Handwork (crafts) has been a vital part of VBS since the beginning. Back in 1926, when this information was first printed, Bible schools were typically four weeks in duration and the crafts required multiple days or weeks to complete. Times have certainly changed and we now give much less time to crafts as well as VBS. Whether the craft required 10 hours back then or 20 minutes today, the reasons we include crafts remain the same. Actually, these reasons apply to recreation as well. So, the next time someone ask why you are wasting valuable time by including crafts or recreation you have four great reasons.
Supposing then, that just as many children will attend (VBS) without as with handwork, and that its absence simplifies the program, requires fewer teachers, less work and expense, what is the justification?
THE PUPILS ENJOY IT
The pupils in all departments get a great deal of pleasure out of it; and one of the larger purposes of the school is to help the children have a good, wholesome, happy time. Children like to do things. They have strong creative impulses. They look forward to the last period each day when they can give an outlet to these impulses in the making of things either for themselves or for others.
IT HAS FINE TEACHING VALUES
Handwork has many fine teaching values. Much of it can be closely related to the themes of the daily programs. Frequently, the work done – such as posters, map making, clay models, cut-outs and so forth – can be made to supplement and illustrate other work.
IT HAS CHARACTER VALUES
It can be made of great value in character training. It may be a project in which a group are working together; or it may be that groups of two or three work together on an object, — in either case learning to do team work and how to live together. Much of the handwork made in Vacation schools is for others; in no school should the pupils make things only for themselves. The handwork, therefore, develops in a very fine and practical way the spirit of unselfishness and altruism.
IT IS INHERENTLY EDUCATIONAL
Handwork is educational in and of itself. If the teachers will carefully plan the work and see that certain fundamental rules are carried out, the actual making of things is of great practical value. Handwork can be utilized in helping to form good habits and in training the hand, head and heart to work together in worth-while activities.
We’re celebrating 90 – that’s 90 years of providing the very best VBS curriculum, resources, and training – by going to the archives for ideas and advice that is just as relevant today as the day it was first printed. This post is an excerpt from The Daily Vacation Bible School Guide by Homer L. Grice, 1926.