|An all-group gathering
where you play Banana Games and prepare kids for learning.
(50 -60 minutes)
1. The Bongo Loves the Bible Computer Workshop ...which uses
the Bongo CD.
2. The Bongo
Goes Bonkers for
the Bible Workshop ...which focuses on teaching key
Bible concepts and navigational skills through activities
3. Bongo's Bible Baking
Workshop ...which teaches that the Bible should be
part of our daily diet!
4) Additional Workshops
can be added if needed. See list below.
You'll split your
group and send kids to one workshop per day.
| Optional. Add a
meal or snacktime.
| Worship and Music,
which focuses, among other things, on learning the song
"Thy Word" (is a lamp unto my feet...)
Bongo's workshops are not
'stations' or quickie activities like you see in some VBS
currics. Each class is a full
lesson time with Bible study and a full activity. It will
take a full 50 minutes to do each, and perhaps up to
60 minutes. Our learning activities are fun.
See an alternate schedule of
workshop at the end of this document. It shows schedule
modifications and additional days.
Scaling and Customizing:
Rotation model churches will
recognized the extreme flexibility of scheduling you can
achieve by rotating students between workshops like we do
here in Bongo's Bible School lessons. This
document contains the lesson plans for THREE workshops and
lesson sketches for two more. Read on!
The default configuration presented here is for three groups of kids
over a three day period, with about 12 kids in each group.
You can easily adjust that to four groups and four days with
our "Additional Workshops" section far below.
No matter how many groups or
days you have, you'll schedule
your workshops to run simultaneously each day. Each day,
your groups will switch to a new workshop. The TEACHER,
however, will not rotate. They'll teach the same lesson each
day, getting better and better at it.
You can add a fourth day with
an all-group activity (two are suggested below), or a fourth
The only workshop that is AGE
SENSITIVE is the computer workshop. Just make sure you have
teens helping. The little guys love to play Bongo software,
they just need help.
Ideally, you want no more
than 15 kids per learning group, 12 would be better, otherwise you'll
overwhelm the workshop activity. At the bottom of this doc,
you'll see some creative scheduling options for those
expecting more than 40 kids.
is the easiest part of Bongo's Bible School! ...and the most fun.
Create your Jungle
atmosphere with "tiki party supplies" found in online catalogs,
such as Oriental Trading Company and Anderson's Prom supplies.
==> Grass skirts, lanterns, cardboard palm trees, stone walls,
blow-up monkeys, netting, cardboard birds. You can also make
"grass skirting" by tattering kraft paper. Decorate
tables with brown paper covers. Write verses and ideas on
them. Have a Senior High
download jungle sounds off the web and mix you a CD to play in
the background. Assemble "jungle stuffed animals" around
the workshops, ...inviting the kids to bring in their stuffed
animals. Order enough blow-up monkeys to hang from the ceiling
and give one away to each child at the end of VBS. Create a
Jungle Snack Booth with "bug juice", banana chips, and jungle
gummy worms in dirt (oreos) etc etc. Don't forget to
decorate the computers!
Yes, you can find inexpensive
blow-up monkeys on the net! Some really big ones too. How
fun is that?
The nice thing about this
theme is you can re-use the decorating supplies for a future
party, or use them to permanently JUNGLE-IZE a classroom,
such as your computer lab.
Here are the lesson sketches for
three Bongo workshops. Teachers will want to flesh them out
The Bongo Loves the Bible Computer Workshop
Bring in borrowed laptops, or use your computer lab, or
use the office computers for a great centerpiece
workshop featuring Bongo, the little orange orangutan
hero of "Bongo Love the Bible CD"
from Sunday Software.
Choose which of the four Bongo games from the Bongo
Loves the Bible CD (Sunday Software). I suggest
either the Bongo Needs the Bible game (also known as
"the game in the cave") which teaches how the Bible
describes itself (lamp and light, for example), or....
the Bongo Knows the Bible game (also known as the Jungle
game with the four possible levels of knowledge), which
introduces players to Basic Bible content and structure
that every young person should know. Younger children
will need help.
Preview the game and print the teacher's guide from
Introduce the game
and game controls to your students.
Make sure children
have the printed Bongo Student Guide to their game
and make sure younger children have help.
Play the Game. Give them about
30 minutes. (The content is in the game! See our
Bongo resources for lists of all the content)
After the game,
discuss these questions:
For Bongo Needs the
Bible (cave game)
- Name all the metaphors found in the game for God's Word.
- How is the Word of God like a lamp or a light to us in our daily
- Give each child a small free flashlight. Decorate it with the
phrase, "The Word of God".
(Online companies like Oriental Trading co sell bags of
For Bongo Knows the Bible (jungle game)
- What are some of the real "pitfalls" (distractions) we face while
trying to follow the Word?
ie, "things that keep us from following God's Word."
"What things distract you from reading your Bibles?"
|2. The "Bongo Goes Bonkers for
the Bible" Workshop
This lesson has three fun
parts and needs about 60 minutes to complete. If you
don't have that much time, break out the Bible Ribbon
project as a separate "all group" activity.
of the Bible
Ribbons for the Pews Project
ONE: How to Split Your
Bible to find things:
Using standard pew Bibles, you'll teach the kids how to
quickly find key sections of scripture. This is both a
demonstration by the teacher with a constant patter, and
a "do like me" practice session. Take your time and have
kids practice it several times. (5 minutes)
1. Split your Bibles
in half. What book are you in? Split it slightly to
the left of center and in most printed Bibles you
should be in Psalms.
2. After splitting
your Bible in half, hold the right half and split
it. You should now be in Matthew in most Bibles.
(Help children to gauge their "splitting"
accurately). Split the left half of the Bible, where
are you now? In most printed Bibles, the Pentateuch
(first 5 books) should be in your left side split.
TWO: Bible Timeline Game
Download and play the free Bible Timeline Card Game from
This pdf includes a set of color playing cards that have
images and text of major events in the Bible. Really a
nice set and fun game, and focuses on "the majors".
As you play, be prepared to make comments about each
THREE: Activity: Make Bible
Ribbon Markers (20 minutes)
These Bible markers can be made for the kids to take
home, or used in all the Bibles in Sunday School, and
even for all the Bibles in the sanctuary. They encourage
children to look-up and mark scriptures when they get
into class or worship. Adults will appreciate the
markers too. Test this ahead of time on the Bible's
you'll be creating markers for so that you know the
exact length and size of markers to make.
colorful ribbon to be about 3 to 4 inches longer as
the Bible you are going to be marking. The teacher
at this point will need to quickly pass one end of
each ribbon through a flame to melt the synthetic
ribbon fibers so they don't unravel later. Practice
this ahead of time and do not burn or over melt the
2. Cut a piece of
fabric into 3/4 inch squares. Lay the three ends of
the ribbon on top of each other and wrap them with
the square of fabric. Staple the fabric and ribbons
together. You've now created a fabric "plug" which
can be shoved down into the binding of a Bible. Put
a dab of glue on top of the stapled fabric end and
gently insert it down into the Bible's binding using
a flat object (such as a tongue depressor).
Make sure it goes down at least one inch, and make
sure the other ends of the ribbon are long enough to
stick out from the pages of the Bible by at least 2
inches. Immediately wipe off any excess glue.
People will be amazed
how good they look! And appreciate that the
kids did it themselves.
I'm often asked "do
you know of any How
the Bible Came to Be
videos, and the answer is..."why haven't the
publishers been making them!" Well, one has of
sorts. The What's in the Bible? DVD series I
recommend has some content on "how the Bible came to
be written, when, how, etc" tucked away in the first
part of the Genesis video in that series. Subsequent
videos in the series include "about the book" and
timeline presentations about that DVDs Bible book
done in a lively format. For more information, see
|3. "Bongo's Bible Bakery"
Bread is one of the major
metaphors that the Bible and Christians have used to
describe the Word of God. It is a basic daily food.
Everyone needs it. It rises with leaven. It's tasty. It
travels well. It can be shared. In this workshop, the
kids will make fast baking bread for themselves, and
some to share. In the Bible study, you're going to give
kids a new way of thinking about the phrase "Daily
Bread" in the Lord's Prayer.
Begin with Bible Study.
Then make the bread.
Conclude by eating your daily bread while reinforcing
points made in the study.
Bible verse for study:
When you pray, "Give
us this day, our daily bread", now that you know
"bread" can mean "word", in what ways does God provide
us with his daily WORD? In discussing this answer, talk
to the kids about how we prepare a meal, and prepare to
sit down and eat it everyday. What would a "snack on the
go" of God's Word look like? How does sharing a
meal together differ from eating it by yourself?
(Benefits?) Look at the parts of a meal, what
Words from God are like vegetables? desert?
The aim of this Bible
verse study is to give kids a NEW WAY to think of that
line from the Lord's Prayer.
There are hundreds of
bread recipes, and you can look for others. But I needed
one that assembles and bakes within 30 minutes. Here it
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar + 3/4 tablespoon cinnamon for
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl
and mix well. Add water and olive oil and mix until a
dough forms, using your hands at the end. Form it into a
bowl. Dust a baking sheet with flour and roll the dough
as thin as you can with a rolling pin. Sprinkle cinnamon
sugar mixture all over top and cut with a pizza slicer
into small or large "Bible" shaped crackers. Bake for 10
minutes, or until golden and crisp. Let cool completely.
The cooking time is your
additional discussion time. Do it right in the kitchen
where the wonderful smells will form a lasting memory.
sharing the cinnamon bread, share some different kinds
of bread, in particular, something with heavy texture,
and something dry and tough. Discuss how different
scriptures have different tastes. Some are sweet, some
are tough, some are more nourishing for certain
circumstances. Some breads are dry, but as you eat them,
they are delicious, or travel well in tough times. Have
a set of popular verses ready, read them aloud and ask
kids to vote what kind of "bread" they are like. Return
to your focus on the importance of DAILY bread and
discuss how students could remember to study God's word
on a daily basis. Remember to save some bread to share!
...because that too is what we do with our Daily
bread... give it away every day. How do we share the
Word everyday? (by what we do and say)
Additional Workshops can
be added if needed. See list below.
Note from Neil about Lesson
Development & Detail
When it comes to lesson plans and teaching concept for kids, I
believe in keeping them simple and focused. I don't believe in
providing lesson plans with long speeches. That's your job :-)
I come from the Workshop Rotation Model approach to such things,
--believing that good teachers naturally add-to a basic lesson
plan, and that pastors/leaders should go over them with their
teachers, adding content, keypoints they want to make, and extra
questions to ask. Rotation modelers also recognize that the
FIRST time a teacher leads the workshop, it is a bit of a
dry-run. But by the second day when the second group comes, and
the teacher already knows how to improve and enhance the lesson,
and begin to add comments and questions. The kids change after
workshop #1 as well, picking up on your theme and concepts from
the other activities, worship, lessons. A lesson plan is a
You've also noticed that unlike
traditional VBS currics, we're not giving you a list of
scripture verses for each day. That's due to the nature of the
content itself. Other than the "Daily Bread" line which is
quoted in Worship and Bongo's Bakery Workshop, the Bongo Loves
the Bible CD teaches a bunch of scripture verses in its games.
This, and the Bonkers Workshop focuses on the grand
story/structure of the Bible itself, and the Worship song "Thy
Word" is a collection of scriptural images from the Psalms. If
you want to grab Bibles and point out all these many references,
go for it!
These are crowdbreaker games for when the kids
The Famous Banana Relay Game
(one of my all-time favorite crowdbreakers). Divide the
group into teams of 5 to 10 players each. Have each team sit
in chairs that are lined up to form a row. Hand a banana to
the last person in the row. On "go" teams pass the banana up
the row as fast as they can. When the banana reaches the
first person in the row (also known as, the Captain Banana
Eater), the Captain runs as fast as they can across the room
and back to the end of their team's row of chairs. While
they were gone, the team has moved up one chair so that the
back chair is now empty. This is where the captain sits. The
banana passing process begins again up to the next person in
the front of the line (everyone must touch it, it
cannot be tossed). The new 'first person' in the row runs
across the room and comes back to the end of their team's
line, and so on and so on, --until the original Captain
Banana Eater has now made their way back up to the first
chair again. When the banana reaches the Captain for the
second time, they must peel and eat it and show their empty
mouth to the referee. You can easily play this game
twice. It's a lot of fun.
Sid the Surf Mummy Game
Sid the Surf Mummy is a character in the Bongo Loves the
Bible CD. He's very friendly. Split your group into teams of
3, designating one person in each group as "The Sid". Give
the other two kids a roll of toilet paper. On the count of
three, have the two wrap up their teammate and see who makes
the best "Sid the Surf Mummy." For excitement, only give
each team 1 minute. Then go to each Sid and ask them to do
their best mummy impression. Do three rounds of this so
everyone gets to be Sid. Keep score and give the winning
team a pack of toilet paper prize.
Catch the Word
This game is based on
Bongo's treasure chest which is found at the end of each
game in Bongo's software. The treasure chest spits out "the word"
for extra points. You're going to do this with either water
balloons or tennis balls launched by some of your
favorite teens. Each of the balloons or tennis balls
have special point values written on them, some say "word"
for extra points. Play this in teams, meaning, it's not
every kid for themselves, but a player catching a balloon or
ball is catching points for their team. First team to
Lava! Jungle! Lake!
This is exactly the same as the very popular "Poopdeck,
Quarterdeck, Maindeck" game, only we're using three places
from the Bongo game. To Play: Create a playing area
consisting of three squares on the floor, each square about
10x10. Use tape or rope to make the boxes. The entire
group starts by standing in the middle Jungle square. The
GameLeader stands on a chair and yells out either "Lava, Jungle, or Lake", and all
the kids must scramble to get into that square. The last one in
the square gets a LETTER drawn on them with a washable
marker. First one to get all the letters in BONGO ends the game and everyone gets to start again without any
letters. Keep it moving. In small groups you
can play this as an elimination game, but you need to move fast to keep
everyone who's 'out' interested. ***Now here's the fun twist: The GameLeader
tells the kids to ONLY GO where he says, and
not where he points, ...but when he yells
"Lake" he points to Lava, and hilarity
ensues as some kids go the wrong direction. Makes the game a lot
of fun, and may even have a Bible point: "listen for the Word of God
and do not be deceived".
Game area layout:
- Opening Song: "Thy Word"
- Prayers for the Day =including prayers
from the kids, and including the Lord's Prayer...especially the
"Daily Bread" line.
- Scripture Skit
- Message from the Pastor
- Closing Song
Bongo Worship Time is
approximately 20-25 minutes long and can include announcements,
prayers, singing, and skits. To organize it, bring in your
pastor, Worship Leaders, music people, and other volunteers to "divide
Thy Word ...the Amy Grant/Michael
W. Smith version is great to teach to kids. Teach them the lyrics, and
take time to discuss some of the key ideas. If you can, demonstrate the
importance of having a lamp for your feet! This is going to be the
THEME SONG for your Bongo VBS.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path
When I feel afraid, And think I've lost my way
Still, You're there right beside me
Nothing will I fear, As long as You are near
Please be near me to the end
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path
I will not forget, Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering
Jesus by my guide, And hold me to Your side
And I will love You to the end
Nothing will I fear, As long as You are near, Please be near me to the
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path
And a light unto my path
....You're the light unto my path
For extra worship-time Bible study, invite the pastor or
a creative teacher to illustrate each verse, one per day. You can
download this song from various online sources, hear/see it on youtube,
and easily find the sheet music for performance if needed. Help
children understand how a "lamp" worked in non-electrical times, its
importance, and other related biblical images (such as, when Jesus said
"don't hide your lamp under a bushel"...which is to say, God's Word is
something WE can shine and share with others. Oh the possibilities in
B-I-B-L-E (yes that's the book for me)
A Books of the Bible Song (there are many, and your
church probably already owns one and may have a DVD video of one to
Some of the "Songs about the Bible" for children are pretty
juvenile. Your older children will probably balk at singing some of them.
Instead, I would pick a familiar hymn about The Word which the kids are
likely to encounter in your sanctuary, walk through it, explain
images, and playing it with a bit of a beat and fun motions. Start
by looking in the index at the BACK of your church's hymnbook.
Assemble an adult and a kid who are natural hams to follow these simple skits in worship.
Invite the pastor to offer brief commentary and conclusion to the kids
after the skit.
Each skit here uses a technique
that frees up the actors/kids from using scripts. The script is
written out for the narrator, and the 'actor' fills in the
action, doing whatever the narrator describes, repeating what
the narrator says. It can be very fun to watch. As the narrator,
you throw in miscellaneous things for the actor to do as they
deliver the words you are narrating. For example, if you say "he
got out of bed" you add "very slowly" and then add, "placing
fluffy his stuffed sheep on the pillow before he left."
1) EMBARRASSED BOY: The boy who hid from his friends the fact that he studied the Bible
and went to church because he didn't want to look uncool. Example: Narrator:
"Johnny Cool he was no fool, he got out of bed and went to Bongo
Bible School. ("Time to get up!") First he brushed his hair and
brushed his teeth. (Brush brush) Then he swallowed down some
toast. (swallow), then some eggs (swallow), then two bowls of
cereal (swallow, swallow) and said "Good bye Mom" (bye mom!) and
went out the door. That's when he realized he had forgotten to
get dressed. (Yikes) He ran back in side and got dressed. Said
Hi Mom, Bye Mom, (Hi Mom, Bye Mom) and went to church. He
thought Jesus was cool ("hey, Jesus is cool")....etc etc.
Jumping ahead in your script idea, the narrator now takes Johnny through several
"excuse scenarios" for why he didn't admit to going to church
and caring about the Bible. One of his friends says the Bible is
for nerds. Another says he doesn't have time, or doesn't think
it's real. The narrator has Johnny say various things in
response. (In one version of this excercise, we stopped and had
people submit what they think Johnny should say to his
anti-Bible friends. It was fun and effective). Then the narrator
has Johnny stand, stand bravely, stand as if the entire world
needed to hear his words, throw out his chest, raise his hand,
and shout the words, "I know some people think Jesus is lame!
But I know he loves me and gave his life for me, and if I can't
give him 10 minutes a day or part of my Sunday to say thanks and
to listen to his advice, then it is ME who is the REAL lame
2) JESUS OBEYS: Jesus resists the temptation to
take care of his own needs and temptations, and
decides to just obey God's Word. You'll do this like the skit above and
base your script on Luke 4,
the temptation in the wilderness. Instead of putting Jesus on the
pinnacle of the Temple, you'll put him on the top of the
church's steeple. Instead of making stones into bread, he'll be
tempted with making stones into your local favorite fast food
place. etc etc. Jesus will answer the narrator devil with more
than one sentence answers, --and speak like "dude, are you
serious? Why should I disobey God just for a burger and fries
with mayo, ketchup and tomato? I mean, it doesn't even have
cheese! ... Conclusion: Jesus showed us that God's
word is worth everything.
3) OPPOSITE GIRL: The girl who read her Bible everyday, and then went out and did
the opposite of what her daily Bible reading said to do. You'll do this
in the same format as the above readings... having the narrator
lead an actor through the motions. The storyline is something
like: "Elise is at home in bed, gets up to read a Bible verse
about forgiving others, then runs into her brother downstairs
and pounds him for messing with her ipod. On her way to school,
a Bible verse bookmark from church reminds her to seek kindness
and walk humbly. But when she gets to her locker she passes by a
kid being bullied, then brags to a friend that she's a better
cheerleader than that girl is. etc etc.
Promise: I'm going to write
out these skits by the end of the month and post them here.
This may be an EXCELLENT TIME to
discern WHO has Bibles at home, and Bible storybooks. Many children do
not, so let me make a suggestion: Invite SENIORS in the congregation to
"sponsor a Bible storybook" for a child in your VBS. Look at the
American Bible Society website for some great choices in quantity, and
Christianbooks.com for deals. Extravagant? Hardly. It's our job to teach
the Word of God, and that means getting it into their hands at home
too. Dear Pastor, this is also an excellent opportunity to hand out
some age-appropriate Bibles to visiting children. Do this when their
parent comes to pick them up.
THE MODEST Offer:
I want to back you up on this, and put my
money where my mouth is, so if you want to give a copy of my Bongo CD to
your kids, email me at
I'll give you a very special low price on my Bongo Loves the Bible CD.
This offer is good only if your church is using Bongo CD.
Imagine: kids studying the Bible at home!
|Additional Workshops and
Add a DRAMA workshop...
where kids create and videotape their TV Commercials for the
Bible. (think of those info-mercials! Acts Now and
we'll send you two Bibles! ...one to keep and one to share!)
Add an ART workshop... where kids make a Mezuzzah
...a wooden box containing a scripture scroll which goes on your door frame.
EXAMPLE of a FOUR GROUP
(For Five groups, add a fifth
day and either a fifth workshop, or an "all group" workshop,
such as video.)
4 Day, 4 Group
Graphics for Publicity
posted two higher resolution versions of the graphic seen here and at
the top of this page. You're welcome to use them.
Click one of these links, and then RIGHT
click the image that loads to 'save as' somewhere on your computer.
If you need a graphic modified
for you, email
In many areas, the local zoo,
local "travelling petting zoos" and local pet owners will bring animals to your event,
including monkeys. Check the yellow pages and call your
As part of your event, you could also schedule a
TRIP TO THE LOCAL ZOO. Include a Bible study in the lunch
pavilion which features scripture about animals, including
Genesis 1 where God's Word gives us responsibility for the
Nametags that do not fly
off the kids....
NameBadger software to
register your kids and let them
print their NAMETAGS as they arrive. The name badge roll used
in thermal printers is EXTRA STICKY, so you won't have
"Hello My Name Is" flying off your kids as they move around.
Sneaky Bonus: When they print their tags, NameBadger also registers their
Learn more at
|Why is this free and who wrote it?
Bongo's Vacation Bongo School was written by Neil MacQueen,
Sunday Software's owner, a Presbyterian minister, Christian educator, author, and the
developer of Bongo Loves the Bible CD (among other software).
I have 25+ years of Sunday School and VBS experience and
have written several VBS' for my own churches over the years.
As a Rotation Model enthusiast and supporter, I enjoy giving away my written resources.
And seriously, I'm
serious about that offer I made above to give the Bongo CD to
your kids at a heavy discount so they can play it at home. Just
Bongo Loves the Bible CD System Requirements:
Minimum: 800 mhz,
256 mb RAM, 16 mb videoram
(3D capable accelerated graphics).
Recommended minimum: 1.2+ mhz, 1gb RAM, 32 mb videocard.
Or go to
the Bongo CD page