Fun Vacation Bible School Theme Ideas: Jungle and Safari
April 18, 2013
Better start warming up those Tarzan yells! With only weeks left before school is out for summer, it will soon be time to summon neighborhood kids to a jungle-theme Vacation Bible School.
Begin promoting VBS early with a giant 48” by 96” jungle safari custom banner strategically placed on church property to attract the attention of everyone who passes by. Whether you are using a prepared curriculum, or creating your own, you will want to give the name of your sessions, such as “Amazon Adventure,” or “Rainforest Rendezvous,” top billing. Include the dates, time, and contact information for registration.
Set up a base camp as a gathering place for the entire group by covering one wall with a jungle trees scene setter roll. If there is a small tent available it would make a great prop. If not, a couple of blankets strung over a rope will give the same effect. Purchase some inexpensive green carpet squares or scatter straw beach mats on the ground for seating.
On the first day give each participant a printed t-shirt or animal print bandana. Encourage kids to wear them every day to show they are important members of the expedition. Have everyone meet each day at base camp for a welcome, opening prayer, announcements, and songs. This would be a good time to start teaching the VBS theme song and introduce the day's memory verse. Reward children who can recite the previous day's Bible verse with wild animal stickers and animal print plush bracelets.
Break up into groups for the day's story and lesson. Make sure each class area sports a bit of jungle decor, including jungle theme instant views, inflatable parrots, and Outback signs.
Exploring the jungle can be hard work, so after the lesson take a snack break. Mix up a big bowl of jungle snack mix with animal crackers, dried fruit bits, frosted oat cereal, mini pretzel twists, graham cracker bites, and candy-coated chocolate candies. Put cheese curls in small plastic bags and label them as tiger tails. For a special treat, serve frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas or banana popsicles. Have supplies of zebra print beverage napkins and cups on hand.
On the first or second day of VBS, take each child's picture in the jungle safari photo prop. Let them dress up for the photos in safari hats, and paper bag safari vests. If kids prefer, have them pose in wild animal masks. Post the photographs on a bulletin board prominently placed in the class space.
Plan to make paper bag safari vests the first day so each child has one to wear in his or her picture. To make the vests, take a brown paper grocery bag and cut a circle in the bottom for a neck, and holes in either side for arms. Then cut straight up the middle to open it up, and decorate. Look for more detailed instructions online.
You don't have to be in the jungle to take a nature walk. If there is a park or woods nearby that would be great, but just a walk around the neighborhood will provide plenty of opportunities for leaders to point out God's handiwork. Equip each young explorer with binoculars and a compass.
Everyone is enchanted with rainsticks and kids are sure to love making them--even though they may have to be put away and used only at music time. A simple rainstick can be made from a paper towel or wrapping paper tube, crunched up aluminum foil, small dried beans or rice, scissors, and glue; decorated with construction paper, markers, crayons , and more safari stickers.
With enough parents and/or volunteer helpers, you could really make jungle safari VBS memorable by having a closing campout. If it is not possible to do an overnight outing, a daytime campout would still be a lot of fun. Have people bring their small tents and sleeping bags. Cook hot dogs and s'mores over a campfire or grill. Add to the feast with chips, watermelon, and lemonade. Serve it all up on animal print plates and napkins. Allow time in the festivities for kids to show off what they have learned during VBS.
Kids will have so much fun they will be anxious to come back on Sunday mornings, and a great VBS experience, warm welcome, and fun event will go a long way in encouraging their parents to join them.