Great Big Beautiful World is an interactive vacation Bible school curriculum where children explore, celebrate, and care for God’s good creation! The five Bible stories in this VBS lead children on an awesome adventure through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Through worship and drama, Bible study, nature-themed art projects and snacks, active games, and science explorations, children will discover God’s love for all of creation. They will be challenged to care for God’s world in tangible ways—both during VBS and at home.
It begins with the creation story in Genesis 2 and includes psalms, stories of Jesus, and the vision of a new heaven and new earth in Revelation. This comprehensive look at the biblical story reveals God’s deep love for all of creation, including each child. Great Big Beautiful World invites children to see the ways God cares for the earth and challenges them to be part of caring for and preserving the created world.
Each day starts with relationship-building, joint worship, music, prayer, and a dramatic presentation of the Bible story. This is a time to SOW seeds of friendship, joy, generosity, and wisdom. These seeds will GROW as children explore, create, play, and learn about God’s story at three response stations. In closing worship, children will be challenged to GO out into the world to care for the beautiful world God made.
Children in grades K–5 will see Bible stories come to life in the dramas during worship time, and will reflect on them during three response times: Bible Study Response, Active Games, and Art & Science Response.
Preschoolers ages 4–5 may participate in worship with the older children or have their own worship time. They too will share in the Bible story and engage in crafts, games, and other activities.
This theme provides content for five flexible sessions, from as short as one hour to over three hours each day. Scroll right to see all five days.
|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5|
God Tends the Earth
God's Kingdom Is Like a Seed
We Are Like Trees
A New Creation
|Scripture||Genesis 2:4b–23||Psalm 104:10–30||Mark 4:26–32||Psalm 52:8–9; Psalm 92:12–15; Jeremiah 17:7–8||Revelation 21:1–4; 22:1–5|
|Laudato Si'||#62-69, 75||#10-12, 72, 76-92||#96-100||#72-73, 84-88, 213, 237||#100, 209-215, 243-245|
|Description||From the dust, God formed and breathed life into a person. Then God made every tree and a river that flowed from Eden. God planted a garden in Eden as a home for all created things. God gave instructions to care for the garden and to eat the fruit from every tree except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God made all the animals and brought them to the person to be named. While the man slept, God took one of his ribs and created a woman as a helper and companion.||The psalmist praised God for an amazing world where birds sing in trees, grass grows for cattle, human beings harvest food from the earth, mountain goats live in high mountains, rabbits hide safely among rocks, and young lions roar. Innumerable creatures, large and small, live in the seas. God sends water for all creatures and makes moon and sun to mark the seasons and the days. All things look to God for life and food.||Jesus told two parables about God’s kingdom. The kingdom is as if someone scatters seed. The seed grows, without the farmer understanding how. The earth does its work—stalk first, then head, and grain. The farmer harvests the grain when it is ripe. The kingdom is also like a tiny mustard seed. It becomes the greatest of all shrubs with large branches where birds can safely nest in its shade.||Those who trust in God are like trees planted by water, sending out roots by a stream. They aren’t afraid of heat or drought. They never cease to bear fruit. The psalmists wrote of being like a tree, trusting in the constant love of God always. The righteous flourish, producing fruit all their days.||In John’s vision, there is a new heaven and a new earth. God will live among people, and death and pain will be no more. The angel showed John the river of the water of life. The Tree of Life is near the river, producing twelve kinds of fruit each month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The people of God will see God’s face. God will be their light and they will reign forever.|
|Seed of Faith||God created a beautiful world.||God cares for all creation.||We are part of God’s growing kingdom.||We can trust in God’s love.||God will make all things new.|
Overview of the VBS and guidelines for orchestrating the process. Includes a planning chart, sample schedules, tips for working with staff/volunteers, forms, Bible backgrounds, snack ideas, a book list, a letter to parents, guidelines for inviting children to faith, and more.Preview
Full guide for all aspects of VBS for younger children (ages 4-5). Makes suggestions for full daily schedules, including snack ideas, Bible sessions, activities, crafts, books, song/motion suggestions, and more.Preview
Full guide for leading Worship & Drama sessions for each day, including gathering (introducing theme, opening prayer, etc.), worshiping (prayer, song, Bible verse, drama), responding (offering project), and sending (schedule review, blessing, and song)Preview
Full guide for leading interactive activities & games each day, including advance preparation, session plan, material list, step-by-step instructions, and debrief.Preview
Full guide for leading Bible Response sessions for each day, including Biblical background information, materials list, advance preparation, session plan, and suggestions for teaching Bible memory verses.Preview
Full guide for leading craft sessions for each day, including Biblical background, materials list, advance preparation, snack ideas, and debrief.Preview
Full-color 24-page 8½" x 11" activity booklet for grades K-5, including puzzles and other interactive activities.Preview
Full-color 16-page 8½" x 11" activity booklet for ages 4-5, including a retelling of the Bible story for each day, puzzles, and other interactive activities. Send this booklet home so parents can follow up with their children!Preview
Customize and post these 11" x 17" posters around your parish or around town.
Hang these above each of the key areas.
Engaging letters to keep parents in the loop and coach them on how to follow up with their children each day.
Featuring the music of Jesse Manibusan, Bryan Sirchio, and Oregon Catholic Press
Catholic composer, singer/songwriter, storyteller, humorist, catechist, evangelizer and encourager Jesse Manibusan leads our music and offers two songs for this theme.
The eResource (downloadable) starter kit includes:
The physical starter kit includes:
In addition, purchase inexpensive bulk audio CDs to send home with families, so they can continue to sing the VBS songs!
|Downloadable Starter Kit||Physical Starter Kit + Downloadable|
|Leader guide with permission to reproduce||Online access||Physical binder|
|Child booklets (preschool & elementary)||Online preview*||Physical sample copies*|
|Invitation Posters||Online access||2 copies|
|Area Posters||Online access||1 copy of each|
|Music audio||Online access (MP3s)**||on USB drive**|
|Music sing-along videos||Online access||on USB drive|
|Music files (lead sheets, motions, lyrics)||Online access||In physical binder|
*Child booklets are not reproducible. If you choose to use these optional components, please buy one copy for each child from us (see below).
**Music from starter kits may not be reproduced and distributed to participants and their families. If you wish to do so, please buy the very affordable bulk-priced audio CDs or MP3 download cards from us (see below).
This program is a collaboration between The Pastoral Center and Shine. Adapted and reprinted with permission from Great Big Beautiful World. © 2020 Shine Curriculum, Harrisonburg, VA 22803. All rights reserved.