Vacation Bible School, or “VBS.” One week each summer that Directors of Children’s Ministries stress over (I mean, anticipate) from the moment the manager scene costumes are shoved back into a church closet each winter.
I know this because for a few years it was more like Vacation Bible SEASON in our home! During this time I served as the Director of Children’s Ministry at one church, my husband held the same position at a different church, and our son wanted to attend VBS at all of his friend’s churches as well.
I was all for our son attending as many weeks of VBS as he wanted, but those summers our cars and our home were littered with memory verse plastic bracelets that broke, construction paper crafts that ripped, and take home trinkets that he never looked at again.
One summer CJ and I said “enough” and wrote a VBS program called “The Service Connection.” The kids didn’t take home anything that would end up in the garbage and they engaged in a lot of really cool and worthwhile service projects for the community.
In an effort to continue encouraging and creating VBS opportunities that are fun and meaningful for kids, simple to plan and lead for adults, and environmentally responsible for the Earth and all its creatures (i.e. activities that don’t require you to purchase junk, only to have it lost or broken before the week is through) in this post I outline how you can incorporate Story and Stretch into one of your VBS stations, no matter the theme.
1st - Read the assigned Bible stories for each day of your VBS.
2nd - Assign a yoga pose/body movement to each of the main characters, settings, and events in the story. You should be able to connect eight to twelve poses to a story.
3rd - Prepare a question for each yoga pose/body movement you came up with in order to create a retelling of the story.
1st - Read the story (or better yet, TELL the story) to the children.
2nd - Lead the children through recreating the story using the yoga poses. Do this by asking the children the questions (in order of the events in the story) that you previously prepared. As each question is answered demonstrate the corresponding yoga pose and have the kids hold the pose with you for three to five breaths.
Jesus Feeds 5,000
Question: Who is the main character is this story?
Yoga Pose: Warrior I Pose
Question: What body of water did Jesus and His disciples cross?
Answer: The Sea of Galilee
Yoga Pose: Cat/Cow Pose
Question: How did Jesus and His disciples cross the Sea of Galilee?
Answer: In a boat
Yoga Pose: Boat Pose
Question: Where did Jesus and His disciples gather together after getting out of the boat?
Answer: On a mountain
Yoga Pose: Triangle Pose
Question: Who did Andrew notice had food?
Answer: A boy
Yoga Pose: Warrior II Pose
Question: What is one kind of food the boy had?
Yoga Pose: Crocodile Pose
Question: What is the other kind of food the boy had?
Yoga Pose: Fish Pose
Question: Where on the mountain did the crowd of people sit and share a meal together?
Answer: In a meadow of grass
Yoga Pose: Side Angle Pose (shifting right side to left side)
Question: What did Jesus do after giving thanks to God for the bread and fish?
Answer: He passed out bread and fish to the crowd
Yoga Pose: Lord of the Dance Pose
Question: What did the Disciples collect the leftover food in?
Yoga Pose: Bound Angle Pose
Please do not hesitate to connect with me if you have a question about the above outline.
Also, I would love to hear about your experience recreating Biblical stories using yoga. So after the decorations are all put away and thank you cards sent out leave a comment below!
And if you are interested in learning how to implement Story and Stretch: Narrative Yoga for Kids into your Sunday School or Wednesday night programming let me know. I would love to help you use the combination of Biblical stories and yoga to help children explore God’s Word in new ways, laying the foundation for a deep and lasting relationship with God.