The last night of Rockpoint Summer Splash has come and gone – and I am still amazed at how peaceful my week has been! There were no discipline problems in the craft hall at all. All the kids loved the crafts and were totally engaged all week long.
The last theme for Hero Headquarters is Heroes Stand for Truth. The story of Paul’s nephew standing up and speaking truth, thereby saving Paul’s life, is one that brought thoughts of family to mind. Combining that with the letters to soldiers and thinking of who our heroes are, the craft was to paint a picture frame for the kids to put a picture of their heroes in.
The frames were purchased from Oriental Trading Company for a very reasonable price. Based on some reviews from other customers, we primed the frames beforehand so that the paint coverage would be better. We used tempera paints, which dry quite quickly. The variety of designs painted was beautiful.
I was quite surprised last night. As I was welcoming the second group of kids to the craft room, one little boy was at the front of the line, so excited to see me. He was holding something that looked quite intriguing. He wanted to show me his creation. He had taken all the pieces from his fish mobile, unstrung them, and re-created something new with them. He named it the JC-25 (for Jesus Christ, of course). What an amazing sense of ingenuity and creativity!
I have always loved the story of the boy who shared his lunch with Jesus. To him, it was a feast – 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. To a little boy, that is more than enough. I’m sure he was thinking that he was sharing from his abundance. Yet, in comparison to the number of people in the crowd, that starts looking very meager! Jesus took what this boy thought was extra and turned it into a REAL feast – for over 5000 people. I wonder if that little boy ever understood what a hero he was. He really did save the day!
The heroes at Summer Splash got to make their own fish – a fish mobile. A wonderful volunteer, Jim Brown, cut over 550 fish pieces, sanded them, and drilled holes in them for us. Another wonderful volunteer, Jeff Huber, cut another 150 pieces and spent many hours in the ER with a crushed finger!! Without these two volunteers we could not have made this craft!
The kids first lined up their fish pieces and wrote their message on each piece, front and back. Then, using old socks and shoe polish, they stained each piece front, back and sides. Once all the pieces were stained, the pieces were laced together using twine. A pretty straight forward craft that everyone loved. (Including all the adults in the parenting class next door – the shoe polish raised up quite a stink!! The worship pastor thought someone had kerosene in the church!)
Night 2 was Heroes Take Action. The Bible story was the shepherds learning about Jesus’ birth and then going out into Bethlehem and telling everyone about his birth. I used one of the craft ideas in the curriculum book. We made clocks and focused on the idea that it is always “Time to Tell” people about Jesus. The younger kids (grades 1-2) decorated a CD as a clock face and then added a stickie back foamie circle to the middle to cover the hole. Then they put paper clock hands into the center of the circle with a brad. This clock will be perfect for them to learn to tell time.
The older kids (grades 3-5) also decorated a CD as a clock face. For them, we ordered real clock kits to put in the center. We discovered what we thought to be an error – the clock hands didn’t fit on the movements. So we were not able to put the clocks together on Monday night. I called on Tuesday morning to be told they should work just fine. So on Tuesday night, as I was running the next craft, my whole craft team sat down and put the clock hands on upside down first, pulled them back off and put them on the right way. By the end of the night, all the clocks were done and many kids went home with them. Way to go, Team!!
Night 3: Heroes Step Out on Faith. The Bible story is the centurion that goes to Jesus trusting that He can heal his servant. This one was really tough. I still wanted to stick with some craft idea that would be tied to the Bible story somehow. Finally, I found an organization that sends care packages to soldiers and wants to have letters included in every package. So, instead of a craft, we did a service project. I made a pre-written letter for the kids to fill in blanks. They added a picture to the front of the card. It was a lot of fun to see the kids’ favorite heroes and what questions they thought to ask the soldiers. I hope that we get a good number of soldiers responding to their letters.
The first night of Summer Splash (otherwise known as VBS) went so smoothly, I was unsure if it was really the first night!! We had 97 kids attend and they were all super well-behaved. There are 20 small groups that have up to 10 kids per group, though most have 6-8 kids. The groups are a combination of 1-2 grade, 2-3 grade, 3-4 grade or 4-5 grade. It has worked so nicely to do that. Kids can be with a friend even if that friend is a grade above or below them.
Hero Headquarters – Where Kids Join Forces with God. What a great theme! All the volunteers get to wear a cape – color coordinated for either preschool or elementary. The underlying message of this VBS is that even unnamed people can be a powerful force for God. All the Bible stories focus on an unnamed person in the Bible, most are young people.
Last night’s bottom line was Heroes Do the Unexpected. The story of Namaan’s servant girl is a profound lesson in how we should help others, even when we don’t want to. She was stolen into slavery, forced to work for Namaan, and still she spoke up to lead Namaan to recover from leprosy. She certainly didn’t have to and it was definitely unexpected for her to. This girl was never named in the Bible, yet her story provides life lessons for us all.
Since our Bible story was about a servant girl, the craft centered around that idea. The kids chose a ceramic plate (either round or square) and painted whatever they wanted on it. We used acrylic paints that will hopefully stick well to the ceramic. Parents will be responsible for clear coating the plates to seal the paint on well. I will be using a triple thick clear coat on Micah’s and Simon’s. Here is Micah’s (Simon’s is still at church drying):
This is really quite an easy and inexpensive craft. The plates came from the Dollar Store and are really nice plates. The acrylic paint is a bit more expensive, but if you are only buying a small amount, it is reasonable. And the clear coat spray is something you probably have on hand already if you do much crafting at all.
Wow, Summer Splash is just two short weeks away! It’s hard to believe it’s coming that fast. This year, as in last year, I am the craft lady. Last year’s crafts are going to be hard to beat – tie dye t-shirt, anyone?? – however, I am really excited for this year’s crafts because they all tie in with the Bible story for each night. Our nightly takeaway points will be: serve others, tell others about Jesus, care for a soldier, share what you have for Jesus, and remember your heroes.
I’m trusting God that these crafts will be meaningful to the kids after Summer Splash is done. I hope the parents recognize these crafts as items that they can use as a starting point for discussion with their kids. (And, can they at least not throw them away for a good 48 hours after they are brought home, please??)
So, now with a 14-day countdown beginning, I am discovering that I haven’t done as much advance prep as in past years for Summer Splash! Being out of town all day tomorrow means that I won’t get to work on anything until Monday at the earliest. But, I really need a solid chunk of time at the church to see what supplies I have, what I don’t have and what needs prep work done to it. Simon has baseball Monday night, so I won’t get to the church until Tuesday evening. By then, I’m down to 11 days left. I think I’m cutting it a little close this year.
Thankfully, I have a splendid team of prep workers on hand to help out however needed. And, a couple of my crafts really have no prep to speak of. Of course, the team that will be working with me during Summer Splash will be awesome, too. So, even though things look a little stretched, I know that it will all work out in the end. God always saves my backside that way!
I finally worked on an independence day project that has been calling my name for quite some time. I need to get this done to send off for an Independence Day scavenger hunt. One of the items is a handmade independence day craft. After searching at length on the web, I finally found a pattern to make a luminary jar that could also be used as a flower vase. I pulled my supplies together this afternoon and quite thoroughly enjoyed making a mess of myself.
Next up, grad party #2! Punch Pizza baked in a brick oven in the back yard. Congrats, Heidi Broberg!
Finally, a Summer Splash meeting. I was able to pull together most of my craft team for VBS week. There are a couple more that weren’t there, but I think things are going along pretty well. We definitely have work ahead of us, but I think I have enough hands to manage it.