7 VBS Supplies to Make Every Director’s Life a Little Better


Vacation Bible School supplies and tools consume a large amount of brain power for VBS directors.  You make lists upon lists upon lists of supplies you need to get.


That doesn’t even include the supplies that you already have but need to gather from all the dark recesses of your church and storage areas.


Then, there is all the price checking.  Thank goodness for the internet and places that you can price check from your desk.  Previously, you would search through catalogs, make phone calls, and {gasp} have to go to an actual store!  [Note my excitement for shopping at brick and mortar stores…it may have something to do with three young kids that I take with me everywhere I go, oh and all their things too!]


I get it.  VBS supplies are crazy.  But I wanted to share my list of 7 essentials that I wouldn’t want to do VBS without.



Before VBS, I want to make sure that I have a good supply of kid-friendly bibles on hand.  I want teachers or crew leaders to feel free to give Bibles to kids who don’t have their own Bible.

I also want to be able to give kids who made a profession of faith a Bible.

Personally, I study out of the ESV (English Standard Version).  I have found it to be an accurate translation that is very accessible to read.  If I am giving a Bible to an older kid, I typically give an ESV.  Say, 4th or 5th grade and older.  This Bible is a reasonable price for a gift or award Bible.  But if you are looking for something more economical, consider this outreach Bible.

If I am giving out a Bible to a younger reader, I almost always give a NIrV.  This Bible is designed to be a 3rd-grade reading level.  The sentences are shorter and the vocabulary is very age appropriate.  Here is a nice gift or award Bible of imitation leather, or a very basic NIrV outreach Bible.



For the volunteers.  Really.  Not really.  For you. AND for your volunteers.  And if I have to break into my stash, I’m always happy to find Lindt Chocolate Truffles.  You know, the kind with the hard outer shell and creamy chocolate center.  You know exactly what I’m talking about.  (And if you have to raid your stash now, no thanks necessary.)

But, I also like to have chocolate on hand for my volunteers.  Sometimes the best initial medicine for a problem or a crisis is some of those medicinal sweetened cocoa beans stuffed with peanuts or nougat, or caramel, or something like that.  [Translation:  Snickers, Milky Way, or Reese’s]

In fact, I have been known to purchase 25 pounds of fun-size Snickers bars from a surplus store.  My volunteers loved that!

Follow that chocolate up with a listening ear and kind wisdom.  The wisdom that gently brings a volunteer back to the hope that is found in the redemptive work of the cross.  And know that you have loved and served your volunteer simply by considering small comforts.


Promo Material

You have to promote VBS in some form or another.  If you are just doing VBS for your own kids at church (and that is just fine), you can do all of your promotion in-house.  But if you are inviting your community and planning for your VBS to be an outreach, you have to get the word out there.

There are so many ways to promote VBS.  None of them are the “right” way or the “only” way.  So I will just share a little bit about how we promote VBS at our church.

We intentionally schedule our VBS for the week after our small town’s festival in the summer.  The festival kicks off with a parade.  We always have a float in the parade that matches our VBS theme. We also have people who walk by the float and hand out fliers.

Now, you know what you do with all “stuff” that you get at a parade, right?  Trash it, as soon as you are home.  Or sooner if a trash can is handy.

We do a teeny tiny bit to fight that and tape a piece of candy to it.  Our candy of choice: Dum Dum sucker (unless we can find something else reasonably priced that matches our theme).  A little better than a tootsie roll (no offense if that is your fav).  But not so much that we can’t give out 1000+ at a small town parade.


I would love to give away free snow cones at our small grocery store for a couple hours armed with VBS registrations if anyone would so desire to register.   I love the idea of loving our community in that small way on a hot summer day.  I’ll let you know if I get the details worked out.  And you let me know if you have ever done anything like that before and how it worked (seriously…comment below.


Encouragement for Volunteers

This is one of my favorite VBS supplies.  I love giving volunteers a little extra “thank you!”  Especially when it is food related.  Plus I’m a little nerdy.  (My husband teases me about liking all of the nerdy TV shows.)  So, if I can make it fit with my VBS theme and be a little cheesy at the same time, double bonus!



Attach the respective candies (Milkyway and Starburst…if you didn’t get it) to these little tags and you have yourself a great little, “thank you.”  You can grab a copy of the tags here!

But sometimes, you just can’t do one. more. thing.  I know.  This is one of those things that would be a perfect thing to delegate.  I would guess that there are people in your church that aren’t able to help with VBS, this would be a great way to include them.  Make the need known, preferably by a personal ask and provide the supplies needed to put these together.


Follow-Up Supplies

VBS is a ton of work.  And if you fail to follow-up with your VBS attendees, you are not making theVBS Supplies most of the work that you have put into VBS.  There is no one way to follow-up VBS.

But I would argue that it is vital to follow-up with kids who made a profession of faith at your VBS.   You can do this in many different ways, but one resource that I like to use is, I’m a Christian Now! Younger Kids by Lifeway (there is also an Older Kids Version).  This book does a good job of walking a young believer through the basics of the Christian faith.

In addition to following up with kids who made a profession of faith, I like to follow-up with all of the kids who came to VBS.  Who doesn’t love getting a postcard in the mail?  My kids just got a postcard in the mail today and were so excited!

A simple quarter piece of cardstock with your VBS’ logo and a quick message from their teacher or crew leader will brighten a kids day.  And it will provide another quick way to engage kids and their parent’s who attended your VBS.



Obviously.  Right?  But so many things hinge on what curriculum you choose.  And whether you choose to purchase a prepackaged curriculum or if you choose to write your own.  Or a combination of both of those options.

If you are looking for help with choosing a curriculum, Concordia Supply has put together the best side-by-side comparison of the current year’s curriculum that I have seen (just click on the download button under “Comparison Chart” to grab your PDF).  The only two popular themes that aren’t included in their resources is Lifeway’s Game On and Orange’s Amped.



Laminate. All. The. Things.  OK, maybe not all the things.  But I think that a laminator can come in handy for many projects for VBS.  And just think, you aren’t going to store a laminator all year just so you can use it at VBS.  You will have a laminator to use for all of your events.

I printed signs and hung them outside last year.  Then I reprinted them because they got wet and I hadn’t laminated them.

What about theme specific giveaways?  Do you create your own?  And laminate them.

Or name tags?  I like lanyards for name tags with a hook.  Laminate the name tag and it will last all week.


An Opportunity for You

I’m guessing that you are well aware of the massive amount of money spent on VBS supplies each year.

Are you familiar with AmazonSmile?  What about CMConnect?


CMConnect exists to serve under-resourced children’s workers and to challenge people to serve “the least of these” in their local community.  One of the ways that CMConnect serves is by fundraising and providing resources for those who need it.


AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

VBS Supplies

CMConnect has joined AmazonSmile as one of their charitable organizations.  So if you are purchasing VBS supplies from Amazon, would you consider taking the extra step and going to the AmazonSmile website and choosing CMConnect as your charitable organization of choice?

By taking these simple actions, you are helping other ministries serve kids and share the hope of Jesus.  And remember, you aren’t being charged any more

VBS Supplies, CMConnect

then if you were shopping at Amazon.  Just make sure that you are going to the Smile website.  And that you choose CMConnect as your charitable organization of choice.





Want help planning your VBS to-do list?  Join the VBS Planning Challenge and get your tasks planned in one week.  And do it with a like-minded community!

3 thoughts on “7 VBS Supplies to Make Every Director’s Life a Little Better

  1. Jen,

    We’re glad our VBS comparison chart can help you and other VBS directors plan for VBS 2018! Thanks for mentioning our resource; we’re praying you have a great VBS!

    Laura @ Concordia Supply

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