26 May Summer 2017 – Gadgets & Gizmos! Part 2: Curriculum-VBS Mashup!
Life App: Creativity—imagining what you could do because you’re made in God’s image.
Theme: Gadgets & Gizmos
Date: Summer 2017
Evaluation Brings Change
In Post 1 of this series, I talked about all of the changes we’ve implemented to our summer programming this year. The changes came out of evaluating our current system and seeing some gaps that were making things unnecessarily difficult and somewhat confusing. We decided to revamp everything this year. While we are keeping some key aspects of our summer programming the same, we are changing a lot too! We’re starting earlier, extending our series, and training our Summer Team volunteers differently. Read more about all of that here.
Gathering the Thoughts of Others
One of the biggest aspects of change came with our actual curriculum and programming schedule. Since we are starting our summer series in June this year (we usually push the June/July curriculum to July/August) we were able to sync with our curriculum writers who create a summer series for June and July. That gives us 9 weeks of curriculum to work with for those 2 months.
While we have a curriculum for the month of August offered to us as well, implementing it would mean changing gears in the middle of our summer (summer here in the Northeast goes through Labor Day). I knew I did not want to have to change the environment theme/decor going into the month of August and felt it could be a bit random to have a summer series that only lasted half of our summer, so I began thinking about how I could solve this problem.
I called a meeting with several of my key volunteers and we brainstormed options. We considered a lot of things, but where we landed was to have 9 weeks of curriculum spread out over the 13 week period from June-August. That would give us 4 extra days where we would have to figure out what to do. We decided to use those 4 days as “Specialty Days.” We talked through making those days bigger opportunities for kids to bring friends (while we encourage them to bring friends every week, we would be more intentional about promoting the idea of bringing a friend on Specialty Days). These Specialty Days would include team competitions, large-scale games, etc. We originally brainstormed themes for each day and while we are not going to utilize these ideas this year, some of our initial thoughts for our Specialty Days included:
- Olympic Day
- Summer Camp Day
- Nerf War/Fort Building Day
- Chrismas in July
Gadget & Gizmo Days!
In talking with my supervisor about my new plan, he suggested that I somehow keep the theme for the summer going for these specialty days and after thinking it through a bit … Gadget & Gizmo Day was born! Our 4 specialty days this summer will be branded as “Gadget & Gizmo Day.” They will be team-building days where small groups work together to create some sort of Gadget or Gizmo that will be used in a team competition later in the morning. We will still have some teaching time and a shorter version of large group, but most of the day will be spent creating together and having fun.
Our Summer Schedule
We decided we would implement our “Gadget & Gizmo Days” every three weeks to carry over the entire summer. Here is how we’ve structured our summer schedule:
8/20 -Gadget & Gizmo Day #4
VBS Meets Sunday Morning
While we are all about having fun in C3 Kids, we knew we did not want to skimp on content. We wanted to make sure kids were still in the Bible on our “Gadget & Gizmo Days” and getting the opportunity to worship. So, while the focus of these days will be on team building and the creation of something together, we will still have a large group experience. It will be modified to be a bit shorter, but will still encompass the Gadgets & Gizmos theme as well as the Life App for that part of the series, the Bible story, bottom line, and worship.
Where are we getting the content for these Gadget & Gizmo specialty days you ask?
From the 252 Kids VBS curriculum! We purchased the kit and will be using several elements of Days 1-4 for the content of our Gadget and Gizmo days. We love the drama animations with inventors Gadget & Gizmo in their Imagination Station Lab! We’ll use those for sure as well as the story video for our teaching content. We’ll worship as usual and have one of the small group activities available to leaders as an extra activity if they need it. We’ve created our own Gadget & Gizmo inventions for teams to create and compete with (thank you Pinterest!). And we’ll do some sort of team building activity to create some bonding for each small group prior to the competition – i.e. creation of a team flag, pre-wrap tape for matching headbands, wristbands, etc.
Are you using VBS this year? How are you implementing it at your church?