Alternative Ideas for Imagination Station @ Weird Animals VBS 2014

If you go by the book for Imagination Station in any Group VBS program, you will buy boxloads of take-home gadgets from Group, and you will spend $0.50-$1.00 per kid every single day just at this one station. We give special, creative attention to Imagination Station, but we try to do things that are just as effective without breaking the bank.

One of my favorite places to get ideas for this stuff is stevespanglerscience.com because his ideas are cheap and have awesome teaching applications. Here are  affordable options we came up with to replace expensive Group Publishing gadgets for each of the 5 days at Weird Animals VBS.

DAY 1: KETCHUP PACKET CARTESIAN DIVER

ketchupdiver

For Day 1, instead of buying “Action Axls“(plastic cartesian divers) from Group, we used old water bottles and ketchup packets to create the same affect (explained here…) without spending much money. When you squeeze the bottle the ketchup packet dives toward the bottom, and when you release, it floats back toward the top. This taught the kids that even when they’re left out, Jesus loves them and brings them back up.

DAY 2: PAINT YOUR OWN FACE

For Day 2, instead of buying “Higher Flyers” from Group to aid the Bible Point “Even though you’re different… Jesus loves you!”, we let kids paint their own faces using neon face paint sticks and mirrors. This was one of the favorite things the kids did all week. They all looked different and really understood the Bible point. Plus it worked great because most kids made their faces look like animal faces

DAY 3: SELF-INFLATING BALLOON ON A BOTTLE

For Day 3, instead of buying “Flip Flop Tops” to help with the Bible point, “Even when you don’t understand… Jesus loves you!”, we let the kids build “Fizz-Inflators” (explained here…), which is a balloon that self-inflates on top of a water bottle with the gases from a baking soda and vinegar reaction.

Add vinegar to water bottle… put baking soda in balloon using funnel… attach balloon to top of bottle and flip it up so that the baking soda falls into the vinegar, creating the chemical reaction needed to inflate the balloon with gases.

DAY 4: SWITCHEROO SPOONER

spoonFor Day 4, instead of buying “Switcheroo Spinners” (a fancy name for a wobblestone or a rattleback) from Group, we gave every kid a cheap spoon and let them create their own “celt spoon” (see a great explanation of how this works here…). This was a great, affordable lesson that tied in with the story of Jesus dying on the cross and the concept of repentance. Basically, you spin the bent spoon clockwise and after a few seconds it starts to wobble and then reverses directions, just like we might turn away from our sins and go a different direction with our lives

DAY 5: SQUASH YOUR FEARS WITH PLAY-DOH

For Day 5, instead of buying “Whistle Screamers” to help kids learn that “Even when you’re afraid… Jesus loves you!”, we kept things simple and used Play-Doh. The kids were instructed to make things that they are afraid of using the Play-Doh, and then they could squash those fears like you do with any Play-Doh creation.

Click here to read my post reflecting upon the entire Weird Animals VBS 2014 experience.

Click here to see our colorful, exciting decorations for Weird Animals VBS.