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Guide to Making a Vacation Bible School Curriculum in 2024

Guide to Making a Vacation Bible School Curriculum

Vacation bible school is one of the most fun planning sessions of the year! Hearing the halls and classrooms filled with children’s voices and excitement, plus the Bible story re-enacting, singing, and game-playing, all create a renewed sense of joy in the life of the church. This just may be the year where you have the most children ever in attendance as the pandemic seems to be more and more behind us. That said, questions arise such as what about your vacation bible school curriculum, and at what time will you hold VBS? What about crafts and activities? What about the weather? And most importantly, how will this week mark the children with an indelible impression of who Jesus is and how they can be followers of Him in their daily lives? 

Hopefully, over these past two years, you have really gotten to know your community’s needs/desires/involvement like never before. Have you considered creating your own theme to help continue to reach and best serve them? If so, take these points to heart for your guide to making a vacation bible school curriculum in 2024. 

  • Bible-based content is foundational to your VBS.
    • Which story do you want to expound upon with memory verses that will be life-applicable and easily recalled once the week is over? 
    • The Bible is accessible to everyone.
      • Think about the children’s ages and how this central message can be maximized for each age group. This helps the children to learn from each other as well. 
      • For example, if a family has 3 children ages 3, 6, and 10 then the 10-year-old will walk away from VBS with a deeper understanding of the lesson, but the 3 and 6-year-olds will also have something valuable to contribute to the discussion at the dinner table that night. 
  • Child-friendly theme- this seems obvious.
    • But think about it from a child’s perspective. A circus may seem like a fun event to attend, but it’s a whole lot of sitting and constant noise from a child’s point of view. Plus, clowns bring a whole other level to the big tent over the top extravaganza. Daniel in the lion’s den and Jonah in the belly of the whale are probably difficult and intimidating themes, but here are some creative ideas that will be both life-transforming and fun!
  • Environment
    • The VBS tone is set from the time announcements are made that registration is live and how it appears on your church website, social networks, church bulletin, and posters.
    • Mission minded
      • Who is attending and what do you want them to experience?
      • Who is welcoming and helping the families from drop-off to pick up and everything in between? 
    • Decorated rooms- this is where it gets really fun!
      • How will you carry out the theme in your classrooms?
        • Decorated doors are a great way to recognize which classroom is for which age group, etc.
        • Set a budget and stick with it. Many volunteers will knock their socks off to build a fabulous “set” to help pull off the VBS curriculum 2024 theme, but at the end of the day, the message is the most important part of vacation bible school. 
      • Make sure it’s childproof and completely kid-friendly. We don’t want 6 feet tall paper palm trees complete with coconuts and monkeys in the corner falling over. 
    • Common areas, Entrance, and Exit- your first and final impressions happen here. Clean, colorful, and remember that less is often more. 
    • Activities
      • Crafts- coordinate your theme as much as possible into your crafts. Children take pride in what they create, so how can their masterpieces remind them of what they have learned?
      • Games- get outside and make it a field day full of three-legged races and team-building activities. 
      • Take-home sheets- there should be something to summarize your day so that parents know what their children learned and how to continue the conversation/lesson in preparation for the next day.
  • Snacks
    • Appealing, but don’t go overboard. Children enjoy snacks, and you don’t need a chef to create a charcuterie board. Individual bags of pretzels and fruit gummies with a juice pouch or water bottle are always satisfied. 
    • Allergies- don’t forget to ask about allergies upon registration. Common allergies are nuts, so going without is just a smart plan to set parents at ease from the get-go.
  • Music provides a sense of community.
    • Think about it; we are all singing (or at least making a joyful sound) together. So what music will emphasize your theme and the mission of VBS? What do you want children learning and then going home singing? Music will continue to cultivate their faith long after VBS is over.
  • Volunteers are crucial to the success of vacation bible school.
    • Background checks are essential for volunteers. This gives families a sense of security.
    • Include jr and senior high schoolers to assist with activities, greeting, and pick-ups. Think about where the high volume of participants will be and utilize them in those areas. They loved VBS as kids and will benefit from investing in the lives of the children in different ways.
    • The Seniors in your church are also a great resource for volunteering during VBS. Snack assemblers, hall monitors, and greeters are some start of the roles that they can fulfill. 
  • The final session finale is a family affair.
    • It’s the show and tells of the week spent in VBS. Make it a true event with food, fun, and showcase. Perhaps there’s a short play, a song or two from different age groups, a slide show is always a highlight, and then a tour of the classrooms, including picking up final crafts, etc. 
    • Sunday video recap that can be shared during the service to let members know how their financial investment impacted the lives of the children in their community.
      • This video can also be e-mailed to every registrant to commemorate VBS 2024.
      • Share the video on social media and your church website.

Vacation bible school curriculum 2024 planning is just around the corner. It’s the “jumping into the pool” of Christianity and teaching them how to swim with other believers. Connecting with the families in your community for that week and beyond will take a lot of work, but prayerfully the outcome will be that the biblical content you’ve built into your VBS curriculum will lay foundational truths to help children and their families understand who Jesus is and why they need Him as their personal Savior.

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