VBS Registration: 3 Easy Tips for Avoiding the Crazy Traffic Jam

VBS Registration: 3 Easy Tips for Avoiding the Crazy Traffic Jam
April 17, 2015 Sharon Stratmoen
A line of kids and adults in crazy VBS attire look impatient as they stand in a long registration line

We know VBS is a great opportunity to invite new families to your church. For many parents, the registration process may be the only time they interact with your church. That’s why a smooth and efficient registration system is so important!

  1. Have a Pre-registration System
    Encourage parents from your church to pre-register their children and their children’s friends. The VBS P.R.O.system is free and it has an easy tool to put the kids into Crews, making your job even easier. You can also photocopy the registration form in the Ultimate Director Go-To Guide. Insert copies in your church bulletins, distribute copies in Sunday school classes, and keep a supply in your church office. Preregistration saves time and makes your first day more manageable. The more registrations you can get in advance, the better.
  2. Promote Your VBS Registration
    To stir kids’ (and parents’) excitement in preregistration show the “A Day At” clip from the Ultimate Director Go-To Recruiting & Training DVD in your church worship service and Sunday school sessions. Create an eye-catching display with some thematic décor. Each time someone preregisters, add another decoration to your display!
    For those outside the church, be sure to put up an outdoor banner and have your registration website or phone number on it. A banner or big sign is one of the best promotional things you can do.
  1. Ready, Set, Register!
    Have two tables set up, one for preregistered check-in and one for walk-in registration. Have blank registration forms for walk-ins. If you use VBS P.R.O. and have online access, have pre-registered kids check right in on the computer. Make sure you have plenty of volunteers, especially on day one.
    Another good idea is to have printed lists of your pre-registrants just in case you have network or computer problems. The lists will let you check people in manually and still keep things moving.

With proper planning, registration can be a smooth success. Do you have other questions about VBS registration? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to help!

Sharon is a 25+ year KidMin Veteran who is passionate about helping kids have a vibrant faith in Jesus and VBS is her favorite week of ministry! She serves on the KidMin Staff at Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo, MN, and is the VBS Events & Developer at Group. Great coffee, dark chocolate and gardening are some of her favs.


  1. Brooke 9 years ago

    Do you have any advice on the crazy “traffic” jam while picking up kids? We don’t have a large church, and in the past they’ve all been picked up in the sanctuary. Just trying to get some different ideas for a smooth and safe pickup 🙂 Thanks in advance! Brooke

    • Kathy Crook 9 years ago

      We have smaller kids go back to their classrooms. And have older kids in sanctuary; middle kids in our fellowship hall. We encourage parents to pick up little ones first, then work their way to the high grades. We also have “traffic control” between our sanctuary and hallway to our classroom…some of our volunteers will create a “runway” to ensure the kids are all following their leaders. With having over 250 kids each night, we learn something new each year!

  2. Author
    Sharon Stratmoen 9 years ago

    At our church we have our preschoolers get picked up in the Preschool Peak area. This really helps break up the traffic.

  3. Naomi 9 years ago

    We put a close date on our registration. No walk-ins.

  4. Sintia 9 years ago

    I send an e-mail to each child (parent) to let them know ahead of time which group they will be in. We ask that parents (or whoever brings the child) take their child to their appropriate group so the crew leaders can meet the parents. This helps them know who will be picking the child up again, and immediately begins a relationship with the parents as well. I only need one registration person to answer any questions or to register any walk-ins. Each of my crew leaders has a list of the children in their group. They each take attendance as the children arrive and we gather those near the start. We limit our VBS to 100 children to accommodate the size of our physical space. This has made the first morning of VBS go smoothly. The time it takes to send the emails is well worth it.

    • Kathi Enering 9 years ago

      Any suggestions on how to keep children busy when waiting for all to arrive?

      • Author
        Sharon Stratmoen 9 years ago

        We have our music leader crank up the VBS Music DVD and invite kids to come up and sing. A key piece is to have your crew leaders there ready to welcome kids! We open doors 15 minute prior to the start of VBS and start the program right at 9 am. It’s a great way to teach some of the new songs for the day and create instant leaders to help you out later. Plus, by starting on time, you encourage people to arrive on time so they don’t miss out. Something FUN we do is let kids choose the songs they want to sing if they arrive early.

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