It takes a village

This week was Vacation Bible School at our church.  This ain’t your Grandma’s VBS.  For the past several years our church as been doing an “ancient bible times” theme.  This year was Hometown Nazareth.  Our fellowship hall was transformed into the village of Nazareth.  Children were encouraged to dress in “bible times” costume (church provided) and experience what Nazareth was like when Jesus was a boy.  They are divided up into “tribes” and spend the time w/ their tribe and tribe leaders learning about Nazareth and the miracles that Mary experienced from the time Gabriel told her she was going to have a baby up to Jesus’ first recorded miracle at the wedding in Cana.

Dear Husband and I have helped out the past 4 years and plan on continuing to do so.  This is such a fun thing to do with the kids in our church and nearby community.  It’s a far cry from the VBS I remember.  No crafts made out of popsicle sticks here.  After singing time and individual “tribe” time the kids explored the “marketplace”.

Each tent was a different craft but not just your every day, run of the mill crafts.  Oh no.  I think these kids might have actually learned something while having a good time.  (Gasp)

For snack the kids could spend their pretend coins at the Food Market.  No sandwich cookies and punch here.  Fresh and dried fruit, olives, bread, cheese and nuts!

These brave souls helped the kids tie-dye their VBS t-shirts.

We had a barn yard set up for the last two nights.  The donkeys didn’t like walking on the linoleum floor so they were dragged, pushed and coaxed into the room.  Once there one of them took a nice little poop and it was soon after that our leader decided an indoor barn yard wasn’t such a good idea after all.  Outside they went where they mowed the lawn.

BFF trying to gently coax this poor thing into the room.

Back outside where barn yard animals belong.  Harry got to enjoy the miniature pony and rabbits.

During the Market Place time the tribes would go and visit with Mary (the mother of Jesus).  Guess who got to play Mary?  Yup, yours truly.  I told them stories about Jesus as a baby and little boy.  The message was that although Jesus is the Son of God he was also a little kid just like them.  It was tons of fun.  I think some of the littlest ones really thought I was Jesus’ mommy.  They may never look at me the same way again and grow up thinking Addison and Harry have a third brother out there preachin’ the word.  I guess you could say that they do…have another “spiritual” brother.

Singing and dancing time to open and close our evening together.

See ya’ next year, VBS.

23 Responses

  1. Gale

    Wow! Amazing set design!

    I am working on a webpage with tips on how to create great Holy Land Marketplaces (since a lot of the marketplace features are similar year to year). I would love to learn more how the tents in your marketplace were made (if you know). I recognize some as the same type of tents we used, but others look like they had some sort of hand-build framework, and then the cloth was attached to the wall somehow (even knowing how to attach that to the wall would be awesome, as we thought about trying to do tents like this before but weren’t sure how). Also, may I use some of these pictures on the webpage I’m working on? I would be happy to credit you, link back to this post, and also credit your church and link to your church’s website if you would like.

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      Thanks! The frame for most of the shops is a pop up tent like you would use for a tailgate party or you might see at a farmer’s market. Then fabric is draped on top and around it to create a tent feel. I think the poles are secured in cinder blocks to make sure they don’t go anywhere then the cinder blocks are wrapped in burlap or some sort of rough fabric. The tents that are pinned to the wall…I’ll ask about the frame for those. I’m not sure if they are a pop up tent or something homemade. As for pinning the fabric to the wall…that portion of the wall in our fellowship hall has a permanent soft material that is perfect for securing things to it with pins or a staple gun. The pins/staples won’t leave a mark on the wall. I’ll find out more about how the tents are pinned up. “Mary’s House” facade was made out of 2 inch foam board then painted to look like stone. The company we buy the VBS curriculum from has great instructions on how to make facades out of this material. Behind the facade as another pop up tent and fabric.
      Our Dir. of Children Education does most of the planning and heavy labor. I’ll find out more from him and get back to you.
      I would love for you to share my pics and experience on your site and thank you for referencing back.

  2. Gale

    Hi! Sorry I’m just now seeing your reply. I must have forgotten to check back last year, but stumbled on it again and noticed your reply. We’re doing Galilee this year and I’m researching things again. I never finished the marketplace site but I’m going to take another shot at it this year. Thanks so much for letting me use the pictures.


    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      Hi Gale – I just read your original comment. I asked about the fabric that was attached to the walls. They stapled it to the wall but that part of the wall has a soft, sound proofing material on it. Underneath the material is another metal frame pop up tent like the rest of them.

      We are doing Babylon this year! I don’t know what the marketplace will look like but I’m sure it will be amazing.

      Good luck!

      • Freida Lewis

        Please, please post your ideas! Our small church is trying a “biblical theme” VBS for the first time, and we need all the advice we can get. We are doing Babylon July 15th-20th. Looking forward to help!!!

      • Gale

        Thanks so much! I still haven’t finished that web-page, but I posted the link to this post on the forum where someone was asking about tents. 🙂 We didn’t do Babylon this year…we decided to do an older one (Galilee). We’re doing it now and I really love it! It uses a lot of dramas in the marketplace which is fun for me because that’s where I always work. We might do Babylon some time in the future though. Hope you’ll post about how it went!

        (PS: I did finish another web-page on making rock walls though you might find useful for Babylon: )

        • Becky W

          Nothing like continuing a VBS conversation from 10 YEARS AGO! lol Do you happen to still have the Galilee VBS kit? and/or Do you know if the more recent “Hometown Nazareth” is a remake of that Galilee theme? We did Galilee by the Sea many years back and it has remained a true favorite of mine. But unfortunately, the starter kit was borrowed and had to be returned back then. Always wished they would re-release that one.

          • rebecca

            I’m here hoping the conversation from 10 years ago comes back to! We are a small church doing “Hometown Nazareth” looking for all the ideas and information on decorating.

  3. Tracey

    Very impressive!!Love the photos of the market place. Have you started the Babylon plans?? We’ve been doing the Holy Land Adventures since Jerusalem and will have VBS June 25-29. When will yours be? I’m interested in sharing ideas.

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      Ours will be the week after 4th of July. We haven’t started planning yet but I think there is a meeting coming up soon. I’ll keep you posted on what we are going to do. I would love to hear your ideas!

  4. Carol Brown

    Gale, our church is doing Babylon this year. I would love to get some ideas from you as to the crafts/marketplace ideas your church is doing. This is my first year and we really want to engage the children and make an impact. I would greatly appreciate any assistance. Thanks and God bless, Carol

  5. Shayla

    HI! We are putting together a Christmas Nativity Community Celebration and I am in charge of a children’s room that depicts things about the Savior. I really like the marketplace idea and the idea with the tent frames is genius!!! I was wondering where you got so much fabric. I keep thinking about sheets, but I don’t think they would be big enough. Any ideas?
    Thanks so much!

  6. Rachel

    What a BUEAUTIFUL marketplace! We are doing Joseph’s Journey this year, and your photos are my inspiration and starting place. THANK YOU!

  7. Connie

    Wow! Very cool! Must have been very engaging for the kids. Thanks for posting and sharing some very inspiring ideas!


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