Clever Decorating Ideas for “Spirit of the Seas” VBS Week

Spirit Of The Seas Stand-UpsReady to plan a few exciting voyages aboard the magnificent Spirit of the Seas? Wherever you and your VBS crew are headed, you can make it an unforgettable adventure. These simple ideas will help you set the scene for your ocean adventure.

All Aboard
You’ll want to start by preparing a dock for your VBS shipmates.  Look for a pre-printed coastal scene to cover the walls, otherwise, you can use rolls of light blue paper for the sky and dark blue paper for the wide-open ocean. Cover the ground with varying shades of brown paper for the dirt and set out stepping stones to create a cobblestone path for your crew to follow. Make boarding the Spirit of the Seas an extra special event by creating signs out of cardboard that say, “All Aboard the Spirit o’ the Seas Maiden Voyage” or “Follow the path to High Adventure!”

Kick start the fun by giving each child a set amount of chocolate coins they can use to “purchase” costume accessories from the dock’s vendors such as pirate hats, bandanas, hooks, telescopes, fake earrings, jewelry and temporary tattoos. Create vendor stations by setting up tables with tablecloths and store signs made from cardboard or foam board.

For additional decorations, ask friends and grocery stores to donate some large potato or grain sacks. Fill each sack with sand or newspapers and label each one with a trade good of the time like “Sugar” or “Spices.”

Now, you have the sights set, but what about the sounds? There’s nothing like a good sea shanty to hoist the sails to and begin your voyage! Complete your dock atmosphere with a CD soundtrack filled with ocean waves and seagulls.

Once your little landlubbers are geared up and ready to hoist the sails, you can guide them to the correct ship. If your VBS location has a lengthy hallway, then keep their imaginations running by creating a gangplank with strips of cheap lumber like plywood. If you’re working with a smaller budget, brown colored paper, poster board or foam board on the ground works just as well. Let your Spirit of the Seas crew make a grand entrance onto their boat through streamers or plastic ribbons hanging from the doorframe.

Ship Design 101
First, decide how big your ship is going to be. Depending on the size of your area and your VBS class, you may be able to get away with putting up only half of a ship. If that’s the case, think about making the other half of your room the ocean to show off a plethora of delightful undersea characters!

Prepare your ship by asking a neighborly home supply store if they would donate discarded cardboard refrigerator boxes or other large appliance boxes to construct your boat with. Paint the material or wrap the cardboard pieces in brown paper or plastic. To make it more authentic, cut or paint portholes and cannon windows on the sides of the ship. For a more advanced look, paint cannons in your windows and cut out a hole in the center of each muzzle. Then place a fog machine behind it to create a smoking cannon that will even amaze everyone. Easily create cannonballs by wadding up paper from newspapers or magazines and wrapping the ball in black electrical tape. Make your cannonballs small black water balloons for a fun outdoor activity! Use metal pails to contain your cannonballs so they don’t roll all over the place. For your ship’s finishing touches, if you have pillars in your room, wrap them in netting or rope and adorn them with shells, fish and fake seaweed or tape large white sheets to the pillars to resemble sails.

No matter where you’re teaching or telling stories, give your VBS crew authentic places to sit and listen. Spray-painted milk crates and even small barrels work very well as sturdy seats. Or, if you’re having trouble finding crates and barrels, have their undersea friends join them on their journey by enlarging and cutting out fun sea creature shapes out of foam board and adhering them to the sides of a simple metal folding chair with strong tape.

Adventure Awaits
Kids love exploring, so now that we have your ship decorated we can start creating other areas for your kids to discover! And what’s more fun than uncovering buried or sunken treasure?

Transform a spare room into a cave of forgotten treasures your crew can haul back to their ship by hanging a black cloth or strips of plastic from the door frame so your kids can’t see in. Then open up cardboard boxes and tape them together, end-to-end, to create a mysterious tunnel your crew must crawl through. Once inside, they’ll find the room’s walls decorated with plastic sheets of rock designs. In the room, place plastic treasure chests or a few spray-painted and ornately designed shoeboxes overflowing with beads, chocolate coins, plastic gold colored goblets, large fake diamonds and any other “treasures” buried slightly in real sand. Perhaps they’ll find messages in bottles or treasure maps that lead them to more forgotten treasures or undersea adventures!

While it may sound difficult, creating an undersea world is actually very simple. Attach nets to the ceiling filled with as many sea colored balloons as you can fit. Adhere seashells and fake seaweed to the walls and nets while putting ocean-themed tablecloths around the walls and over the tables. On the tables fill large dishes with blue gelatin desert and with fish-shaped crackers or gummies to add some life to your atmosphere. Add a bubble machine to complete a magnificent under water wonderland kids will love.

Keep in mind you don’t have to follow our ideas completely.  Hopefully, we’ve inspired you with enough ideas to chart your own corse. If you’re stuck, try looking at your decorations through a child’s eyes and always remember to just have fun!

Now that decorating is complete, consider some crowd-pleasing activities for your Spirit of the Seas VBS theme.