I need two eyes, and two ears…and no mouths!

So last week was kind of a  nightmare  challenge.  It was Vacation Bible School week, and as the Director of Pre School, I had more than a couple of things to do.  But now it’s over and I can share all the merriment with you. Our theme was SonRise National Park, so we tried to bring the great outdoors in.  This would also be an awesome idea for a National Park – themed child’s birthday.

The most difficult and time-consuming part was the decorations.  I had two classrooms to decorate, so I made one of them into a forest and the other into the lodge, or ranger station, or what-have-you.

The challenge is that these are actual classrooms, used by the church and school, so they have things like desks and computers in them.  I really wanted to avoid a scenario where my kids destroyed everything in their path, so I pushed everything into a corner and covered it with artificial trees, borrowed from friends and neighbors.  A tent, some wooden benches and a few stuffed animals and my forest was complete.  You’ll also see paper animals.  These couldn’t be easier.  Just print or copy a coloring book page or internet find onto a transparency sheet, and project it onto brown butcher paper and trace with a Sharpie.  Then stipple over it with brown paint and voila – bear!  This is one of the oldest teacher tricks in the book, but still useful and relevant.

For my second classroom, I decided to make it the lodge, but honestly, I didn’t have to do much.  The classroom was already decorated like a log cabin left over from the school year. Score!  If you want to create your own though, check out the “fireplace”.  It’s just a bookcase, shelves removed, covered on the inside with bulletin board paper with a fake fire in it.  Add a rocking chair and this was a great place to  have story time.  A quilt on the wall added warmth and brought the illusion to life.

My classrooms were at the beginning of a pretty long hallway, and for safety, we didn’t want the kids to go running down the hall.  So we installed a decorated sheet across the opening to keep the kids corralled.  This also meant that we could use the space behind the curtain for storage without worrying about safety.  My amazing friend Kim painted the curtain and it came out AWESOME!

We had kids from 3-12 years old so there were decorations all over the building.  The older kids met in the sanctuary for a group session at the beginning and end of each night, and were divided into their crews.

In the end, it was an amazing-long-stressful-exhilarating-terrifying-fun-whirlwind of a week and I’m glad it’s over, and planning for next year.  Our theme is going to be Wild West!!!!!

Happy Tuesday!