Today at Day Two of PandaMania Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) at FUMC in Ann Arbor, kids had a blast! Here’s what they did…
Once again we started off in Party Time Sing & Play, mixing up the singing of songs with other fun activities such as a visit from Panda Patty. (She is still on a quest to become a panda! Today she was trying to make noise like a panda, only she didn’t know how a panda sounded! I wonder if she ever listened long enough to hear!)
There were “old” songs sung (from yesterday!) and new songs, like Sing, Sing, Sing and God is Listening. In fact, listening was a theme for the day! Our Bible point was:
God Listens To You!
We were able to find, thanks to help from the kids, our daily clue about today’s Bible story:
Elijah prayed to the one true God and God listened to him!
An example from the Bible of a time when God listened! I wonder what happened? (At this point, if your kids are near by, read to them the above clue and ask them to tell you what happened.)
It turns out that our Bible story was about Elijah and his run-in with some people who believed in a false god named Baal (pronounced: BAY-uhl). You can read this story in 1 Kings 18:16-39. However, parents, you may not want to read this story to your children as it reads in the Bible. It contains blood and guts, and even some bathroom humor! (Yes. In the Bible!) This is not the way it was told today at VBC! For more info, see individual notes below under “Bible Adventure” for preschool and for elementary. (Our Bible story is told every day in a smaller group setting; it is introduced, with a clue or two, in our opening time.)
Next, it was off to different stations! The preschoolers went to…
- Bible Adventures – They acted out our story, which for this group, was presented as an altar build of stones with sticks laid on top. (No mention of sacrifices!) Then each group (Elijah vs. the Baal-followers) called out for their God to send fire to burn the wood. Whichever God listened to their pleas, that was the God to follow!
- Bible Buddies – Our puppet friend, Skyler the squirrel, taught the children that sometimes we have trouble listening to each other, but nothing will stop God from listening to us. Kids posted “God Sightings” on our God Sighting wall,
and they also got to meet the Bible buddy, Amanda the Red Panda. Her cute little ears are perfect for listening!
- Crafts – They made panda face shakers. I loved seeing them enjoy the noise these made, as I’m sure that you do as well, right? 🙂
- Games – Kids played “London Bridge” but sang “God will listen when I call, when I call, when I call…”. Also played was a variation of Duck, Duck Goose, which used a pretend fire on a stick and gently tapping while saying, “Elijah, Elijah…” and then “Fire” (instead of “Duck, Duck, Goose”). There was time for free-play as well.
The Baal-followers got very loud, but no fire happened for them. Elijah said a simple prayer, and a fire burned so hot it melted the stones! I wonder why, before he talked to God, Elijah made it really hard for the fire to burn by soaking the sticks with water! (Provided by the kids with squirt bottles.) Elijah really wanted the people to know that God listens to our prayers.
The kids also discussed how God understands every language in the world. They also pondered questions such as: Do you have to be in church for God to hear you? How can God hear us when we pray quietly? How can God hear us when we are all praying at the same time? God is truly amazing! (For another resource on prayer for your family, visit this post.)
Meanwhile elementary kids visited the following stations:
- Bamboo Blast Games – Kids played a game where the smallest member of a crew was selected as the “primary panda.” The rest of the crew put on blindfolds, locked arms, and carried the primary panda and moved according to his or her directions (as he/she was the only member of the crew who could see!). They had to listen carefully. The primary panda also had a water bottle that he used to squirt other panda teams!
In the Bamboo Balance game, kids formed a circle and balanced a pool noodle upright in front of them and when the game leaders said “GO!” they quickly moved to the left or right and caught the next noodle before it toppled to the ground. Lots of smiles and giggles here.
- Chadder’s Theatre – This is the station to record God Sightings. Our wall is quickly being covered! Then, it was on to the video to see if Chadder Chipmunk found any missing pandas! Silliness, confusion, lost glasses, and a deliberately cut phone line ensued, and Chadder was even locked in an office! Fortunately, when a door gets locked, God opens a window! Chadder was able to escape. But will Chadder become snack for a Panda? Stay tuned for tomorrow!
After the video, kids listened to different sounds and discussed “knee-to-knee” how those sounds make them feel.
They were reminded that God doesn’t just listen to us but also feels emotions right along with us! On the way out, the children received the Bible buddy for the day, Amanda, a Red Panda with cute little ears reminding us that God listens to you.
- Crazy Crafts – Kids creatively designed their very own “Dizzy Drum” using markers, gems, and their imaginations. The designs were colorful, intricate, and the kids totally liked the noise that these devices were able to generate.
- Wild Bible Adventure – Today’s Wild Bible Adventure started in the hallway! Before they went into the station kids were asked to identify some fake characters – Sponge Bob was called out! This was to make sure they understood the concept of a “fake god.” They heard that in Bible times, many people believed in fake gods. One fake god was named Baal (pronounced: BAY-uhl). The prophet Elijah, was given the task of telling people Baal was not worth following! How would they believe this? There was a showdown! It was a real test: whose God could light a fire on a mountain; a fire that was prepared to sacrifice a bull?
The children then accompanied Elijah to the “mountaintop” (inside the station). There they all helped build an altar (by laying stones) and prepared for the sacrifice – burning something precious – not a bull (as in Bible times) but a yummy chocolate bar! Do you know how hard that was for them? Oh to yield perfectly good chocolate! Was the fire lit? And why all of the water? I think I’ll let your children tell you the rest of what happened on our Bible Adventure!
The Grad Group (our older elementary kids) went on a field trip today to carry out their mission project. They went to Food Gatherers. They worked all morning on preparing signage for Food Gatherers’ food drive barrels. Tomorrow’s trip: to Alpha House. (Wear sneakers or other closed-toe shoes.)
At our mid-way-through-VBC snack time at Treetop Treats our snack was Elijah’s Altar Cupcakes. The frosting really was blue. I wonder why? Yum!
As we brought VBC Day Two to a close, everyone gathered together for Rowdy Wrap Up. Here we watched a slide presentation of photos of our kids helping to re-tell our Bible story. What fun! There was more singing and making noise with our craft creations. And testing out another creation made by one of our fearless leaders. Did it work?
Important stuff for parents/guardians:
- Grad Group: Please be sure that the kids wear sneakers or other closed-toe shoes.
- Some school supplies and backpacks have been slowly arriving! We are collecting backpacks and school supplies for kids who would otherwise go to school this fall without the basics. This program is run through the Bryant Community Center in Ann Arbor. There are some great sales going on around town this week: Staples has a 1 cent sale on packages of eraser caps and pencils, and on bottles of school glue! One cent!
(Note: We receive no compensation from Staples for mentioning them in this post!)
See you for another day tomorrow!
The FUMC VBC Team
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