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Hero Hospital VBS

 “Home to God's Outrageous Love”
From Matthew 21:14-16

It's up to leaders how they want to share the overall theme of Hero Hospital.  You can start and end each VBS day with it, use it in worship, talk about it during activities, or any other time you can think of, but whatever you do you must take seriously God's life-changing love through Jesus: 

God's gift of love and grace flows freely.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, however you feel, God's love will always find you.  For many, these ideas are outrageous.  When Jesus helped and healed freely, it was thought to be outrageous.  When he shared forgiveness and God's grace freely, it was thought to be outrageous.  A lot of people still think it's outrageous!  A love that the world sees as outrageous, is just the right kind of love in God's Kingdom.  Jesus presented us with a vision of God's kingdom--so let's get outrageous and actually start building it.  

God's love changes communities into places of praise, discovery, healing, and hope for all, and makes us into heroes.  You are challenged to make your church into Jesus' Vision of God's Kingdom.  Go out and do it!!!

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Science

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Let's discover how this wonderful world and all its amazing people work.

First, let's talk about learning for kids:

The goal of all of these science activities is for the participants to explore and experiment.  There are no prepared kits for kids to put together.  Instead the kids will get their brains firing on all cylinders--releasing positive hormones and building robust neural networks--as they play and learn.  Whatever lessons you teach kids about Jesus while they are playing like this literally get built into their brains.

The key is play!

What the best brain science tells us is that your goal should be to create an environment that has adult scaffolding to free up space for exploration and learning through play, so that kids develop neural mechanisms in their prefrontal cortex for proactive control like problem solving, planning, regulating and identifying emotions (learn more)

  •  Adult scaffolding is NOT giving a child a kit to put together, it IS giving them resources and examples and challenging them to complete a goal.  

  • Adult scaffolding is NOT completing a step for a child, it IS engaging a child's curiosity to problem solve through the step.

  • Adult scaffolding is NOT insisting that a child solves a problem or makes something exactly like you would, it IS giving the child support and freedom to make mistakes and make breakthroughs.

When you give kids the opportunity for this kind of exploration and learning, their brains literally get bigger.  Their brains and bodies get flooded with endorphins and serotonin.  Endorphins make you feel more positive, improve immune response, and reduce stress.  Serotonin boosts neurotransmission to improve memory and learning and even counteracts depression while improving sleep.  We cannot imagine that Jesus would be anything but thrilled with an activity that did all of this for a kid.

But wait, there's more. Discoveries in neuroplasticity have shown that adults can actually grow new neural pathways too.  You're never too old to grow new brain cells, and all you have to do is play!

The Power of Prosthetics

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to this amazing video about an engineer in Columbia using Lego for prosthetics.

If you are in person:

Show the kids this video about an engineer in Columbia using Lego for prosthetics.

Question to Explore

Does experiencing an illness or disability define all of who you are?

Answer: No!

Why?...

Engineer a Prosthesis

Prostheses, like wheelchairs and canes, are tools used by people experiencing a disability to live out their lives.  The lives they live out are no different from any other person in terms of their relationship with God, the love they have for friends and family, the jobs they work hard at, or the talents they share with the world.  Some people have tools like two feet while others have one foot and one prosthesis.  Dario from the video is a super cool kid who uses one hand and one prosthesis to share his gifts with the world.

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are engineers.  In this activity the kids will use Lego (or household items) to make their own models of prosthetics.  In this activity you will encourage the kids to experiment with different shapes and arrangements while trying to mimic human movement put also to exceed it.  You can also create some sample protheses yourself.

Demonstration Video: Here's a quick video that shows the science experiment being completed.  Use this video for your own information or share it with your participants.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather some supplies.  

Sharescreen this photo gallery:

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together enough supplies for all the kids.

Show this photo gallery:

Have the participants get out their supply of Lego-style building bricks.  Any kids in the group already know what to do with those!  Allow the kids to experiment and build protheses like the ones you showed them, or based on their own design.  It's recommended that you encourage them to make something miniature, such as 1/2 or 1/4 the size of their own arm or leg.  (If you prefer not to use lego, challenge the kids to hunt around the house or your in-person science space for useful items like tape, tubes, sticks, pipe cleaners, cardboard, or other useful crafting materials.)

As you can see in the demonstration video we experimented with lego, using wheels and even window shades for clamps.  We also tried out household objects and found that tongs make for a great grabber and pipe cleaners are good for connecting things.  What will you discover when you experiment with making a prosthetic?

If participants need help getting their creative juices flowing, here are some prompts you can offer:

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it's good at picking something up?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it can bounce or spring really high?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it could stretch really far?

  • What could you add to your prosthesis so that it could move or slide really quickly?

 

Participants can test their prosthesis by moving a ping pong ball.  Encourage them to notice the amazing examples that God has provided us throughout creation for how to move around and the creative designs for prostheses that those examples lead to.  The kids may not have enough time to finish.  That's okay, they can keep playing on their own later!

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids about the story from Mark 2 of the man who lived with paralysis.  What are the tools he used to move around?  Well, his friends acted as his arms and legs so they were like his prostheses.  They also acted like engineers--using ropes, lumber, other tools, and physics to solve a problem.  The community worked together with this man to include him.  Jesus could not have been happier with what he saw this community do.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for all."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for All:

 “They rubbed their eyes, amazed—and then glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

From Mark 2:1-12

Science One
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Science Two

Hover Over It All

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

What should you do if your friend experiences an illness or disability?

Answer: Help

How?...

Engineer a Hovercraft

Demonstration Video: Here's a quick video that shows the science experiment being completed.  Use this video for your own information or share it with your participants.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

If you are in person:

Make sure you have gathered together these supplies for all the kids.

Our VBS testers experimented with several methods for how to make the hovercrafts, which you can see in the demonstration video. The basic design is to use either a pop or snap top from a plastic bottle as a nozzle between an old CD or DVD and an inflated balloon, so that the air can flow out the balloon, through the nozzle and out the CD/DVD hole.  The bottle top is attached to the CD/DVD with tape and the inflated balloon simply stretches over the bottle cap at it's mouth. 

We tried a snap top from a dishsoap bottle (didn't work), a snap top from an old paint bottle (didn't work), a snap top from a shampoo bottle (sort of worked), and a pop top from a waterbottle (definitely worked).  We tried both duct tape and masking tape for attaching the bottle top to the CD/DVD and both worked wonderfully, but not when we tried taping the balloon directly.  We also tried just sticking a balloon through the CD/DVD hole without the bottle top working as a nozzle, and that was not successful.  You are encouraged to experiment with the kids as well, but here are instructions for making a sure-fire hovercraft:

  1.   Take a pop top from a waterbottle and tape it to an unwanted CD or DVD.  You can tape the pop top to either side of the CD/DVD as long as the opening of the pop top is lined up with the hole in the CD/DVD.  Make sure the edge between the pop top and the CD/DVD is completely taped over.

  2. Inflate an ordinary balloon.  Do not tie the balloon but instead spin the balloon around once or twice near its mouth to keep it from losing air.

  3. Make sure the pop top is in the closed position.  Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of the pop top and let it unspin.

  4. Pop the pop top open and let the contraption go.  It will glide across the table like a hovercraft as the air escapes the balloon.

The air flowing out from the balloon moves through the nozzle and forms under the surface of the CD/DVD like a cushion.  The hovercraft glides on top of that cushion of air eliminating any friction that could have gotten in its way.

Bonus!!!!!!

With adult supervision, kids can help to create a hovercraft that they can actually ride one.  Many designs and tutorials are available on the internet.  Here's one that we like.  If your kids end up riding on a hovercraft, ask them what it feels like to be floating so freely.

After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Matthew 4 about the people who come to Jesus for help.  Many of those people were experiencing a mental illness.  They felt a lot of friction in their lives.  A lot of people in our world today experience a mental illness too.  We can help first by understanding that just like how your elbow could get hurt or your stomach could be sick, your brain can get hurt or be sick.  If that happens, you need a doctor and supporting family and friends.  What you don't need is people making fun of you for seeming different--people making extra friction in your life.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for heroes."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Heroes:

 “He taught people the truth of God—the good news of the kingdom.

Word got around.  Jesus healed them, one and all.”

From Matthew 4:19-25

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A hovercraft creates a pocket of air that allows the craft and whatever it carries to float overtop all kinds of surfaces.  Hovercrafts are amphibious which means they float over land and water without having to change at all.  The reason they're so powerful is that they create the least amount of friction possible between the craft and the surface its hovering over.  Friction makes movement difficult and can even grind some things to a halt.  

 

Activity Objectives: Today the kids are engineers.  In this activity the kids will use household items to make their own hovercrafts.  They should each be able to make their own.  In this activity you will help the kids discover how to overcome friction.

Question to Explore

If you are in person:

Show the kids this video about the remarkably simple yet powerful machine called a hovercraft.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to this awesome video about remarkably simple but powerful hovercrafts.

Real Dollars and Cents

Introduction

Remember that your goal as a leader is to provide a scaffolding to support exploration and learning through free, yet guided, play that supercharges kids' brains as they're filled up with ideas and excitement for building God's kingdom.

If you are virtual:

Share your screen and take the kids to the amazing video on this page about the secret security features of money. 

If you are in person:

Show the kids the amazing video on this page on the secret security features of paper money.   

Before you get started with the activity have everyone get out their Builder Book.  Tell them what they will be doing for science today and give them time to write down in their Builder Book a hypothesis for what will happen when they put their imagination and skills to the task.

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If you are virtual:

Make sure the kids have had time to gather these supplies.  

Poll the kids on these questions:

  • Are coins magnetic?

  • Is paper money magnetic?

Teach the kids how to state a hypothesis based on their answer such as "coins will be moved when touched by a magnet" or "paper money will not be moved when touched by a magnet."

Now encourage the kids to test their hypothesis with a magnet.  Most coins don't actually contain enough metal to be grabbed by a magnet while paper money does. 

 

Encourage participants to keep exploring with the flashlight and magnifying glass to see what they find on the paper money.  Have them explore until they find all of these things:

  • Slightly raised edges or lettering.

  • Hidden images only visible with light.

  • Secret text hidden in different areas.

  • Colors that shift as the paper moves.

Finally have the kids trace each coin on paper with the pencil.  See if they can remember which tracing represents which coin, without looking at the coins.  How are the coins designed to be detectable even without being seen?

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After completing the activity, make sure everyone awards themselves a science Builder Brick sticker on their I'm Awesome page in the Builder Book for their work in building Jesus' vision of God's Kingdom.

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Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Remind the kids of the story from Luke 8 about the woman who had been bleeding for a long time.  This woman turned to Jesus for help.  She had probably tried every healer in the area and every remedy anybody could think of.  Nothing worked.  Nothing was real.  Nothing deserved her hope of getting better.  Then Jesus came along.  She took a chance on Jesus and tried to see if he was the real deal.  One touch of his cloak and she was healed.  This healer was no fake.  This healer deserved all the hope in the world.  This healer was Jesus.  Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for hope."  Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Hope:

 “Jesus said, 'Daughter, now you’re healed and whole.

Go in Peace.  Live well, live blessed!'”

From Luke 8:40-56

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Science Three