed out the last of my stars and almost all my butterflies to the last crew that came through, but no one lacked any.  Stick the paper punch outs on first, then the glitter.  Don’t get too crazy with the glitter, or less of the contact paper will stick.  Also, be sure to brush off excess glitter from the inside cover before trying to put on the contact paper so it has more places to adhere to seal in all those decorations.

I tried crayon shavings at home and melted them with an iron after I put the contact paper on.  They turned out okay, but the melted crayons aren’t an appealing look where they seep into the notebook cover.  It’s most obvious around the clown nose below.

Once the decorations are in and the cover is swept clear of excess glitter, The inner piece of contact paper can be put on. (Review directions above for the easiest way for the kids to apply the contact paper themselves, or at least help.)


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Day 3 we made Prayer Windsocks.  While searching for my crafts online, I ran across Artist Holiday and LOVED the concept of prayer flags that she used at her church’s SKY VBS this year.  See her post about them here, where she gives a more detailed understanding of prayer flags.  Inspired by her shared information and wanting to give our VBS kids the same opportunity to explore prayer with pen and fabric, I developed a similar project.

These windsocks were hopefully brought home and hung up to be a pretty reminder of God’s presence as one who loves to hear our prayers.

Each windsock is made from a 12″x22 1/2″ piece of muslin.  I got 90″ muslin at Jo-Ann’s (with a coupon for 50% off, of course).  90″ wide makes 4 of these windsocks across, and you’ll get 3 per 36 inch length, so 12 a yard.  (certainly 45″ would work fine, to, just plan on 6 a yard.  But per piece, 90″ wide was cheaper.)

I cut the rectangle with pinking shears to limit fraying.  Fold over and stitch a channel in one end.  (For a no-sew version, just use hot glue or liquid stitch for this part.)  Mark (in pencil or chalk) the top block and 6 streamers about 11″ long and 2″ wide.  Sorry for the wrinkly pictures!

Thread a piece of yarn about 18 inches long through the top of each at the middle and tie it there- this will eventually hang the windsock.)  With so many to do, I cut a looong piece of yarn and after stitching through and tying off at the end, I just cut to length and kept going.  Otherwise you’ll be threading that needle a lot.)

The kids used permanent marker to draw/write their prayer(s) on the windsock.  I encouraged them to think of things they were thankful for or things they wanted to ask God about or talk to God about.

I just reminded them that anything drawn on the windsock tails would be cut apart if they didn’t stay in the lines there.  After coloring, cut up the tail lines (but don’t cut them off, of course…).  These tails have been waving in the breeze for a little while now, and are holding up pretty well.

Then a bit of hot glue (I did this part for them).  I wrapped around a pringles can for a form to work on.  Just overlap the two edges and glue down the main body portion of the windsock.

I pre-cut and twisted wire to go through the channel sewed in the top.  Total length is about 14″ with a small loop twisted into each end, so finished size is just over 12″.  Mine is cut from a roll of picture hanging wire.  Pipe cleaners might work fine here if they’re long enough- I just didn’t have that on hand when I was making these.


The kids put the wire through the channel.  The loose end of the yarn was then threaded through both wire loops and tied to form the hanging portion of the windsock.   (In my pictures of finished windsocks, a different wire method was used.  The way I describe here is how I they were finished for VBS and is much easier to do for the kids and for those preparing the craft.)


Beautiful reminders of prayer, the connection we have with God through prayer, and the ability to pray in different ways.


For more VBS/ kids crafts, check my VBS tab.

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Day 2 was film canister rockets.  Yes, another rocket, but these are a different animal.  Very fun!  The tricky part is coming up with enough canisters, and the right kind.  Either plan to pay for them, or start collecting early.  Don’t forget to check out your local film processing places to see if they have any or can save any for you or search their recycling bin for them.  Walmart, drug stores, camera shops, etc. may have them.

(In the photo below, my daughter had ripped off one of the foam fins, so it’s not a completely accurate picture.  FYI, the glue gun will stick the fins back on.  I had to re-attach a few for the kids at VBS.)

Basic instructions for canister rockets are available online.  Here’s a decent one to check out over at NASA’s The Space Place.  (It does take a little while to load, at least for my country speed access.)

It really does matter that the canisters have the top that fits like a plug/cork.  The ones that snap around the outside lid will NOT work.  They just flop over after they burst out the side somewhere that the lid snaps on.

My first sample I tried card stock and was worried about it falling apart with moisture- my suspicions were quickly confirmed, so I moved on to craft foam.

I pre-cut these- foam isn’t that cheap, and there’s other stuff for the kids to do, so they don’t need to cut it.  It’s an extensive prep-work craft.  Here’s my pattern for the foam on a PDF.  Just cut it out of an old cereal box for your stencil and you’re ready to trace on foam.  I was able to squeeze 5 on a sheet- you may need to shift the fin slightly off the page to squeeze all 5 on  You’ll need 2 pieces per kid, but they’re exactly the same and interlock to form the rocket.  It just needs to be attached to the canister.

foam film canister rocket pattern


Kids assembled the foam on the canisters.  (Decorate if desired).  Tape one of the two pieces of foam onto the canister- stay away from the canister top so you don’t tape it shut.  (Again, pic is missing the top fin- don’t let that throw you off.)

Then interlock the fins and the holes on both sides.


Last task is to tape the other half of the rocket down to the canister.

That’s it!  Now for the exciting part!  Go outside to fly them!

I pre-made baking soda packets, so a pitcher of vinegar allowed us to launch everyone’s rocket once.

To make the baking soda packets- I used a sheet of TP (any ply will work) with about 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda.  Put the soda in the center and twist a tail on it.  More baking soda actually made them fly poorly- it needs to be a balance so the “fuel” is all used up.  Ditto on the vinegar- too much makes them pop too quickly and not as high.  You want space for the pressure to build up in the canister so it will launch higher.


To fly the rockets:  fill the canister about 1/2 way with vinegar.  Set the baking soda packet in- tail pointed DOWN into the vinegar.  Quickly put the cap on, flip the rocket upside down on a “launch” surface, stand back, and watch.  Within 5-10 seconds, the rocket will fly!  The rocket below was on the front of the window well.  Notice in the very top right corner of the second photo below there’s a rocket.  That’s about all the further it went up, but it’s pretty neat.


I made up a handout for the kids to take so their parents could help them repeat the fun at home.  Here’s the handout in PDF (copy and cut- each kid will only receive a partial sheet of paper).

film canister rocket takehome handout

For more VBS craft ideas, check my VBS tab!

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This is the first of a series of posts on VBS crafts.  For more group kids crafts ideas, check my VBS tab.

We did these on Day 1.  They’re kind of like sanitary spit wads.  I used the tutorial over here at Curious Kangaroos.  Make sure the straws are on the bigger side (diameter), or it’s a poor show.  You want to puff a lot of air through the straw in a hurry for them to fly well.

Details for preparing for a group:  I drew lines on one sheet of paper so each kid will get to color 6 straw rockets.  I photocopied the sheet (lazy me…) and that’s about all the prep for this one.  The kids colored the rockets before cutting them out.

And for everyone else’s benefit to make this go even quicker, here’s the print-able via PDF file:

straw rocket pattern

(The writing on the bottom edge will not make it into a copy unless you can adjust your copier to go to the edge of the page.  Also note below, my assembly instructions would change a bit if I were to do it again).

Due to time restrictions, it worked best to let them color, cut, and assemble ONE rocket before completing any more.

Wrap on a pen or pencil (make sure it’s a bit bigger than your straws).  Glue. (NOTE:  do NOT glue while flat before wrapping.  It works better to wrap so the paper is curled closer to it’s final shape before glueing).  Clip on clothespins to help hold it while it sets for a couple minutes.

****While the above is the way we did it, I would save a lot of headache and time if I were to do it again.  I would just have them FOLD the rockets- skip the wrapping around pencils to glue.  Fold on the dotted “glue” line and then fold the remainder of the rocket in half over to the “glue” line.   It won’t affect end performance and will make it tons easier to assemble.


Then fold down the top and tape.  Repeat for each rocket.  Done!


All the pieces went into a little baggie to go home.  I gave them straws AFTER the rockets were made to keep everyone’s mouth on their own straw and to keep them on task until finished.

If you have time (we didn’t)- give the kids some challenge for practicing aim and distance with targets, landing strips, etc.  Hang up hula hoops, cut shaped holes in a tarp and line with tape, or tape a landing strip on the floor- however you want to do it.  Let them play!

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