Christian Education

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Back-to-school bash with a VBS twist!

Photo courtesy of Cokesbury VBS. 2021.
Photo courtesy of Cokesbury VBS. 2021.

Fall is fast approaching and families are gearing up to get back in the school mindset. This is a perfect time to reconnect with families who attended your VBS with a back-to-school bash. As you pack up the VBS decorations from your summer program, sort and save pieces that you can bring back out for this special event. Keep it simple, short and fun. 

What space works best for back-to-school bash? Is it one large room with tables, an outdoor space, or several small rooms? Once you have picked the location, this will help determine the decorations you can repurpose and reuse. 

First impressions matter. Take time to make your entrance and welcome area inviting and playful. The welcome area serves as an entry point, registration area, a place for families to make their nametags and receive their information about the flow of the back-to-school bash. 

If Knights of North Castle was your theme, re-create that royal greeting fit for a king! Cover tables with a white tablecloth and add an accent of gold fabric down the middle with various props on the tables for that special royal flair. Reuse your VBS decorations to create the tone of the event. Do not forget the red carpet! 

If Discovery on Adventure Island was your theme, cover tables with brightly colored table clothes, adding a fun touch by layering island-themed fabric, fish netting, or a leaf table runner. Reuse your colorful palm trees and paper flowers to carry out the island theme for your event. 

Either way, dress in theme attire and add that special touch of background music, highlighting the VBS hit songs! Whether indoor or out, project photos or videos on a wall or screen, displaying those special moments captured on film. 

Let us talk about dual-purpose decorating, which involves decorations that are functional but also serve another purpose! Edible decorations are my favorite! Add your Bible verse posters to remind children of the biblical themes they discovered while at VBS. 

Have a beach pail filled with individually wrapped pretzel rods and call them “beach driftwood,” tying into your island theme. Using the same concept, have a metal pail filled with pretzel rods and call them “knightly swords,” tying into Knights of North Castle theme. If serving a meal, decorate brown lunch bags with your theme and provide a back-to-school lunch. 

Wall decor is a breeze by creating photo walls of VBS memories surrounded by key learning verses and Scripture. All you need is string, clothespins, pictures and photos. Depending on which theme you used, display pictures on palm leaves, flowers or snowflakes. 

We all love to capture special family moments. Create a special photo booth or selfie station for families to be silly and smile! Add instant fun with props and a customized photo frame or backdrop.

Again, keep it simple, short and fun! Continue to share God’s love and create magical moments for your families.

Jayne Andrews is a VBS enthusiast and has served 20-plus amazing years of overseeing VBS as a volunteer/staff member! Originally published on Cokesbury VBS. Republished with permission by ResourceUMC.org.