What do clothes pins, markers, coffee filters, beans, ribbon, and a bucket have in common? They are household items that Water All Around the World at-home Vacation Bible School (VBS) transforms into happy memories that last a lifetime. This free, downloadable VBS by Living Waters for the World (LWW) provides a framework for a week of family fun complete with Bible stories, activities, photos and stories of children from other countries, and more.
We asked Julie Parks, health education instructor for Clean Water U, about her experience with Water All Around the World VBS this summer. Read on for Julie’s thoughts on how she, her husband Dave, and two of their granddaughters, Sydney (age 11) and Whitney (age 9) brought the VBS to life.
Julie Parks and her granddaughters, Whitney and Sydney, are ready to start
their week of Water All Around the World VBS.
Q: What did you think of Water All Around the World?
Julie: We really enjoyed this VBS. It was easy to prepare for, the directions for each part were clearly defined and the messages and information stretched the minds and hearts of our granddaughters. I loved that it was written for use in the home with a smaller group of children in mind. It was a very special time for us. Anyone putting this together can make it as involved as they want, or as simple. Next month, we are taking it on the road to visit our other granddaughters in Illinois!
Q: How closely did you follow the suggestions for each day?
Julie: We did all the crafts, Bible stories, mission stories, reflections, recreation activities, and most of the water science experiments and songs. I also added several scriptures that I wanted our girls to know. There were several things I just did my way, because it was easier, or I had other supplies on hand. That is the beauty of having the framework that you provided as a springboard for whatever works for whoever is putting it together!
Sydney and Whitney enjoyed crafts, snacks, and recreation during their VBS week
with their grandparents.
Q: What worked for your family that you would recommend for other families?
Julie: We acted out most Bible stories using simple costumes such as head coverings, shawls, sandals, etc. For example, for the story about Moses and the rock, Moses (Grandpa) wore his black dress coat, sandals, and a head covering. Moses took his Hebrew girls (our granddaughters) outside, around the yard and back inside where the rock was waiting (a coffee can with the water-colored streamers inside of it). We read through the story once before acting it out, so they would have some idea of what to do. Also, when reading the mission stories, I printed out the photos on their own sheets so the children could see them while the story was being read. Another memorable prop was a filled, five-gallon water bottle - the girls lifted it, barely, and realized how heavy water was to carry!
Dave "Papa" Parks enacted the roles of Moses (left) and John the Baptist (top right).
Julie Parks (bottom right) shared stories of the children she and Dave have met
through their mission work with Living Waters for the World.
Q: What did your granddaughters think was the best thing about their VBS experience?
Julie: Sydney, 11: Her favorite was the game, “Germ Tag,” then the glitter with germs spreading. She also liked acting out the Bible stories and dressing up. She said, “Papa was funny! ... and the snacks were good!”
Whitney, 9: “When Papa dressed up as Moses!”
Q: Do you have any words of advice for parents or grandparents trying to decide if Water All Around the World is what they want to do with their children or grandchildren this summer?
Julie: I love that it takes them out of their tablets and electronics! The kids get to move around (for games, singing, acting out Bible stories, doing water magic). They are introduced to REAL children who live in other countries very different from ours. They learn about some ways maybe THEY can help and impact someone else’s world to make it better. They make some really cute crafts and they get to spend some fun time with whoever is leading. AND, whoever is in charge, gets to pick and choose what they will do from this VBS menu! It can be as simple or as involved as they choose to make it.
All the above, and it’s a FREE download from Living Waters for the World!