Fun Vacation Bible School Themes and Activities for Kids & Adults

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a fun time for children to get together and understand the Bible, praise the Lord, and bond together.

One of the biggest challenges is choosing a VBS theme. It must be a theme that will appeal to a large range of people, is something new, excites the members, and allows them to understand the teachings of the retreat well.

This article will present a variety of vacation bible themes that could help you choose the perfect theme for your retreat. There are retreat theme ideas, activities, and games for a range of age groups. Look below to find the perfect remedy to your retreat.

Vacation Bible School Theme Ideas (VBS Themes)

To choose a vacation Bible theme, there are many options available. You can choose to build your lessons around a theme around the Old Testament, New Testament, Bible characters, Christian character traits, or a movie. This section has a list of suggested themes and activities of categories. 

Old Testament Vacation Bible School Themes

Vacation Bible School Creation Theme: God created the world

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

This theme is suitable for people of all age groups. Put the seven days of creation in front of the group. Use songs and activities to celebrate the creation of God and present material on Christian evidence for the week of creation to adults.

Be strong and courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Inspiring strength and courage in your group through the word of God is essential. This theme is excellent to build confidence in God and inspire all ages to go through life and navigate through the challenges all people face.

Kings and commoners

Introduce kings and commoners that are included in the Old Testament who have led inspirational lives. Discuss their stories to give your group an example of how to navigate through life and its challenges.

Living to please God

Discuss stories and lessons about the Israelites, the purpose of their nation of bringing a Saviour for the World, and God’s response to the disobedience of the nation of Israel as mentioned in Joshua 7:1.

The Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan … of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel

Joshua 7:1.

New testament Vacation Bible School Themes

Jesus has risen

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Matthew 28:6 NIV,

This lesson doesn’t hold true only during Easter. It is also a perfect theme for retreat them. It allows for a reminder to all age groups of the promise of eternal life.

United in Christ

So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Jesus

Galatians 3:26-3:28

Our society has many divisions and categories that people are grouped into. The divide leads to discrimination that can rear an ugly head. This verse offers the hope of peace and justice for those who keep their trust in Christ.

Becoming a living sacrifice

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

This verse and VBS theme is a beautiful way to emphasize the importance of service. Putting other people first and service the church, community, and family.

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Characters from Bible – Vacation Bible School Themes

Jonah

Studying the Book of Jonah will help adults. Lay an emphasis on the repercussions of when people do not obey God’s commands. Jonah being swallowed by the big fish has a big lesson for the adults and is fascinating for the kids.

David

Understand David’s journey. Discuss the shepherd boy who became a king, his sins, the consequences, and the ability of God to forgive.

Paul

Tracing Paul’s journey will help impart a lot of lessons. His missionary journey, his conversion on the path to Damascus, his persecution, and his determination to preach the gospel.

Jesus

The story of Jesus is truly one that imparts many lessons. His life, miracles, parables, birth, death, and resurrection hold lessons and would make a fabulous choice for the retreat.

Women of the bible VBS themes

These VBS themes are based on the illustrious women in the Bible that lead exemplary lives – the New Testament character of Lydia is one such example. These women and their stories will also make wonderful themes for the retreat.

Esther

Teenage girls and young adults can learn a lot of lessons from Esther’s life. She prepares to be a princess. The preparation required servicing God and living a good Christian life. Her obedience and service are sure to inspire teens.

Ruth

Loyalty is the most prominent lesson that people can learn from Ruth’s story. Her faithfulness to Naomi and God provides a wonderful example for your lessons.

The worthy woman of Proverbs in VBS

This topic is suitable to inspire the women who are in the retreat.

Lydia

Wealth did not tear Lydia from her duty. Though she was living comfortably, she sold purple cloth and had a New Testament church meeting in her home. Her stories can show an example of how service to God must be maintained in good times as well.

Catholic Christian Character Traits Vacation Bible School Themes

The Fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. Forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-5:23

Use this verse to show an example of good Christian personality traits that the group can strive to achieve.

The whole armour of God

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And you feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-6:18

Characteristics and traits that one must imbibe are outlined in this verse.

Love one another

A new command I give you : Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-13:35

This verse shows group members to love all people wholeheartedly.

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Popular Vacation Bible School Themes

Star Wars VBS Themes

This franchise is a fight between right and wrong, the Good and the Evil. Discuss the daily battle against sin and evil. Use Ephesians 6:11 about the whole armor of God to outline your discussion.

Superheroes VBS themes

Trust in God can give one immense strength. Emphasize this using Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Discuss how faith in God has strengthened members of the group.

Emojis

With digital media, emojis are a newer way of expressing oneself. Use them during the retreat to enable group members to express themselves. Further, ask members to use emojis to express Christian character traits, the fruits of the Spirit, days of creation, and other important stories and lessons.

Science

Kids are curious by nature. The science they learn in school further enables their curiosity. Use this theme to promote their curiosity and guide it in the right direction. Get them to invent and try out experiments.

Vacation Bible School Study Activities

Kids love the vacation bible school. The activities and games are the cherries on top of the experience. Choose activities that go along with you theme. Being easy to understand and facilitating a good understanding of the lesson are important prerequisites to choosing an activity for the retreat. The selection of activities below will work for all ages, even young children. Learn and grow through faith with the given activities.

Vacation Bible School games

Trinity tag

This Biblical take on the classic game tag is sure to engage the group. One person is chosen to be ‘It’ as is in the regular game of tag. The rest of the players are grouped into three group – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (the trinity).

Players of each team must hold hands to remain safe. Blow the whistle. When players hear the whistle, the group must separate and escape from ‘It’ till the whistle is blown again. When the second whistle is heard, the groups can come together again. If someone is tagged in the time between the two whistles, they are the new ‘It’.

Bible buckets

Younger kids will enjoy this game the most. Arrange five buckets in a straight line. Each bucket is named after the five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Players take a turn throwing balls into the buckets.

As they throw, they must call out the name of the bucket’s corresponding Bible book name. If they make the bucket they called out, they win a small reward and get another turn. Keep the bucket at a challenging distance from the players.

If the player misses the bucket or succeeds in throwing a ball into all five buckets, their turn is over. This game is a fun way to get more familiar with the names of the five books.

All together in Christ

This game is sure to engage all age groups. Two players sit back to back with their arms interlocked. They must try to stand up together and then sit back down. Add two more players to the pair. All four must stand and sit together. Keep adding pairs to the group. The activity helps players understand how to communicate better. It works best with the theme ‘United in Christ‘.

Active encouragement game

Before starting the activity, read out Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Inform the team that they must encourage and support each other with words, yells, and cheers as they embark on this game.

You will need to arrange for a Bible, paper plates, masking tape, cotton balls, and petroleum jelly for this relay race. Divide the players into groups of five to eight members. On one end of a table, keep a paper plate filled with cotton balls. On the other end, place an empty paper plate. Make this arrangement for each team. On each players’ nose, dab a little bit of petroleum jelly. Players must try to move the cotton balls from one end of the table to the other.

They are not allowed to use their hands. They must pick up and drop the balls with their nose. The group that transfers all the cotton balls first wins the game.

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Fruit of the Spirit musical chairs

Chairs must be arranged in a circle. Kids sit on the chairs in the circle. Each kid is assigned a fruit – apple, orange, pear, or banana. Yell one of the fruits. When children hear their fruit being called out, they must jump up and try to find a new chair to sit on.

For example, if you yell ‘Orange!’ All the kids who were assigned orange must find a new seat. Remove one chair after each round. The last person remaining with a seat wins the game. You could substitute fruits with other items.

It could help familiarize kids with the Bible books – the Pentateuch, the Gospels, etc; animals on the ark; the seven days of creation; etc.

Vacation bible school memory verse activities

Love one another memory verse activity

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 4:11

Before the game starts, cut out hearts and cut out a place in the heart for a picture. Give each player two of the hearts. Older children and teenagers can write down the verse themselves. Print out the verse for the younger children.

The players must put the verse inside the heart frame. Get them to decorate the frame. On each side of the heart, place two construction paper figures.

Armour of God memory verse activity

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicker. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-6:17

Cut cardboard into shapes representing the pieces of the armour of God. Get the players to colour along the pre-drawn lines. Ask them to draw out words like salvation, peace, etc. Younger children can trace the words. You could also provide a worksheet for the players to colour that is showing the armour.

Jigsaw puzzle memory verse activity

Use a light weight cardboard. Write any memory verse on it. Use a colourful background or a solid background to bring out the verse. Cut them out to form jigsaw puzzle pieces. Players can work together in groups to solve the puzzles. Make it a fun competition.

The group that completes the puzzle first and can memorize the verse, wins the competition. Older kids can cut the pieces themselves. Get players to exchange their puzzles to solve them.

Vacation Bible school serves as a medium to educate children about their faith and their God. Having a theme helps propagate the lessons in a more efficient manner. VBS helps churches share the love of Christ with the children. It also allows for the growth of the congregation numerically and spiritually.

Benefits of Vacation Bible school

Some of the benefits of Vacation Bible School:

  • Children learn religious tenets through fun and age-appropriate activities.
  • The life lessons that children learn through vacation Bible school can help them to become better people and develop positive Christian character traits.
  • A camp experience without staying overnight is provided through the retreat.
  • New friends and connections can be made during the course of the retreat.
  • Adults can also benefit through the retreat. They can grow in their knowledge of God and His plan for His people.
  • Adults also get to serve others and share their experiences of God and Jesus.

Earlier, vacation Bible schools used to run for a full week. In more recent times, congregations serve their communities with fewer days and evening sessions. Staff and volunteers associated with the Church use the opportunity to teach and provide games and activities. The theme choices that have been put forth in this article will surely help your congregation. You can use these themes and activities for all ages from young children to adults. Choose your theme and get going!

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