Vacation Bible School Crafts
Last Updated: Monday January 15, 2001
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This page is dedicated to those whose talent is teaching, sharing, and witnessing. It represents ideas that allow us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet does not require that we have unlimited resources. Many of the ideas contained herein can be made with items that can be found around the house and, after all, the best way of sharing the gospel is to use real-life.
A few days ago I received an e-mail asking if I knew where to buy kits to make witness bracelets. I had remembered the bracelets but had forgotten how to make them. My daughter even pitched in, but she too had forgotten how to make them. I searched the web looking for directions, but to no avail. I asked at several Bible Book Stores, but again to no avail. Finally I found a web page, quite by accident* and found just what I was looking for. The Wordless Book provided the information on the colors and meanings of the beads. I've added a link to their site on my Links page, be sure to check it out.
Well after all that, here are the instructions:
The materials are readily available from any craft store. My daughter even tells me that you can get the materials in the craft section of Walmart.
For each bracelet:
1 leather strip about 10 inches in length
You can substitute just about anything that will form a bracelet for the leather.
1 Yellow (or gold) bead
1 Black bead
1 Red bead
1 White bead
1 Green bead
At approximately 4 inches from one end of the strip, tie a single not. Now thread each bead in the order shown, that is, gold, black, red, white, and green, onto the strip. Tie a single not in the strip so that the beads will not fall off (at about 4 inches from the opposite end). Tie the bracelet around your wrist and you have finished.
Now for the crux of the bracelet: The gold stands for heaven, the black for sin, the red for the sacrifice of Christ, the white for purity (his and ours when he becomes Lord of our lives), the green to remind us that we need to grow in Christ.
There are bible verses to go along with each color, but I will defer you to the web page mentioned above: http://www.primenet.com/~memorris/Evangelism.html where (by clicking on the link Wordless Book) you will find a more detailed description of each color and the bible verses to go along with them. And here is a picture of a finished bracelet.
* I have found that with God, there are no accidents. I remember a saying that went like this: "Coincidences are when God performs a miracle and chooses remains anonymous".
Here's a craft that's sure to please and very timely considering the closeness of the holidays right now. The craft is easy to make with materials that can be purchased at your local craft store. In fact I purchased enough materials to make approximately 12 crafts for under $12.
If you can't wait to see the finished craft, click here: Nativity Ornament
6 large craft sticks
3 "baby" clothes pins
Although I used a glue gun for the craft shown in the picture, the only time a glue gun is required is in the preparation step.
(Teacher now is a great time to talk about the birth of the Christ child.)
When the glue is dry, put the triangle the teacher made on top of the triangle the student just made and glue it in place. A small bead of glue along the edges should hold the triangles together (which will also strengthen the vertical triangle). When the glue is dry, glue the short clothespin (Mary) to the base of the triangle leave some space and glue the uncut clothespin (this is Joseph) to the base too. Now, using the legs cut from the baby clothes pin, form an X and glue the X in between Mary and Joseph and glue the shortest clothespin (the Baby Jesus) to the top of the X. When the glue dries you will have a nativity ornament that can be hung from the tree. See the picture for an example of a completed ornament.
Note: if you want to make the ornament so that it can be used to stand by itself, glue another craft stick to the bottom of the vertical triangle so that it will be more stable when it stands by itself.
I purchased the materials to make this craft from my local craft store.
Here are the items and the manufacturers:
Forster Jumbo Craft Sticks (75 count) approx cost: $3.69
Forster Baby Clothes Pins (50 count) approx cost: $3.29
Forster Woodsies Too - different shapes approx 20 stars approx cost: $3.89
Thanks to Karen H from Baxter, TN:
The theme of VBS at her church this year was
- Numbers 22:28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"
Karen, wanting to give the children a craft to do that would reinforce the Bible verse, took a cartoon picture of a donkey's head and enlarged it on a photocopier. until it was about 10 inches by 10 inches. She then copied enough of the enlarged pictures so that each child had a picture. Each child was then to color the picture and cut it out. After the pictures were colored and cut out, they were mounted on craft sticks. Each child was then encouraged to hold the picture up to their faces and speak like the donkey did to Balaam. If you download the image below, you can use a paint program or a picture viewer to print it full size on your printer.
The craft was a tremendous success, the colors were (in some cases) pretty wild, and each child got a turn to make their donkey talk. The sense of wonder was reinforced with each child that God could open the mouth of a dumb animal so that it could speak.
Sugar Cube Cross
Thanks to Suzanne D from San Diego, California
These crafts are more activity crafts than theme crafts, but the results arebeautiful and more than appropriate.
Sugar Cube Cross
15 sugar cubes per child
1 strip of green construction paper 6 inches long 3/4 inches high
White Glue , a glue stick, or just a bit of water to make the cubes stick together (water seems to work best for small children)
The green construction paper should be cut such that one long edge is jagged (to look like grass). Each child should glue 9 cubes into a 3x3 square. This will be the base of the cross. Take the remaining cubes and glue 4 into a row. Take the remaining cubes and glue them to each side of the row so that a cross is formed. After the glue on the base is dried, glue the green construction paper to the base so that it surrounds the base. Glue the cross to the middle cube of the base. The cross will last surprisingly long. My daughter brought one home that lasted for almost two years.
Coffee Filter Butterflies
This is a two day craft, to allow drying time between each day.
1 coffee filter per child
2 pipe cleaners per child
Various small dishes of water with different colors of food coloring added to each dish and an eyedropper for each dish.
Take the coffee filter and flatten it out (not too flat though). With eyedroppers drip different colors on each filter (not too wet though!) Let the filters dry overnight. Once each filter is dry, gather the filter in the center and wrap both pipe cleaners around the center. Form the butterfly's antennae with a tip of each pipe cleaner (small children may need help with this) Wrap the end of each pipe cleaner around a pencil to make the antennae curly. You can use the butterfly to talk about the change that occurs when God saves us through Christ. We become a new creation.
Another thanks to Karen H from Baxter TN.
This is a fun craft with a useful result that Mom's and Dad's and Grand Parents will enjoy for years:
1 - 20oz or 32oz Gatorade bottle with a twist on cap (not the pull up cap)
1 - pink pipe cleaner cut in half
4 - 1 inch long by 1/2 inch diameter dowels
2 - triangles about 1 inch tall cut from pink construction paper or fun foam Some potting soil
Some seeds (or small plants)
eyes (you can get these from a craft store or they can be painted on)
-- Preparation --
Turn the bottle on it's side. Using a knife or scissors cut a slot the width of the bottle and about 3 inches long. On the top of the bottle cut two slots the width of your knife (one on each side of the bottle) to insert the ears. Poke a hole in the end of the bottle for the pipe cleaner and four holes in the bottom for the feet. The holes should be smaller than the pipe cleaner and smaller than the dowels. When finished with the prep work your bottle should look like this:
With the bottle cap still on, have the children paint the cap white. Glue the eyes on the bottle (or paint them).
While the paint is drying, cut the two triangles from the construction paper (or foam). A note here: Fun foam is about 1/8 thick but cuts as easily as construction paper. You can get fun foam from your local craft store.
Take the pipe cleaner and wrap it around a pencil and remove the curled pipe cleaner (pull it apart slightly). One the paint is dry, insert the ears in the slots on the top, the pipe cleaner in the end of the bottle and the legs in the holes on the bottom.
Set the bottle on the legs, fill the bottle with potting soil and plant your seeds or small plants. When finished it should look like the second picture above.
This idea comes from an old craft using construction paper cut into strips and formed into a chain, the twist is to make it an activity for Advent. There are 24 days in Advent, hence there are 24 loops in our chain.
Preparation: Pick out some nice colored paper, the kind that will go into copy machines or a computer printer. Preferably christmas colors like green or red. Be careful though the paper canít be too dark because we are going to print some bible verses on the paper so it will have to be light enough to show the printing.
Select 24 bible verses relating to the birth of the Christ Child (if you would like some ideas for the verses, see below).
You will need 24 sheets of WHITE paper, one for each bible verse. Take each sheet and lightly fold it in half lengthwise. Now take a ruler and mark off 8 one inch strips (make the lines very light line since you will want to erasing them before using the copy machine. This will give you 8 one inch strips and Ĺ inch left over. Now on each sheet type a bible verse reference (i.e. Luke 1:30-31) in each of the strips. Itís easier if you use the same bible reference for each sheet.
You can center the bible verse on the page, center it on the left, center it on the right, etc., but type the verse reference in each of the 8 strips. Repeat for the rest of the bible verses. When you are done you should have 24 sheets of paper each one with a different bible reference written 8 times on each sheet. These will become the master copyís. Copy enough of each master so that when you are done you will be able to give each child a total of 24 strips, each one having a different bible verse.
Once the copies are made you will take each colored sheet and cut it into 8 strips. For example if you took the first master and copied it once onto a piece of light green paper and cut it into 8 one inch strips, you would have the first loop in the chain for 8 children.
Once all the copies are made and the strips created, fold each strip in half and lightly glue it together at the end. A little dab of a glue stick will do nicely. Donít use too much glue because the child will be unfolding each strip, once for every day in advent.
Now comes the part for the children. Each child will have a total of 24 strips of brightly colored paper. Take the first strip and form it into a loop. Lightly glue the ends together so that it will stay formed as a loop. Now insert the second strip into the first loop and lightly glue it together so that it stays in a loop, intertwined with the first loop. Insert the third strip into the second loop and glue the ends together so that it stays in a loop. Repeat for the rest of the strips.
What each child should have when they are finished is a chain of 24 loops. For each day in Advent, the child may remove one loop, unfold it and look up the bible verse (Mom and Dad can help for the little ones that canít read). At the end of Advent, the chain will be gone but the child will have looked up 24 bible verses.
This craft can be done all in one sitting or it can be stretched out a bit. For example 2 weeks before Advent, give the child 8 strips and have them form the first 8 loops in the chain. 1 week before Advent, give them 8 more. And on the Sunday starting Advent have them finish the chain.
Suggested Bible Verses (each one dealing with the birth of Jesus or prophecy about his ministry):
- Luke 1:11-17
- Malachi 3:1
- Isaiah 9:6-7
- Luke 1:26-33
- Matthew 1:18-19
- Isaiah 7:14
- Matthew 1:20-25
- Luke 1:39-56
- Luke 2:1-7
- Luke 2:8-14
- Luke 2:15-20
- Luke 2:21-24
- Matthew 2:1-5
- Micah 5:2
- Matthew 2:7-12
- Luke 2:25-35
- Luke 2:36-38
- Hosea 11:1
- Matthew 2:13-15
- Jeremiah 31:15
- Matthew 2:16-18
- Matthew 2:19-23
- Luke 2:39-40
Many thanks to Wayne & Angela "A" for this wonderful craft idea that allows children to understand, in their own way, the wonder of Easter!
EASTER STORY COOKIES
- You need:
- 1 c. whole pecans
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 3 egg whites
- pinch salt
- 1 c. sugar
- zipper baggie
- wooden spoon
- tape & Bible
Preheat oven to 300 F. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.
Add 1 c. sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt.28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!
Many thanks to Nancy "T" for this wonderful craft. I will let her tell you about the craft!This year the theme of our Bible School was "Hooked on Jesus". We made a fisherman from a pop can.
We took a Pepsi Can (ed. note: any pop can will do!) and painted the sides a forest green.
The top of the can was painted a flesh color. (Take the tap off to make the hole look like an open mouth.)
We then pushed the sides of the can in a little and pushed the top of the can down and forward to make it look like the face.
We added a coat made from felt and added a few sprigs of hair from yarn.
We put a sign on his back that said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
We made a fishing pole from thin dowel rod and used fishing line and a fish (with "Hooked on Jesus" printed on it) made from paper.
It was a hit with the kids.
After looking at the picture that Nancy sent me, I can see how it was a tremendous hit. And I would bet that the Mom's and Dad's ended up with a small keepsake that will forever remind them of the love that Jesus has for little children. Thanks so much Nancy, for your willingness to share this wonderful craft! ... OH! here's the picture:
Thanks to Darla "P" who sent this wonderful idea, again I will let her tell how to make it:
Take red white and blue sequins and put on card board any way you like.
Punch a hole at the top and run a red ribbon through it for necklace.
On the back let the children write
3-ADMIT - Confess to God you are a sinner,repent and turn from your sin.
2-BELIEVE- Trust that Jesus is Gods Son and that God sent Him to save us from our sins
1-COMMIT - Give your life to Jesus, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior
What a wonderful idea Darla. Out of the mouths of babes comes the wonder and excitement that each and everyone of us should have for our Lord. What a wonderful way for children to tell others of the love of Christ.
Here is the pattern:
Clothes Pin Angels
Thanks to Suzanne "D" for this Craft
This craft can be done with a hot glue gun or with Elmerís glue. The hot glue gun will set the pieces quicker but if the children
1 Small Baby Clothes Pin (available from most craft supply stores)
2 Medium Tear Drop wooden shapes OR 1 medium heart shaped wood
1 Yellow circle about the size of a penny
1 pipe cleaner 2 Ĺ inches long
1 pipe cleaner 1 inch long
3 small pieces of lace cut into triangular shapes
1. Draw two eyes and a mouth on the top of the clothes pin.
2. Bend the tips of the pipe cleaner into small hands Ö a pair of flat tweezers is good for this
3. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the body of the pin just above the legs (the pins Iím using have a natural spot for this
4. Glue the pipe cleaner to the clothes pin.
5. If you use tear drops, position the tear drops so that they form wings by placing the two points together and glue them. Skip this step if you are using hearts
6. Take the yellow circle and glue it to the back of the clothes pin at the top to form a halo
7. Now glue the clothes pin to the teardrop shapes or the heart so that they form wings.
8. Once the glue has dried, take the lace pieces and glue them to the legs to form a three layer skirt
9. Take the 1 inch pipe cleaner and form a small circle at one end. Glue this to the back to form a hanger.
And here's the finished craft ... about 3 inches in length note though that the arms
are a bit flatter because of the scanner.:
Angel Clothes Pin
Communion Cup Angels
Thanks to Pam A" for this Craft
We made angels out of our communion cups:
Turn the communion cupupside down. Glue a 1 inch styrofoam ball to it (for the head). Make wings out of felt or foam fun. 2 heart shapes will do. Glue them to the back of the communion cup. Make a halo out of a 3" piece of star (gold) garland. To do this, make a 1" circle from the garland, twist together and bend the excess piece down. Glue the excess piece to the back of the communion cup and to the head. We also used gold glitter paint on our wings. This was quick and easy. I used hot glue for the halos.
When finished I used this craft to tell the children of how Mary was vistied by an angel.
Thanks so much Pam! This is a wonderful craft and so easy too. It's sure to please a lot of children and create a neat heirloom for Mom & Dad!
Door Knob Jingle Bells
Thanks to Sue D" for this Craft
Materials for each Door Knob Jingle Bells: 3 strands 1/8 inch red ribbon: one 12 inch
strand, one 10 inch strand and one 8 inch strand
3 medium size jingle bells.
1 pipe cleaner
1 Star or other festive shape about 4 inches tall (a Bell is a good idea too)
Begin by tying a jingle bell to the end of each strand of ribbon. Then tie the other end of each strand to the middle of the pipe cleaner. Glue to star to one end of the pipe cleaner about 3 inches from the end. Thats all there is to it! In order to use the Door Knob Jingle Bells, simply wrap the pipe cleaner around the inside of a door knob, wrap the ends together (to prevent slipping) and everytime the door is opened and closed, the jingle bells will remind everyone that Christmas is almost here!
Thanks to Edna W. for this craft
I have a craft I have used when talking about becoming a contagious Christian. God did for us what we could not do, that is, build a bridge back to himself. What you will need for this craft:
1 white bead
1 black bead
1 small wooden cross
12 inches of craft wire
White stands for God. Black stands for us and our sins. Paint the cross red and put hols on each side to hold the wire. The white bead goes on the left of the cross and the black on the right. Connect the wire to each side of the cross through the holes, but make loops and bends in the wire. The loops and bends in the wire teach that even though we have bad times, we are always connected to God. God built the bridge by coming to earth as on of us and dying on the cross to pay the death penalty we owed. Because He loved us so much that He provided a bridge over which we find His forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him (1 Peter 3:18). Ask each child to explain what the beads are for so that they too could become a contagious Christian.
God Creates Beauty
Thanks to Dianna S. for this craft.
Supplies for each child:
2 White paper plates
paint and/or different color feathers
2 black pipe cleaners cut into 2 inches each
1 large craft stick
2 tiny eyes
To make less time of your work, draw a butterfly design on the paper plate and cut out enough of them so that each child has two shaped butterflies. (I did this the night before). Have each child paint or feather both of their butterfly plates (one side each) leaving the middle clear for the stick. Next put drops of hot glue down the clear strip of one butterfly. Press the other butterfly to the bottom butterfly. Gently fold in the top butterfly's wings slightly. Glue the stick down the middle of the top butterfly. Glue on the eyes and the pipecleaners at one end. Our kids loved them. You can also put magnets on the back for the refrigerator.
Thanks to Christie H from KS
Ask your local decorating store for some old wallpaper books. Then ask the children to bring their bibles. Wrap the covers of the bibles like a gift. Instead of glueing it down, just tape the edges together to protect the bible itself. When they are done, they have new, handmade covers to protect the word of God just as He protects us. You could also use a computer, or have the children write on large address labels, their name or something like "Caley's Bible" or another saying that would be fitting.
Do not cast your pearls before swine
Thanks to Tina P. from MS
Red food coloring
Glue: flour and water and baking powder
First: blow up balloons, then cut egg crates into individual pockets, ( to be used for feet and snount) Second: dip newspaper strips into glue and cover balloons with this. Let this dry over nite then tape on the nose and feet and add more newspaper strips dipped into glue with a little red food coloring to turn it pink. Keep adding strips until all of the pig is covered. Add a strip of yarn for tail and draw on some eyes. Let dry and you have a paper mache pig.
Thanks to Judy V
I have a craft I created for my Sunday School class. They were studying Elijah and Elishah so I designed a toy for them to act out the story of Elijah being carried away in a fiery chariot.
I took a toilet paper roll and cut out a section lengthwise so that the curved section that was left made the body of the chariot. The section I cut out was about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Since the roll was a little long I cut off about 1/3 of the length. I cut out two circles for the wheels from gold bristol board. I used an egg cup for the size. Then I cut a small piece of drinking straw (plastic) to fit in the floor of the chariot between where the wheels would go. I punched holes in the sides of the toilet paper roll in the center and I punched holes in the center of each wheel.. I took a pipe cleaner and poked it through the wheel, the side of the roll, through the drinking straw, through the other side of the roll and through the other wheel. Cut the pipe cleaner and fold up the ends to hold the wheels onto the chariot. I made a figure using a small bead with a face painted on it. You can buy them at a craft store in bags of 5 for $2.00.
Using the rest of the pipe cleaner that I had used to attach the wheels to the chariot , I folded it in half and slipped the head onto the folded end. I twisted the pipe cleaner half way down to make the body and left the rest for the legs. I took another piece of pipe cleaner to make the arms and twisted it once around the body under the head. You can make the arms in proportion to the body. This figure was to represent Elijah in the chariot so I twisted his legs around the drinking straw in the chariot to make him look like he was sitting in the chariot.
I had printed some pictures of horses( running ) from the clip art program in my computer so I glued these pictures to bristol board to make them stiff and cut around each horse so that each child had a picture of a galloping horse to attach to their chariot. I punched a hole in the neck of the horse and ran a pipe cleaner through the hole.
Then I attached that pipe cleaner to Elijah in the chariot by twisting the pipe cleaner arms of Elijah to the pipe cleaner reins of the horse. The chariot can be painted a fiery red or gold with poster paint. To make Elishah I used a clothespin peg. I cut out a circle of fabric using a small bowl for a pattern. I folded the circle in half and cut a small slit in the center of it. I slid the feet of the peg through the slit and pulled it up to the neck of the peg. I used a pipe cleaner around the peg half way down for a belt and made pipe cleaner arms. I cut a square of contrasting material and folded it over the pipe cleaner arm for the cloak that Elijah gave to Elishah.
The children had a lot of fun making this craft even though it was a little bit complicated. The boys seemed to especially enjoy making this toy.
Thanks to Tammy G from Greenwood SC
We made lighthouse windchimes using flowerpots and a washer as the chime. When we painted them we used glow in the dark paint for the windows.
Thanks to Cheryl A.
We made dream catchers out of weeping willow twigs, sinew or sticky string, beads, feathers, conchs, and whatever was on hand. The difference was that we shaped them like a fish. We wired the twig ends together to shape it into the fishers of men symbol and hung it sideways to resemble that. It was an older group craft, because of the weaving of the string. We had fun doing it.
10 Commandment Tablets
Thanks to Julia L.
I cut heavy cardboard into 12"squares and cut them to resemble the commandment tablets that Moses was given.† Then the children were given enough clay, (the old fashioned store-bought kind).† The idea was to spread the clay like icing; only thinner. Then, using a pencil, inscribed a short version of all ten commandments onto their clay tablet. All of the ten year old kids were very impressed with their own and each others work and learned to say the commandments.
Thanks to CT
Small photo album
Colored construction paper or oaktag
White typing paper
Fine lined colored markers
Have each student copy a prayer that coincides with the weekly lesson onto the white paper.† Cut it out with†decorative scissors and glue it to a 3x5 colored background. Slip it into†a photo album. I found that the children in my Sunday School class looked foward to adding a prayer each week and by the end of the school year they had†their very own prayer book. The children were encouraged and became very enthusiastic about adding prayers of their own as well!
Thanks to Teressia M
This project is to be done with older kids,† 10-13† It was over Noah's ark, I ran off a picture of the ark and then I drew the outline on a blank sheet of construction paper. Before I cut each picture into strips, I numbered the strips of paper on the back. I then cut it into strips and placed it in a bag. I gave each child a bag and told them to make it into an ark. They had to glue it onto another sheet of paper. The numbers were so small that they could not see them if they weren't looking for them, and they did not know at first that they were numbered. It was fun to see how the arks turned out. Then we went on with our lesson on how Noah had to follow the instructions that God gave him. We looked up verses on obeying and then I read the instructions on how to make the ark,†if they followed my instructions they had a perfect ark that was glued but if not then their ark was not right. We then went back over how important even the smallest instruction could be if it was not followed to the letter. It made an impression on the kids, they talked about it for a long time and I had parents comment on the lesson.
Do you have craft that you've used in your VBS?
Would you please share it with everyone else? Please send me an email message at: ChristianCrafts@yahoo.com . The craft should be an original design not one that you have purchased or who's copyright is owned by someone else. I'll review it and post it here for all to see and use.