VBS Fair – Top Pick – Thailand Trek
VBS Fair – Top Pick – Thailand Trek

Thailand Trek cover

Editor’s note: This post is part of our VBS Review Fair here on Key Resources, where we’ll be featuring reviews of our top picks from this year’s curricula. You can download the full review packet here.

Thailand Trek
Cross Culture VBS
Group Publishing
group.com/vbs
$149.99

Thailand Trek introduces children to life in Thailand through games, snacks, and learning stations. The material stresses that God loves the whole world and speaks every language. By learning about daily life, children can discover for themselves what is similar and what is different from their own lives. They may even come across new games and food they love. The approach is respectful, positive, and detailed.

The theology reflects a conservative, evangelical perspective. Churches from different theological backgrounds may want to modify the opening celebration and Bible experiences, especially on Day 3, which has a heavy focus on atonement. The daily themes and Bible readings can guide modifications to keep the unity and theme of the curriculum.

The program encourages the children to engage in mission by saving money to purchase Bibles for kids in Thailand. The mission component of the program could be improved by having children talk a video segment showing how parents, teachers, churches, and an orphanage in Thailand came together to repair a house that burned down. Afterward the conversation could then turn to how they might help other children in their local communities. Thailand Trek is engaging and imaginative. Children and adult volunteers alike will learn and grow from the experience; it will be a very memorable VBS!

Age levels: Preschool and Elementary

Includes

  • Clip Art/Reproducible CD
  • Music, Action, Training DVD
  • Music and Lyric CD
  • Decorating DVD
  • Detailed curriculum and materials

Strengths:

  • High quality, well researched, materials and activities that will engage children.
  • Culture is favorably and respectfully portrayed. Videos introduce several children of different socio-economic experience in Thailand, and activities/games immerse them in aspects of culture.
  • Materials favor cooperation rather than competition, and mentoring/modeling by older students.
  • Electronic copies of clip art, logo, and song lyric power points make it easy to modify materials or to create more materials.
  • Video and apps tell the cultural story and teach how to pronounce names.

Weaknesses:

  • Except for theme song, most music is standard VBS music with no Thai words.
  • Several songs are heavy on salvation and atonement theology, but they can be replaced.
  • The suggested decorations are very elaborate (and beautiful) but would be expensive and time consuming to construct.
  • The curriculum is expensive, and extra materials are needed for the snack and craft stations.
  • The program requires a lot of volunteers to staff the centers and lead the groups.

Robin Denney (@redenney) served in Liberia with Young Adult Service Corps and South Sudan with Volunteer for Mission. She is an M.Div. junior at Virginia Theological Seminary.

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