PandaMania – Thursday

Bible Buddy for Friday: Pogo

Our week at PandaMania is going fast!

If you’d like to see past daily postings about our Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) experience at FUMC in Ann Arbor, click here.

Take a look at a slideshow with lots of pictures from VBC here.

Important stuff for parents/guardians:

  • Thank you for picking up your child on time!
  • We will be singing two songs during worship this Sunday –Wild About Us and Watching Over You. Please join us at 9:30 and wear your VBC T-shirt!
  • Keep those school supplies and backpacks coming! We are in need of pens, highlighers, rulers, and protractors, but whatever you can bring will be appreciated.

Once again, we started off together at Party Time Sing & Play with a review of Bible stories and Bible Points and Bible Buddies, from this week. Kids remembered them all! Today’s Bible Buddy is Pogo. (That’s him up on the left.) Pogo is a Snow Leopard. It looks like he’s about to pounce into trouble! It’s a good thing that God loves him no matter what he gets into. Hey, that’s our Bible Point for today!

God Loves You, No Matter What!

Our key Bible verse is from Psalm 139:24.

Lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Did you know that our daily Bible verse is inscribed on the back of our daily Bible Buddy? Take a look at the back of today’s Bible Buddy, Pogo.

Panda Patty put in a quick appearance today, in fact she came in running; the Pandas were chasing her! Panda’s are pretty low-key, I wonder what Panda Patty did to make them mad at her? I hope that the Pandas don’t hate Patty? Do you suppose that God is mad at her for what she did? Hmmm, I wonder if we’ll find out in today’s Bible story? Our Bamboo Bible Clue gives us a hint about about what our story is about for today.

Jesus died for our sin. And he comes to life again.

We spent the rest of our time together singing songs! Another new song: His Great Love! We got to do a couple of “Panda Picks” to choose which songs to sing. We know all the words!

An overhead view of Party Time Sing & Play Singing with motion!

What happened next? Our elementary kids visited the following stations:

  • Bamboo Blast Games – In a game called “Blown Away,” leader Sheila “launched” pandas into the crowd of children and instructed them to catch the pandas without moving or jumping. Sometimes they saved the pandas from falling and sometimes they didn’t. The kids were reminded that sometimes in life things don’t go our way, but God loves us no matter what.

    “What a Wild Mess” was a crazy relay race that involved one person on
    each team catching wet spongy balls by pulling up the front of his/her
    garbage bag poncho (forming a “basket”). Kids loved throwing the wet
    balls for their teammate to catch and could hardly wait for their turn
    as the catcher!

  • Chadder’s Theatre – The children were asked to draw or write an example of how they know God is with you forever. Some examples were: “He is invisible, God loves me when I’m mean, and God is with me when I play soccer.”
    Then, it was onto the continuation of Chadder’s Mystery of the Missing Pandas. After having dressed up as a panda to try to deceive the inspector, Chatter repents and sets off to find the inspector to tell him the truth. There are efforts to thwart Chadder (with some crazy martial arts moves). Will they succeed? Will Chadder get to the inspector in time to tell him the truth? Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

    This session wrapped up by reflecting on God’s everlasting love and everlasting life. The children gathered in a crew group hug, and the crew leader blessed each one of them individually. The children always leave Chadder’s Movie Mania with the highly anticipated Bible Buddy. Today it was Pogo. Demonstrating a grasp of the Bible point of the day, one child was overheard telling the station leader, “Pogo is sometimes naughty, but God still loves him.”

  • Crazy Crafts – Kids created panda-themed photo frames and received a photo of their own crew to display in it! As the kids looked at all their crew photos, leader Nancy S. reminded them that we are all very different and God loves us no matter what!
  • Wild Bible Adventures – Everyday this station is creative and meaningful, but today station leaders Rob and Heather brought much excitment and emotion to the story of Jesus’ followers and Peter’s betrayal. The day got off to a bang with Jesus’ followers (aka all the children at PandaMania) needing to escape from the Roman guards who were pursuing them! After scurrying around the whole first floor, they found shelter in a “Secret Hideout.” Just as they got settled, Peter stormed into the hideout. Once he realized he was with other followers of Jesus, he shared the pain he was feeling over betraying Jesus not once, not twice, but three times! Can you imagine turning your back on a friend or having a friend betray you? Remembering the Bible Point that God loves you, no matter what, the followers tried to reassure Peter and comfort him. Then, they were asked to reflect individually on how it feels to betray someone or turn your back on them. After a moment, crew leaders gently reminded each child that God loves them too, no matter what!

The Grad Group (graduated 5th and 6th graders) have been working on mission projects – today they worked on projects right in the building! First they finished making school supply kits. (Tomorrow they will deliver them to the Bryant Community Center in Ann Arbor.) Then they re-packaged bulk food items into single serve bags for FUMC’s LOVE Thy Neighbor Lunch Program. This food will be given to our hungry and homeless neighbors Saturday during the LOVE program’s lunch distribution at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

Grad Group preps food for LOVE Thy Neighbor Grad Group preps food for LOVE Thy Neighbor

The preschoolers visited the following stations:

  • Bible Adventures – Forgiveness was today’s topic. The question was asked, “Have you ever done anything that you felt bad about?” “Have you ever told a lie?”  A sad face was put on the children’s hands with a marker, to show how we all have sinned.  But then they talked about how God forgives our sins, so their sad faces were wiped off and replaced with a happy face to show how we are forgiven.
  • Bible Buddies – A discussion about saying “I’m sorry.” started off our time together. Being put in “Time Out” was brought up and the leader discussed how even when our Mommies and Daddies put us in Time Out they still love us, right?  This is how God is too, even when we do something wrong, God always loves us.  Another preschooler was discussing saying “I’m sorry” and he said, “Sometimes I give kisses and that’s how I say I’m sorry!” The children received their third Bible Buddy, Pongo, the Snow Leopard.  Then they drew their God Sightings, pictures of things that remind them of God.
  • Crafts – The children made a cute magnetic picture frame and received a photo of their VBC crew. Thursday Craft for the Preschool
  • Games – They first played a game about the Resurrection. One child was covered with a white sheet, this was Jesus, the rest of the group counted to 3 to represent the 3 days that Jesus was in the tomb, then the leader pulled the sheet off the child when they got to 3 and they said, “He is risen!”  Another game they played was about forgiveness.  They sprayed shaving cream on beach balls, the shaving cream represented sin, then they took turns washing away the sin with spray bottles and they discussed how Jesus washes away our sins.

Thursday's snackOf course mid-way through our morning we had to stop at Treetop Treats for a snack! We feasted on frosted and decorated pretzel sticks formed into the shape of a cross. Ask your kids about what they talk about with their crew, during snack. (Hint: it involves using an iOpener.)

And finally, at Rowdy Wrap-Up, we gathered to recap our day. We enjoyed watching the “SpotLight” slide show, which includes photos of kids helping to re-tell our Bible story. Along with the singing of a couple of songs, we also heard about how today’s Key Bible Verse applies to our lives: When we are friends of Jesus, he will lead us along the path of everlasting life.

A demonstration of our Bible verse

See you for our final day tomorrow!
— The FUMC VBC Team

For More info about children’s programming at FUMC, visit here.

Would you like help nurturing your children’s spirituality? Consider this spot on the web as your Companion In Family Faith Growth. Receive new posts by email, simply by entering your address at the box on the upper right side of this page. (And then clicking the button). Most of the time there are two posts a week (so, two emails). And I assure you, posts are never this long! Check out a few favorites: On starting a good habit with your kids, or doing a family activity to celebrate a season, or an example of what I call one of my Time Out, Talk About… posts.


— Carol H.

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
PandaMania logos from here.
Rest of photos courtesy of Carol, Wendy, Barbara, and Drew.

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