Summer is in full swing. In our area, most the Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) and sports camps are done. Kids tend to have more time on their hands...free time to play with neighborhood kids and run wild. But all the free time and running wild can breed squabbles and even boredom. Time for some mama-directed activity. Enter the impromptu backyard VBS.
This idea was literally born out the situation I just described. It works best if it's spontaneous and off-the-cuff. I could tell the neighborhood kids needed an activity when they were running back and forth between houses and arguing over what they were going to play. Plus, this is a fun and casual way to share the Bible with the neighbor kids.
1. Grab a good Bible picture book. We picked David and Goliath. Read the story with crazy voices and dramatic actions. Have the kids yell out some of the character responses (roaring giant, frightened Israelites).
2. Make up a craft with what you have on hand. It doesn't have to be blog-worthy. Just find something that they can create. I grabbed denim material and leather strips to create David's sling. We just snipped holes in the strip of fabric and tied the pieces of leather to each end. Link it to the story...a prop, something they can wear, a painting depicting the story. You can have them go out onto the driveway and make a chalk mural of the story. Think easy and basic.
3. Sing a song and/or act out the story. Here's where you make some great memories and cement the story (God's truth) in their little brains. If you know a song that goes along with the story--sing it. Loud and off-key. Dance too. Make a fool of yourself. They will love it.
Re-enacting the story also makes it come alive. I drew a big Goliath on butcher paper and attached it to the fence, while the kids each went and gathered their stones. After showing them some basic "sling technique," they lined up and took aim at Goliath.
I know, I know. You are totally jealous of my amazing artistic abilities. But it is Goliath so it's ok that he's ugly.
Each time they stepped up for their turn they would yell, "You come to be with a spear and a sword, but I come to you in the NAME OF THE LORD!" It was awesome.
So that's why I taught the neighbor kids to throw rocks. (No windows were broken in the process. Amen!) They were bored and I had a yard and a Bible and an imagination and I prayed that God would bring it together. And he did.
Put on your camp director cap and go play with the neighborhood kids! They will be in awe that an adult wants to play and mesmerized by the amazing stuff in God's storybook...giants, a guy living inside a fish for three days, floods, food that rains from the sky....