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Depending on where you live, your VBS program is likely to be somewhere between VERY HOT and UNBEARABLY HOT. Kids and leaders need relief from the heat. Try these ideas to keep everyone cool(er) and happier too.

Juicy Snacks—skip the goldfish crackers and other clever snacks designed to match the daily story. Instead, opt for foods that provide a little hydration like cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, watermelon, or popsicles. Cut fruits and veggies into bite sized pieces to eat as finger food. 

Hydration Stations—take a cue from marathon runners and set up hydration stations all around your VBS campus. As your kids march to the next activity pass by the station to pick up some water. If your kids stay in one place most of the time recruit a hydration crew to make regular rounds with a pitcher’s of water.

Air Time—if your kids will spend part of the time indoors where there’s an air-conditioning, and part of the time outdoors, plan a schedule that allows the most active times to be followed up by time spent inside cooling down. If you don’t have air conditioning in your building, make the most out of the church basement or spots that provide natural shade on your church property. 

Sun Spray—if your kids will be spending time outside, send a note home on day one asking families to apply sunscreen before arrival. Keep a few cans of spray sunscreen handy for kids (and leaders) that forget. Choose a brand designed for kids, or one that’s quick and easy to apply like Sun Bum spray in SPF 50.

Water Games—if you’re in the UNBEARABLY HOT zone look for ways to include classic water games into your program. A water balloon toss takes work to prepare, but it’s worth it when kids are wet instead of whiny. Avoid games that will leave them drenched. Opt instead for cup and bucket relays, hand bobbing for hidden objects, and the like. Visit this page on the Disney Family Fun website for game ideas that will get you thinking. 

Add to the list! What do you do to keep kids cool during hot summer programs? 


I just talked to someone about when churches generally do VBS. I've seen a broad range of dates from the beginning of summer, right after the church school season ends all the way to the end of summer, to build momentum for the new season to come. I tend to favor the second approach because it allows your church to build meaningful connections with the community just as you're signing up new kids for the fall kick off of Sunday school and other ministries. What goes into your thinking when you schedule VBS? Why do you choose the date that you do?

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