For quite a few years now, I have wanted to host a backyard VBS during the summer for our neighborhood kids. It just makes sense to me to have a VBS in our own backyard when we have neighbor children who would come. Why must I ask our neighbors to travel somewhere else to drop their kids off to be in a huge group of other kids they don't know when I could just have them here and we could share Christ with them and build bonds between our neighbors and their kids all at the same time? For whatever reason, I haven't felt the time has been exactly right to try the summertime backyard VBS yet, but this fall I had what I felt to be a God-led desire to do something around the Christmas holiday.
What grew out of that desire was a Friday afternoon event held at my house called "Festive Fridays." We invited all the neighborhood children between the ages of K - 6th grade by passing out flyers the last week of November with the following information:
Who? Neighborhood kids ages K-6th grade
(Jr/Sr High kids are welcome to come to help.)
What? A fun time of songs, stories, games, and crafts.
When? Fridays (11/30, 12/7, 12/14, and 12/21)
4:00 to 5:30 PM
Where? The Larson Home – XXXX Our Street
Why? To enjoy the Christmas season with our friends and to celebrate the reason for the season.
Need more info? Call Gena at XXX-XXXX or XXX-XXX
Kids, just show up and have some fun with us!
We planned each Friday around a different theme, creating games and crafts around that theme. We also read a book having to do with the theme for the day, and we sang Christmas carols, practicing for the last Friday when we would go caroling at the homes of some of our older neighbors. (I called the neighbors first, asking if it would be okay for us to come by. They were thrilled to have the kids come by to carol, many having fond memories of caroling themselves). The children also made gifts for their parents that we wrapped the last day in hand-decorated gift bags.
We had a blast as we built some new friendships, blessed some neighbors with carols and a gift, raised money to feed hungry children, made crafts, shared the real meaning of CHRISTmas, played some outrageous games, and basically just laughed and celebrated the season with our neighbors.
Was it a busy time? Yes! Did it get hectic at times? Yes! Did the kids have fun? Yes! Were we glad we did it? Yes! Will we do it again next year? YES! We did, however, learn a few things that we will do differently next time, and I'll be back tomorrow with lessons learned.
For now, here are a few pictures from two of our times together. Enjoy!
By the way, pictured above is my son, Peter, whose spiritual birthday is today! :-)