This summer, I’m the Preschool Director for our church’s Vacation Bible School. We’re using Group Publishing’s “Weird Animals” curriculum, which is so cute! Each day, kids meet a strange animal, who helps remind them of an important point:
- Even when you’re left out… Jesus loves you!
- Even though you’re different… Jesus loves you!
- Even when you don’t understand… Jesus loves you!
- Even though you do wrong… Jesus loves you!
- Even when you’re afraid… Jesus loves you!
They’ll also see a video about a real kid who has faced real struggles (leukemia, autism, bullying, poverty, and anxiety) and has learned about God’s love.
At this stage, I’m excited about planning for how to decorate — to transform a set of double doors, a stairwell, a hallway, several classroom doors, and one big room into “Ozzy’s Preschool Park.” Ozzy, a baby ostrich, is the mascot for our preschoolers. The “Weird Animals” main stage will be a wild, colorful, jungle/rainforest type of set. And the Bible Buddy animals we’ll meet each day hail from a variety of habitats, so I get to create a BUNCH of different things.
So far, I’m planning to have
Rainforest (Axl the axlotl) Habitat — main double doors and little ‘alcove,’ stairwell
Cardboard “grasses” cutouts
Wild, bright flowers
Pool noodle “vines” up the stair handrails
Ostrich Nest — main landing, near elevator doors
baby pool “ostrich nest” with burlap, straw, ‘stray’ feathers, and paper mache eggs
canvas tarp printed to look sandy/dirty with ostrich “tracks”
butcher paper background of African savannah (maybe a “lion king” style tree silhouette and rising/setting sun)
African Savannah (ostrich) — Bible Adventures and Missions classroom
butcher paper background to hide the storage part of room (mountain range, fence, plants)
cardboard cutouts: grasses, cactus, aloe, yucca
safari camp storytelling corner
–boxes painted like wooden cargo crates
–grass hut “roof”
–tiki torch (with nail or hook to display the Bible poster?)
— lantern, bifocals, old-fashioned radio props
–wooden chair, draped with netting
Ocean (Fern the sea dragon?) Habitat — ‘spare’ hallway between supply closet and music room
blue drapes to cover walls
blue lights or rope lights on floor?
coral, anemones, sea grass
cardboard “waves” foreground
bubbles (balloons on ceiling?)
squid or octopus
oyster or clam
Jungle Habitat — hallway to left and right of stairwell
tree canopy (green tablecloths stretched/swooped across ceiling tiles)
tree trunks (butcher paper twisted and taped from floor to ceiling)
weird flowers (tissue paper? wiffleball? posterboard? lots of ideas on Pinterest for this)
animal tails peeking out from the leaves/treetops (jaguar, tiger, parrot… what else would work?)
giant paper-chain snake
Desert (Iggy the frilled lizard) Habitat — ?maybe we won’t need this?