Math = Love: Kingdom Adventure - Castle Themed VBS Decorations

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kingdom Adventure - Castle Themed VBS Decorations

High school math teacher is just one of the growing number of hats that I wear.  This will be the third year that I serve as Vacation Bible School Director (VBS) for my church.  I guess it's a role that I kinda grew into.  I've been going to the same church since the summer after I completed the 4th grade.  The first time my family visited this church was actually for VBS.  That led to an invitation to church camp, and long story short, we never left.  The summer after I finished the 7th grade, I started volunteering as a helper during VBS.  And, my role has only grown since then.  Now, I'm in charge of organizing volunteers, emceeing our programs, and making sure everything runs smoothly.

Since I attend a very small church, we have to make a lot of modifications to make purchased curriculum materials work for us.  So, for the past few years, we have created our own curriculum.
Last year, our theme was Kingdom Adventure.  And, we spent the week exploring the stories of various kings and queens in the bible.  This year, our theme is River of Life.  We will be studying four water-themed stories: Baby Moses, Crossing the Red Sea, The Woman at the Well, and Jesus' Baptism.  As I've been desperately searching Pinterest for river/water-themed decoration ideas, I realized that I should share the decorations we made last year with the world.

So, this isn't math.  But, this my blog.  And, my life revolves around more than math (hard to believe, I know!), so it would make sense that this blog would, too.  So, if you're not in the mood to see our medieval / kingdom themed decorations, come back tomorrow for something different!

We taped flags to each post in the sanctuary.  And, the walls were lined with shields made out of cardboard, aluminum foil, and shiny wrapping paper.  

One of the volunteers made this piece of medieval weaponry to hang on the wall.

Here's a close-up of one of our aluminum foil shields.  We made quite a few of these because they were super fast and easy to make.

We made fake windows to hang in our craft room.

I think the windows helped spice up an otherwise drab room.

Scroll signs were made to hang on each classroom door.  The arts and crafts room was known as the "Artisan's Workshop."

To keep kids out of the storage room, I called it the "Dungeon."

Our office was dubbed the "Office Of The Scribe."

Along one side of the hall, we made shields for every book of the bible.  A scroll was hung above each section of books to classify them.

Snacks were served in the Feasting Hall.

Cardboard boxes covered in brown paper made an awesome throne that you could actually sit in!  My mom used some fabric to make a pillow and seat cover to complete the look.  I printed VBS 2013 on a pennant banner to hang above the throne.  I thought this would make a cool picture backdrop.  I printed the banner off on parchment paper that was originally purchased for a 9th grade Shakespeare project.  My mom keeps EVERYTHING!  :)

Our stage backdrop was covered in paper to look like a castle.  I made more pennant letters to proclaim our VBS name, Kingdom Adventure.

The moat around our castle even featured an alligator!  A fish tablecloth formed the water of the moat.  And, crumpled brown paper marked the moat's boundaries.  One of our volunteers picked up this alligator hat at Dollar Tree.  We started decorating several days before VBS started.  On Sunday morning, our preacher walked up to the pulpit not knowing that there was a fake alligator about three feet behind where he was standing.  Let's just say he got a little surprise!  

Here's another shield that we designed from cardboard and aluminum foil.  The swords on each side of the shield were made out of painted paint sticks and craft sticks.  The kids wanted to play with these swords so badly!

One of the ladies who used to serve as VBS director is super crafty!  She made this coat of armor out of cardboard boxes, recycled food containers, and lots of duct tape!  So cool!

She also made this shield to hang in our feasting hall.

My mom picked up some candle holders at a thrift shop to add some flair to our feasting hall.  After VBS was over, these candle holders made their way home with me to be hung up in my hall.

We draped some tulle to add a little flair to the kitchen area.

We each scoured our houses for decorations that could be used.  Someone brought these fake grapes to display.  They were perfect for the feasting hall.

A giant pineapple from a previous luau themed VBS found a new use.  Those are some candles that I borrowed from one of the cabinets at church.

We made torches out of brown paper to line the hall.  The flames were made out of yellow and red paper and/or cellophane.

My sister made tiny golden crowns for the men's and women's restroom signs.

I thought this was so creative!

Along one of the halls, we made shields for each of the four stories we would be studying during VBS.  Each shield featured a silhouette of the bible character they would be learning about.  Around the outside of the shield were various clues.  Children could lift up the crown to reveal the correct answer.  These were a big hit!

During the week, students memorized The Lord's Prayer.  My mom made this visual display of the different phrases that compose The Lord's Prayer.

This table set in the back of our sanctuary.

Another table was set with candles and pushed against the wall in our kitchen.  We covered the table in paper and added a red cross for decoration.

Online, I saw the idea of making metal bars out of duct tape.  I guess that's what they're called.  Oh well...  These look easy to make, but they took FOREVER.  They looked cool in the end, but I'm not sure they were worth the frustration.

I found a roll of red paper ribbon in one of the cabinets.  This was used to form a large shield shape in the hall.  A poster about The Order of the Cross was hung inside the shield.

Remember that treasure box on the back table in the sanctuary?

Inside, I placed true treasure - a bible.  I put a note on the bible that said, "True treasure is found in the Word of God."

As you can tell, we used a lot of candles in our decorating!  Don't worry, we didn't actually light any of them.  That would be a major fire hazard.  They were for looks only!

So, there you have it.  A peek at last year's decorations.  I'm not sure how useful my regular readers will find this post, but I hope that it will help someone looking to decorate for a castle, kingdom, or medieval themed vacation bible school!  


  1. Your "metal bars" made of duct tape could be called a portcullis. These were a type of gate used in fort or castle walls that could be raised and lowered to allow/block passage. My students made something similar as part of some hallway decorations for homecoming a few years ago.

    1. So, that's what they are called. Good to know! You are just a bastion of knowledge, Matt!

  2. Wow, this is very impressive.

    can't wait to see what this year looks like!


    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I can't wait to see what this year looks like either. Someone is using our church as a backup location for their outdoor wedding the day before VBS starts, so we can't start decorating until the day before/day of depending on the weather. I'm just a tad stressed over this. I know it will all come together, but it should be interesting!

  3. Thank you so much! We are doing Armour of God this year and your hints and pictures will be very helpful.