TLO Guide for Surviving Vacation Bible School

I always feel nostalgic during the summer time. Between the delirium-inducing heat and countless advertisements for Vacation Bible Schools scattered across Edmond, lately I’ve found myself reminiscing about my own childhood adventures at VBS. Now that metro families are starting to sign their kids up for some biblical summer fun, I thought I’d use my 10+ years of experience for good.

So here’s the official TLO guide for surviving Vacation Bible School!

Get Ready for Hella Puns

VBS camp names have absolutely zero chill when it comes to themes that are equal parts obscure and lame with corresponding puns. One year, our church hosted a VBS camp called something like, “Promise Builders: Constructing Your Life Around God,” in which they issued all 4 to 12-year-olds construction hats and made us glue glitter on bricks and write promises to God on the side. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I’m sure it’s been broken by now. Don’t tell God.

Trust Your Child’s Spiritual Wellbeing in the Hands of God

How else will your children grow up to be moral, ethical adults unless you send them to a day camp every summer in which they learn songs and make crafts that help them understand God’s benevolent love and the fiery pit of doom filled with the wailing and gnashing of teeth that awaits them if they reject said love?

Trust Your Child’s Physical Wellbeing in the Hands of a Couple of 12-year-olds

The summer you age out of VBS is the summer you are voluntold you’re the new group leader of the kindergarteners.

Get Excited for Skits, Kids!

Kids will not only get to hear Bible stories, but they’ll get to act them out as well! Speaking of God’s benevolent love, one year my VBS class got to pretend to be God unleashing the plagues upon the pharaoh of Egypt and spent like 20 minutes throwing plastic frogs at a 15-year-old boy with eyeliner. I am still not 100% sure what the lesson was that they were trying to teach us.

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See a Guest Appearance by the Preacher

You’ll probably see him on picture day. Otherwise, unless the microwave in the multipurpose room catches on fire again, don’t expect the head preacher/pastor/priest helping out at VBS.

Things Are Going to Get Crafty

If a child doesn’t come away with at least one “Footprints in the Sand” inspired craft and a sockfull of seashells, did they even go to VBS?

Eat Some Creative Snacks!

My favorite part about VBS was the creativity that went into snack time! I have fond memories of creating Roman torture devices with pretzels and peanut butter and drinking red Koolaid while hearing the story of the last supper.

Get Krunk

Move over, secular, heathenistic Kidz Bop. The VBS kids are about to get Krunk to the sound of some Jesus-inspired, key of G rap songs recorded by a gaggle of 10-year-olds. They will also learn corresponding hand signs so dope that their school’s resource officer would think they’re in a gang.

Your Kid’s Gonna Get Soaked

No, kids usually aren’t baptized at VBS. But for some reason at least one day out of the camp week, parents are going to roll up to the church parking lot to pick up a soaking-wet kid.

Come Away with a T-Shirt

It’s got a pun on the front. It’s got Mark 19:14 printed on the back. It’s also probably tie-dye. But most importantly, it’s street cred for kids.

Hayley’s a promise builder. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek and become a contributing member of TLO here.

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10 Responses


  1. Red Rover, Red Rover. Can Peggy come over.


  2. I never knew that Jesus looked so much like Nicholas Cage.

    But He works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? Some VBS kids (and their parents) are being disappointed:

    “Popular summer camp destination, New Life Ranch Flint Valley, located in Delaware County, has canceled their first two weeks of camp following a COVID-19 outbreak. The cancellation comes after more than two dozen staff members tested positive for COVID-19.”

    Vaccinations? Nah – God will keep them safe.

    Reminds me of an old shaggy dog story. Brief version: after a homeowner is swept away from the roof of his house by an epic flood, he asks St. Peter why God didn’t hear his prayers for protection. St. Peter says: “You idiot! God sent an evacuation bus past your house, then an ATV, then a boat, and even a helicopter! Why didn’t you leave?”


    1. Saw a t-shirt on the order of, “If God’s going to protect you from COVID-19, why do you need a gun?


    2. ::::I never knew that Jesus looked so much like Nicholas Cage.:::

      My brother, he probably looked more like Osama Bin Laden or Yasser Arafat, which won’t win him any support from his followers when he makes his big Jesus Comeback Tour, uh, whenever it happens.

      He also wouldn’t make the rich, soon-to-be rich, pre-rich, and those dreaming of being rich happy when he rounds up Bezos, Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and all those other trillionaires and publicly shames them in front of the world for not using their obscene wealth to benefit humanity, but instead use it to build gold-plated yachts or shoot themselves into space.

      I can’t see Jeebus overlooking the fact that his flock is more interested in getting rich than in helping those in need. Which means, if he ever existed in the first place, and if he ever does his Comeback Tour, he probably won’t last five minutes before the right-wing conservatives gather their pitchforks and torches and come after him.


  3. I always had fun in Vacation Bible School. Just the joy and fun for the fun of it. Nothing judgmental. Nothing preachy. No guilt. Just fun, love and singing kind songs.

    I’m guessing it’s not like that anymore? I’m not sure that it could be for most kids and box store churches but I might be wrong. I have no first hand knowledge about it.

    Maybe it’s only the adults that take the joy of religion?


    1. I think you meant “take the joy OUT of religion.”

      The joyfulness undoubtedly depends on the individual church, and on the denomination to which it belongs. Some churches and religions are joyful. Others are judgemental and preach hellfire and brimstone. I suppose the joyfulness of the VBS depends on who sponsors it.


      1. yes I did, thanks


  4. Mark 19:14, huh? Somebody added 3 chapters to the Bible?


    1. Probably meant Matthew. You know, that suffering little children verse.
      God bless you.


  5. Brings back memories of sitting in a non air conditioned little rural church listening to “Uncle Paul” play a harmonica that looked like a banana.

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