VBS at Home
Since we cannot have VBS as we normally would at OLL this year, we have created a simpler, at-home version. Take some time each day for a week with your family and go through the following bible stories, crafts, and teaching activities.
Theme: Miracles Change the World
Bible Story: Feeding the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21)
In this story, Jesus is preaching to a large crowd of thousands of people. As time goes on, they all start to get hungry, so Jesus’ disciples say that Jesus should let them all go into the local town and buy some food. Instead, Jesus tells the disciples that they should feed the whole crowd. The disciples are confused because they only have five loaves of bread and two fish, and that is not nearly enough to feed thousands of people. Jesus tells them to trust him, so they do.
Jesus said a blessing and then has the disciples let everyone eat as much food as they want. Once everyone is full, they go around and collect the leftovers, and it ends up filling up 12 baskets. Somehow Jesus had made it so that 5000 people could eat as much food as they want, and there was even a bunch of leftovers!! It was a true miracle.
From this miracle, we can learn that God can do amazing things that we may not think possible. It seemed like they didn’t have enough food to feed the crowd, but Jesus made it possible. Each day this week, we are going to learn about a miracle Jesus did and how it changed the world!
For today’s craft, we will be making our own basket to hole the five loaves of bread and two fish from the story.
- PDF printout
- Coloring Utensils (markers, crayons, etc.)
- Regular paper
As we heard in the story earlier, sometimes something that seems impossible can actually happen. Today, we are going to do our own version of pulling off the impossible. We are going to take a regular piece of paper, and we are going to cut it in a special way so that we can walk through it like a tunnel! After we cut it, it will be able to open up and fit around our entire body!
To do this trick, follow the steps in the link. Be careful as you open up the paper! It can tear easily once it is cut.
Remember, while this is just a cool trick of science, what Jesus did was a real miracle!
Bible Story: Walking on Water (Matthew 14:22-33)
In today’s story, Jesus’ disciples go out on a boat while Jesus goes to pray. Eventually, the wind picks up, and big waves start to toss the boat around. Jesus decides to go join the disciples, but they are already a few miles from shore. To get to them, Jesus walks on top of the water.
Once he gets to the boat, Peter wants to join him. Jesus tells him to come and join him, and Peter starts to walk on the water too. After he takes a few steps, however, he feels the wind and sees how big the waves are and he gets scared. This makes him start to doubt Jesus, and he begins to sink. Jesus grabs his hand, saves him, and they both get into the boat. Jesus then calms the wind and big waves stop.
In this miracle, we get to see how much God can help us if we believe in him. On their own, people can’t walk on water, but with God they can. God, and Jesus, help us do things we cannot do on our own.
- Blue Jell-O
- Jesus, Peter, and boat printouts (found in link)
For this craft, we will be making a simple display of Jesus and Peter walking on water. Start by making blue Jell-O. This will be our water. Next, take a toothpick and attach it to the printouts of Jesus, Peter, and the boat. Stick the toothpicks in the Jell-O, and voila. If you would like, you can add some goldfish to the Jell-O to have some fish in the water.
- Bowl of water
- Dish detergent
Before doing the activity, I recommend parents watch the video demonstration found in the link above.
For the object lesson, we will be making paperclips walk on water! If you take your bowl and drop some paperclips in it, you’ll notice that the paperclips sink. What they need is a little help, like Peter with Jesus. If you bend one paperclip open like a chair (see video in the link), you’ll be able to set another paperclip on it and ease it into the water. It should float.
If you remember from the story, Peter was able to walk on water until he started to doubt. Once he doubted, he began to sink. In this case, the dish detergent is going to represent doubt. If we drop some of it in the water around the paperclip, it will sink. This all goes to show that we can only do the seemingly impossible with God’s help, and we don’t want to let doubt creep in.
Bible Story: Healing the Paralytic (Mark 2:1-12)
To start today’s story, Jesus goes home. Now that he has started to make a name for himself, people hear that he is home and want to go see him. The crowd becomes so big that people can’t even get inside the door at his house.
In the town, there was also a man who was paralyzed. Hearing that Jesus was there, his friends thought that Jesus might be able to heal the man. The four friends carry the man on a mat all the way to the house where Jesus was. Even though they couldn’t get in the door, they didn’t give up. The friends carried the paralyzed man up onto the roof, made a hole in the roof, and lowered the man into the house.
Once the man was in the house, Jesus saw him and was impressed by the level of faith and dedication the friends had shown to get him there and believe Jesus could heal him. As a result, Jesus healed him and the man was able to stand up, grab his mat and walk out of the house.
While this miracle shows the healing power of Jesus, it also shows the power of community within the church. Even when things may seem hard or impossible, we can always rely on the community around us and our friends to help us keep our faith.
- Paralyzed Man Template (PDF in link)
- Coloring utinicils
- Large popsicle sticks
- Brass brad
In today’s craft, we will make the paralyzed man and his mat. The cool thing about this craft is that the brass brad will allow the cutout of the man to spin on the mat. In one position, you can have the man laying on the mat, but then you can spin him so that it looks like he got up and is now carrying the mat! All the instructions you need can be found in the link above.
Since the miracle helps us see the power of having good friends, we will do an activity about making good friends. The activity focuses around using static electricity to attract bits of pepper to a balloon, and that is used to represent how we need to be able to attract and stick to good friends. Sometimes it isn’t always easy, but it works out in the end. The link above has all the instructions and some good things to say to your child during the activity to really bring the lesson home.
Bible Story: Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44)
In today’s story, Jesus finds out that his friend Lazarus is not well. As a result, Jesus goes to visit where he lives. By the time Jesus gets there, however, Lazarus has been dead for four days!
When Jesus arrives, Martha and Mary come out to greet him. They complain that had Jesus been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Jesus responds to this by telling them that Lazarus will rise. Of course, they are confused because Lazarus is dead, but Jesus has them take him to the tomb.
Once they get to the tomb, Jesus asks them to open it. Since it had been four days, people were afraid of how bad it would smell if they opened the tomb, but they did what Jesus asked. Once they opened the tomb, out walked Lazarus. Jesus had raised him from the dead!
This miracle teaches us that Jesus never abandons us! It seemed like all was lost for Lazarus because Jesus was not there. Instead, Jesus still saves the day and performs and even bigger miracle. God and Jesus will always have our backs, even if it seems like they aren’t there at the moment.
- PDF printout
- Coloring utensils (optional)
For today’s craft, we will be creating a little display of Lazarus leaving the tomb. Once you cut out the tomb, cut a little slit in the bottom of the tomb for the rock tab. Glue Lazarus in the Tomb, and you can put the rock tab in and out of the slit to make it look like the tomb is opening to reveal Lazarus alive.
I recommend that parents test this activity out to see which surfaces it works on as it can be a little tricky to find the right surface. If you cannot find one, you can always just show your children the video.
- Whiteboard marker
- Shiny surface (whiteboard, laminated paper, etc.)
For the object lesson, we will be bringing our own things to life like Jesus did with Lazarus. You’ll start by drawing something with the marker on the surface. After you finish drawing, pour some water onto the drawing. It should come off the surface and become part of the water. From there, you can blow on the water to move the drawing around like it is alive! There is a video in the link above that shows examples of it working.
Bible Story: His own resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10)
Three days after the death of Jesus, Mary Magdelene and Mary both go to check on the tomb. When they got there, they did not expect to find what they did. An earthquake happens and an angel appears. The angel rolls the stone back from the tomb and reveals that it is empty. The guards in front of the tomb are so startled that they faint.
The angel then tells the two women that Jesus has resurrected and is not here. It is his greatest miracle! This one is extra important because it saved us from evil and changed the world forever! Miracles change the world.
- Cooking oil
For this craft, you will be making a salt dough resurrection scene. While this craft may be a little messier and time-consuming than some of the others, it should be plenty of fun to make up for it. All the instructions you need are in the link above!
For our grand finale, we will have two different activities, so families are welcome to choose the one (or both) that they prefer!
- Tea light candle
- Glass cup
For the first activity, we will see how Jesus dying lifted us all up to heaven! You’ll start by pouring water onto a plate so that the plate is close to overflowing. Then light the tea light and float it in the center of the plate. Finally, take the glass cup and place it over the tea light. As the light starts to go out, the water around the rest of the plate will be sucked into the cup, and the candle will rise. See the video for an example.
Since candles are used to symbolize the Light of Christ, it makes sense that the candle represents Jesus in this activity. As the candle goes out (his death), the rest of the world is brought back to God (into the cup) and lifted up to Heaven (the water rises).
- Three mats or pillows that your children can stand on
This second link gives a great activity for teaching children how Jesus’ death and resurrection brought us back into communion with God. Under the subtitle “Sin and Salvation,” you’ll find instructions. In short, you place two of the mats/pillows close enough together that your kids can jump between them. This symbolizes the connection between God and people. As sin enters the world, the pillows/mats get spread further apart and we lost the connection, or the ability to jump between them. Through his life, Jesus builds a bridge between the two. Show this by placing a third mat/pillow between the two so that you can now have the connection again.