Summer ’10 VBS Reviews!

"Round About the Church!
2010 Vacation Bible School Review

    It’s that time once again to take a look at what our VBS options are for Summer ’10! With the economy and church budgets as they are, I’m happy to see some of the publishers didn’t raise their prices, more basic kit options are available and some kits have reproducible resources. This year our review includes VBS kits from the companies we are familiar with along with a few new sources. While I didn’t include kits from past years both Gospel Light and Cook are making several of their past kits available once again. I hope the information below will help you as you search out your best VBS “fit” for your children’s ministry!


2010 VBS Comparison Chart



#1 for 2010

Hero Headquarters

Standard Publishing

  1. Heroes do the Unexpected! – 2 Kings 5:1-14 – a servant girl speaks up, and God’s power heals Naaman
  2. Heroes take Action! – Luke 2:1-20 – shepherds see baby Jesus and tell everyone about the Savior
  3. Heroes step out on Faith! – Matt. 8:5-10,13 – an army officer goes to Jesus and Jesus heals his servant
  4. Heroes Save the day! – John 6:1-13 – a boy shares his food, and Jesus feeds more than 5,000 people
  5. Heroes stand for Truth! – Acts 23:12-24 – a young man shows courage and Paul lives to serve Jesus


Setting – Hero Headquarters

Theme – Kids discover unnamed heroes who were not super or powerful, yet their small acts were used by God to do wonderful things!


Hero Headquarters is designed to challenge kids to join forces with God to do the unexpected, take action, step out on faith, save the day and stand for truth by relying on God’s power to make the choice to serve others! I really like the daily challenge for kids to go and be a hero for God! The music and service activities are excellent and I like the return of Cooper the puppet! I’d really like to see a science station added to the mix and fewer scrambled word activities in the open and close, but if you want your kids to be challenged to serve others Hero Headquarters will give you the tools you need to do so! Tremendously well done!



Saddle Ridge Ranch




1.      Who Am I? – Genesis 2:4-23 – God creates people – I am God greatest creation, I can praise Him!

2.      Does God care about me? – Genesis 45:1-14 – Joseph recalls God’s provision – God cares about me so I can trust Him no matter what!

3.      What is God’s plan for me? – Luke 19:1-10 – Jesus visits Zacchaeus – God has a plan for me so I can have a relationship with Jesus!

4.      How can I be like Jesus? – Luke 2:14-16; 5:16; Mark 6:30-46 – Jesus, our example – I can be like Jesus by following His example!

5.      What do I do now? – Philippians 4:4-9 – Go to it! Do it! – I know what to do, I can live in ways that honor God!



Setting – Saddle Ridge Ranch in Big Sky country

Theme – The ranch is a place where kids can ask important questions and discover the answers are found in God’s Word!


LifeWay has done an excellent job infusing the “out west” feel to every aspect of this VBS! Special Friends VBS provides excellent resources for special needs kids and adults! I’d still like to see a science station and openings and closings with object lessons, but the Bible lessons did a better job of actively engaging the kids and I love the info on having a follow up team, prayer strategies as well as their music and crafts! I especially love the “Wrangler Challenge” for teachers! I’d go through all elementary teacher books to find the most engaging Bible lesson presentation and then use it for the story station and add some of the activities to the opening and close, but this is a VBS definitely worth looking at!



Galactic Blast




  1. Mission: Creation of the Universe – Genesis 1:1-2:4 – Our God is Wonderful! Praise God!
  2. Mission: Elijah at Mt. Horeb – I Kings 19:4-18 – Our God is Incredible! Praise God!
  3. Mission: The Woman at the Well – John 4:1-42 – Our God is Amazing! Praise God!
  4. Mission: A Blind Beggar in Jericho – Luke 18:35-43 – Our God is Magnificent! Praise God!
  5. Mission: Two Disciples in Emmaus – Luke 24:13-32 – Our God is Awesome! Praise God!


Setting – Starship Galactic Praise in the Good News Galaxy

Theme – A Cosmic Adventure Praising God!


Galactic Blast takes your kids on a cosmic adventure to praise God! I really love how kids are engaged throughout each day’s activities and involved in serving their communities! Cokesbury shows great creativity in the engaging and fun science project options for each day – I’d use one in the station and one in the opening or close! Excellent puppet, activities, strong focuses on life application and the daily Bible Booster Challenge! My kid reviewers loved the music and crafts! I’d still like to see more enthusiasm in opening/close with object lessons and science projects, but if you choose Galactic Blast, you’ll be very pleased with the quality resources they have provided! Most importantly you’ll see your kids engaged and equipped to live what they learn!



Planet Zoom

Concordia Publishing House



  1. Biz-z-zy Bee-lievers – Luke 2:41-52 – The boy Jesus went to the temple
  2. An Unbee-lievable Meal – John 6:1-15 – Jesus fed over 5,000
  3. Amaz-z-zing Care – Mark 5:21-24, 35-43 – Jesus raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead
  4. A New Bee-ginning – Matthew 27:62-28:20 – Jesus rose from the dead
  5. Bee Free in Jesus – Acts 12:1-17 – God rescued Peter from jail


Setting – Bee Hive

Theme – Where Bold Bee-lievers Zip, Zap & Zoom for Jesus! Children will learn to connect with their hive – the church – to make a big difference in God’s big world!


This is a unique and fun VBS set in a bee hive and I really love how Concordia tied the busyness of the hive into the life of the church . . . learning how to grow in our belief and zooming out to share His love with others! Bible lessons are creative and engage the kids! I like the daily Zoom-Out Action and the songs have lots of energy – my kid reviewers loved the songs! Again this year I’d have liked to see a more enthusiastic opening/close with object lessons, more craft options and while one station had two science projects, I’d like to see them each day. Overall this VBS is extremely well done and is a truly effective choice for VBS curriculum!




Regular Baptist Press



  1. Hidden Treasure: Buried Treasure and a Priceless Pearl – Matt. 9 & 13; Mark 2; Luke 5 – God loves you; you are a treasure to God!
  2. Lost Treasure: A Sheep and a Coin – Luke 15:2-10 – Jesus came to seek the lost!
  3. Real Treasure: Two Sons and a Father’s Love – Luke 15:11-32 – God always loves us!
  4. Wise Treasure: A Life Built on the Rock – Matt.7 & Luke 6 – Treasure and obey God’s Word!
  5. Eternal Treasure: A Life that Puts God First – Luke 12:13-31,34 – God promises to meet our needs when we put Him first!


Setting – Deep Sea Diving

Theme – Diving for God’s Treasure by diving into His Word!


Take your kids Deep Sea diving this summer with RBP! Deep Sea settings are easy to decorate for and lots of fun - I especially love the focus on how children are a highly valued treasure to God! SeaQuest has a strong evangelistic emphasis, excellent mission project and great information on how to reach VBS families after VBS is over! I am so happy to see a science station included with each day’s lesson and found the options for crafts to be varied, affordable and fun! I still would like to see daily live-it activities, music with more pep and ideas to help kids serve in their own communities, but overall, the activities connect well and do a good job of reinforcing the daily point!




Egypt File: Decoding the Mystery of Life

Answers in Genesis



  1. The Truth about Life: the Mystery of the Missing Links – Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7-23 – They can’t make a monkey out of me!
  2. The Wonder of Life: The Clue to You – Psalm 139 – God thought of everything!
  3. Eternal Life: The Case for Christ – Genesis 3 & selected NT Scriptures – SMYLE! God loves you!
  4. The Value of Life: The Defenders of the Defenseless – Exodus 1:22-2:10 – Life is precious: handle with care!
  5. Using Your Life: The Mystery of the One Body – Exodus 14 – What I really want to do is live each day for You!


Setting – A museum in Egypt

Theme – as children look at ancient Egypt, they will use God’s Word to follow clues, solve a mystery and learn to glorify the Creator and promote the value and purpose of human life!


With Egypt File your kids can solve a mystery and learn God’s Word is the absolutely reliable source for life! The director’s book is filled with interesting FAQ’s and trivia about ancient Egypt and the human body. A strong evangelistic focus provides the opportunity to make a decision for Jesus and encourages application of what is learned. I’m happy to see science experiments in the openings, but still think a science station would be a great addition! I would’ve liked to see a daily live-it activity, but was happy to see the addition of activities to engage children in serving their own community! Excellent music this year – kids will love all but one of the songs! A basic kit option is a big plus.




Group Publishing 



  1. God gives us hope – Genesis 40:1-23 – Joseph interprets dreams in prison
  2. God gives us special abilities – Genesis 41:1-40 – Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge
  3. God gives us wisdom – Genesis 41:41-42:5 – Joseph leads Egypt through famine
  4. God gives us forgiveness – Genesis 42:6-45:15 – Joseph forgives his brothers
  5. God gives us a family – Genesis 45:16-47:27 – Joseph settles his family in Egypt


Setting – Ancient Egypt during the time of Joseph

Theme – Joseph’s Journey from prison to palace


Group has done an excellent job with this VBS again this year! The Family time activities are interesting and fun, the marketplace activities are unique with great music – I like the music video songs where entire families are singing, but would prefer to see VBS aged kids in the video in the songs teens are singing. I’d like to see a more affordable basic kit option, but Group has once again provided a wealth of ideas to help you “transport” your kids and families back to Bible times! I am very happy to see the actual Bible dramas engage the kids/families more directly this year and love the God Sightings! This VBS is well worth considering for your church’s ministry this year!




Baobab Blast

Augsburg Fortress 



  1. Trust – Genesis 12:1-9 – Abraham to Canaan
  2. Love – Genesis 37, 41-45 – Joseph and his brothers
  3. Follow – Luke 5:1-11, 27-32; 6:12-16; 8:1-3 – Jesus calls the disciples
  4. Care – Luke 10:25-37 – the Good Samaritan
  5. Share – Acts 8:26-40 – Philip and the Ethiopian


Setting – Under the Baobab tree on the African Savannah

Theme – Children are invited to be part of God’s great get-together and be a part of a supportive community at church.


African themed VBS’ are popular and fun! Augsburg succeeded in bringing in a unique twist by focusing their VBS around the Baobab tree and tying everything to “community”. I like the creative way they involve the kids actively in the Bible lessons and the science station is excellent! I’d like to see a stronger focus on evangelism and info on how to lead a child to Christ since most churches use VBS as their primary outreach event each year. Churches have the option of a basic or super starter kit. Again, I’d like to see more enthusiasm in the opening and close with object lessons and live-it activities for kids to do each day, but overall, this is a well designed and written VBS!



Route 254

Lifeway Club VBS



  1. Destination Worship – Matthew 2:1-15 – Journey to the King
  2. Destination Thankfulness – Luke 17:11-18 – Where Were the Nine?
  3. Destination Salvation – Matthew 26, 27, 28 – The Road to Salvation
  4. Destination Belief – John 20:19-31 – Believe It!
  5. Destination Obedience – Acts 8:26-38 – Choices on the Open Road


Setting – a sightseeing road trip across America

Theme – kids will learn when they choose God as their Guide, they’ll arrive at the ultimate destination – a relationship with Jesus!


Who wouldn’t enjoy a cross country road trip with stops in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kansas, Yellowstone and ending at Knott’s Berry Farm! I’m very happy to see Lifeway’s Club VBS include many of the features I look for in VBS and especially like their excellent resources for children with special needs. I also appreciate the emphasis on the pastor being physically involved in VBS! I would like to see more enthusiasm in the open/close and while children are involved in the lessons a little, I’d really like to see them fully engaged by participating in the lesson to a greater extent and involved in serving their community. My kid music reviewers loved the music! Overall Route 254 is greatly improved over last year!



Deep Sea Adventure

WordAction 2010



  1. Jesus loves children – Mark 10:13-16 – Jesus loves everyone!
  2. The great banquet – Luke 14:15-23 – Jesus invites everyone to come to Him!
  3. The prodigal son – Luke 15:11-32 – Jesus forgives everyone who comes to Him!
  4. The good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37 – Jesus teaches us to care for others!
  5. The loaves and fish – John 6:1-15 – Jesus multiplies our gifts!


Setting – a deep sea adventure with diving, surfing and ocean exploring!

Theme – kids will learn Jesus makes a life-changing, eternal difference in their lives!


WordAction’s VBS takes children to an under sea local this summer. Once again I really like their daily LIFE challenges and the daily opportunities for kids to serve others. I like the emphasis on Jesus, His love and the things He said and taught. The visitor/parent hospitality ideas are excellent ways to try and connect with new and unchurched families! Kids will enjoy the music! I’d still really like to see more craft ideas, science projects and more enthusiasm in the opening and close with object lessons. I would also like to see more involvement of the children in the actual telling of the Bible lesson. I’m not so sure about the underwater town and talking fish, but this VBS has lots of enthusiasm!



Backstage with the Bible

Go Fish Guys


  1. Superstars – Exodus 1:8-14; 12:35,36 – God made you in His image!
  2. Ten Commandments – Exodus 19:16-19 – Are you good enough?
  3. The Cross – Matthew 1:18-24; 27:27-31 – Find out what Jesus did for you!
  4. Saved – Mark 10:17-22 – Saved by Grace through faith!
  5. Go Fish! – Matthew 28:16-20 – Share the Good News!


Setting – Backstage at a concert

Theme – Share the Gospel of Jesus and teach the importance of the Bible!


Bring the Go Fish Guys to your VBS this summer for a VBS that doesn’t lack enthusiasm! My kid reviewers picked this music for their top pick! I love the evangelism focus and focus on the Bible – knowing it and allowing it to change your life; but while some of the lessons involved the kids actively in the Bible lessons, I’d like to see all of them do so. Excellent mission project where Bible verses are translated into a new language!  While there’s no basic kit, everything’s reproducible! I’d like to see live-it activities, more craft options, games and science projects, but if you choose Backstage, you’ll be very pleased with the impact it’ll have on your kids! Definitely take a close look at this VBS!



High Seas Expedition

Group Publishing



  1. God’s Word is true – Acts 12:1-10 – God frees Peter from prison
  2. God’s Word is comforting – Acts 27 – God comforts Paul in a storm at sea
  3. God’s Word is surprising – Acts 28:1-10 – Paul survives a bite by a poisonous snake
  4. God’s Word is life-changing – Acts 3:1-4:12 – Peter and John teach about Jesus
  5. God’s Word is for everyone – Acts 2:42-47 – the community of believers share


Setting – a tall ship on the high sea

Theme – Kids set sail and plunge into experiencing the deep, rolling waters of God’s love!


Group put together an interesting and exciting vbs on the high seas for summer 2010! As we’ve come to expect the Bible lessons are creative, engaging and excellent and I’m happy to see affordable and fun craft options!  I’d still like to see an end to Chadder . . . since Group is all about active learning this station seems like it would be significantly more effective and age-appropriate as a hands-on science station. The songs are excellent, but I would have preferred elementary age children in the music dvd instead of jr and sr high age children. I’d like to see a more affordable basic kit option – possibly with reproducible student materials, but churches that select High Seas Expedition will certainly enjoy their VBS!



SonQuest Rainforest

Gospel Light



  1. Get It! – Matthew 13:1-23 – Which Soil Are You?
  2. Get Found! – Matthew 18:12-14 – Baa, Baa, Lost Sheep
  3. Get God’s Love! – Luke 10:25-37 – An Unlikely Neighbor
  4. Get Praying! – Luke 11:1-13 – The Midnight Knocker
  5. Get Going! – Matthew 25:14-30 – Use It or Lose It


Setting – Amazon Jungle

Theme – Children go on an adventure where they will discover the parables of Jesus and see that He can make a difference in their lives every day!


Takes your kids to the Amazon rainforest jungle this summer! Gospel Light’s opening and closing are excellent and full of high energy and fun again this year! As always, Gospel Light has a great craft book filled with ideas for crafts from basic supplies and unique ideas for field trips and fun days! I think science experiments would have fit really well with this setting and while the Bible lessons involve the children more than in the past, I’d really like to see more creative involvement of the kids in the actual lesson and daily live-it activities. The music is fun and this curriculum does an excellent job of giving kids an opportunity to accept Jesus! Definitely plan to take a look at SonQuest Rainforest!




Live It Out

David C. Cook Publishing



  1. I’m gonna build my life on what really counts – Matthew 7 – The Wise and Foolish Builders
  2. I’m gonna choose to see you the way God sees me – Luke 10– The Good Samaritan
  3. I’m gonna choose to forgive you the way God forgave me – Matthew 18 – The Unmerciful Servant
  4. I’m gonna learn to live unselfishly – Luke 12 – The Rich Fool
  5. God’s love is big, strong and loud! – Luke 15 – The Prodigal Son


Setting – Urban setting

Theme – I’m gonna learn to take God’s Word in and live it out!


Cook definitely went a different direction with their VBS this year. The lessons are well written with daily live-it activities and a plan to involve kids in serving their community, but I found the format confusing and incomplete. Basics like child protection/volunteer screening information were missing as were the science station, mission project and curriculum for preschool kids. The music is excellent although only four songs are included with the kit. I like the affordability with reproducibles. While it’ll work for VBS, this kit may be better suited for tweens – as it says on the package. Cook is making their past three VBS kits available again this year. I would have liked to see another kit along the lines of their kit from last year.




Soul Survivors on Danger Island

Bogard Press – 



  1. Joshua learns to overcome his fears – Deut. 31:7-13, 23; 34:509; Josh. 1:1-9 – I can abide in God when I’m afraid
  2. David faces huge obstacles – I Samuel 17:32-51 – I can trust God when I’m threatened
  3. Hezekiah conquers the fear of defeat – Isaiah 37:1-20, 33-36 – I can pray when I’m frightened
  4. Shadrach and friends defeat peer pressure – Daniel 3:1-30 – I can stand for God when I’m tempted
  5. Gideon conquers discouragement – Judges 7:7-21 – I can obey God’s Word when discouraged


Setting – Danger Island

Theme – Children will learn to survive and thrive as Christians with God’s help even when there are daily dangers facing them that could steal their joy and hinder their walk with God.


I love the setting for this VBS – and all the fun banners and posters that come with the super starter kit! I’m happy to see such a strong emphasis on evangelism while still equipping children who know Jesus so they can grow and walk with Him. I would really like to see Bible lessons that engage the children actively and more enthusiasm in the open/close with object lessons. A science station could have fit well with this setting and music with more pep would have been great. The director’s book could have used information on screening volunteers and safety concerns as well, but if you can “boost” these resources a bit you will have a VBS kids will enjoy and learn from!



A Heart for Missions

Smyth & Helwys –


  1. The Parable of the Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37 – I can love and care for others!
  2. The Boy Who Shared His Lunch – John 6:1-14 – I have gifts to share with others!
  3. Naaman’s Servant Helps – II Kings 5:1-15 – I can let God use me to share His message with others!
  4. Miriam Helps Her Brother Moses – Exodus 2:1-10 – I can do something to help others!
  5. God Calls Moses – Exodus 3:1-15 – God has big plans for me to help others!


Setting – Medical School

Theme – Children can be partners in the work of building Christian community through serving and helping others!


A medical school is a unique and interesting setting for VBS! I like the strong focus on showing children how to work together to use their talents to serve and help others! I like the variety of daily activities where children help and serve others in their community! I’d like a stronger focus on evangelism and while some of the lessons involved the kids actively in the Bible lessons, I’d like to see all of them do so.  The opening and closing need more enthusiasm and object lessons and science projects as I think they would have fit very well with this setting. The curriculum does a good job of helping volunteers fully understand each lesson and how it lives in their own lives.

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