Looking for great ideas for how to make the most of your VBS T-Shirt orders? Think you’ve seen it all? Every year we hear of new ways VBS leaders use t-shirts to make Vacation Bible School even better.
We sat down with Charif Martin, the former Children’s Ministry Coordinator at the Church at Rocky Peak, a large church in Los Angeles, to get t-shirt ideas that might take your VBS game to the next level. She gave us 5, then added a bonus you’ll definitely come to count on every year!
5 VBS T-Shirt Ideas (+ 1)
T-Shirt Decoration Nation
For years, kids have turned up the creativity by decorating their VBS t-shirts in tons of fun ways. Charif says, “The classics like beaded fringing and tie-dyeing are here to stay. But some families like to take it to the next level with new ideas that everybody will want to do next year.”
Here are some of our favorites:
- Bleach Bottle Stencils – Cut stencils of shapes that relate to your VBS theme (starfish, shells, and palm trees for Shipwrecked VBS or sports equipment for Game On VBS for example). Pin them to your shirts. Fill a small spray bottle with a mix of bleach and water. Spray a mist of bleach around the edge of your stencil for an incredible new pattern your kids will love.
- Punch-Out Iron Ons – Use some of your favorite scrapbooking punch tools or cut out shapes from the internet that fit your VBS themes. Punch or cut out fun fabric iron on patch material and give your VBS T-Shirts new dimensions.
- T-Shirt Remnant Revival – So you’ve cut up your t-shirts to make them all your own, but what to do with the left over fabric? Use it to create matching pony-tail ties, shoelaces, bracelets, and headbands. Boys doing Shipwrecked VBS will especially love a “t-shirt sleeve buff” to look just like Survivor!
Crew VBS T-Shirts
With all the tasks a VBS Coordinator has to complete, it’s easy to forget the most important of them all – making your volunteers happy! “We love our volunteers,” said Charif. “We couldn’t make VBS happen without them, so we can’t help pouring out lots of love on them all week long.” That might mean having donuts and coffee ready when they arrive, or training them well so they can have the greatest impact on the kids. “But for us, we want them to feel part of the team with t-shirts all their own.”
Special t-shirts for your adult volunteers will help the kids locate the right people when they need a helping hand, and builds a sense of team among your most important players.
Group By Colors
If you’re not already purchasing different color shirts to help break up your kid groups, Charif thinks you’re missing out on an organizational magic trick. “When we use colors to differentiate each age group, the movement of kids from station to station becomes super easy. For instance, you can put the Pre-K and Kindergarten kids in purple. No matter where they are on campus, they’re easy to spot, and easy to corral if needed. It helps everybody from the small group leaders to the song leaders keep everybody straight.”
But Charif’s favorite part is seeing all the kids together. “In a large group venue, when all the colors are together, singing and praising God, it’s really fun to see.”
Prep & Package Shirts Early
One of the big headaches for many Vacation Bible School coordinators is handing out the t-shirts on the first day during check-in. When Charif and her team decided to get ahead of the problem by pre-packaging all the shirts in the weeks ahead of VBS, they saved themselves all the usual stress. “The key is to be organized so you can get them all out in a timely manner.”
They ordered all their shirts to arrive no later than a week before VBS so that they could arrange the sizes, package the shirts for each kid along with their medical forms and other first day items. That way when the kids arrived, their VBS package was ready and waiting. No more digging through boxes for one more medium. With just a little planning, you can turn Day One into “Day Fun.”
T-Days Are T-Shirt Wash Days
Wearing stinky t-shirts is no fun. Sure, the kids don’t notice, but the Moms and adult volunteers do! But for many families, doing a load of laundry every night can be a burden, not to mention a waste of water. So here’s a fun way to conserve time, water, and Mom’s sanity. “We tell everybody that T-Days are wash days,” said Charif. “That is Tuesday and Thursday, everybody should wash their shirts. Of course, some Moms can’t help themselves, but for the most part, this makes the stress of VBS a little less hectic for many of our families. And since we make a big deal about it in front of the kids, it ensures that the shirts DO get washed at least twice during the week.”
Bonus Tip: Order Extra
Just before we said goodbye, Charif thought of one more way you could make your VBS t-shirt experience the best ever. “Make sure you have a few extra of each size to exchange out for those that ordered the wrong size. Also people love to have extras on hand so they don’t have to wear the same shirt every day.”
We’re not including this tip to get you to spend more on shirts. Honest. In fact if we can get you to the next price break, we know you’ll save money and headaches – EVERY TIME. So don’t be afraid to have a few extra shirts on hand.