Roar VBS: Imagination Station Gizmo Alternatives

Lions and zebras and elephants, oh my… Roar VBS is quickly approaching!  This year’s safari-themed VBS is sure to be an adventure your kiddos will cherish for years to come!

Imagination Station is designed by Group for experiments and science-y gizmos.  However, this station can be used in a variety of ways.  Many churches purchase their own version of the gizmos or use the Imagination Station time for crafts instead of gizmos (our church included).  Check out these ideas for affordable Roar VBS Imagination Station gizmo alternatives!

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Below are ideas for frugal gizmos that can be substituted for Group’s object lesson item each evening (either one larger item or a bulk pack of individual items that the kids can keep). I’ve been testing crafts and am so excited to share all of those with you as well! Stay tuned: I’ll be posting craft idea alternatives on this website over the next few months.  (I often share extra pictures and ideas on the Borrowed Blessings facebook page, too!)

Another frugal idea is to use Group’s gizmos, but only purchase enough for one rotation of kids and re-use the gizmos throughout the night. In this case, each kid won’t take home an Imagination Station item at the end of the night (frankly, some parents will appreciate this!). If you decide to order the actual Group gizmos, read this article to see how you can get the gizmos at a discount!


Today’s Group Gizmo: Tumble drum ($.79 per kid)

Group Gizmo’s purpose:  We often get knocked down in life.  Just like the tumble drum, when we get knocked down, we can get right back up again. 

Similar item: Bop bag – elephant or giraffe. I’d suggest just ordering one bop bag and using it to teach the object lesson throughout the night.


Today’s Group Gizmo: Hungry Hoopoe ($.89 per kid)

Group Gizmo’s purpose: It can be scary to wait with anticipation of what will happen.  We can give our fears to God and trust Him.

Similar items: Jack in the box toy (borrow or purchase one and use it to teach the object lesson) or rubber poppers (1 per kid).


Today’s Group Gizmo: Presto Changos ($.89 per kid)

Group Gizmo’s purpose: Life changes often and we don’t always know what to expect.  Regardless of what changes around us, God is always good.

Similar item: Silly Putty or Slime


Today’s Group Gizmo: Optichrome – black and yellow spinner ($.99 per kid)

Group Gizmo’s purpose: The optichrome looks overtaken by darkness.  However, the darkness is eaily taken over by the light.  Jesus is the light that overtakes the darkness by dying to cover our sins.

Similar items: flashlights or glowsticks (or really, any other glow in the dark item)

Check out these nativity flashlights, which are currently on clearance for $3.78/dozen!


Today’s Group Gizmo: Disappearing Dippers ($.89 per kid)

Group Gizmo’s purpose: The words on the card seem to “disappear” and “reappear”.  God is always there for you – even when you can’t see Him (just like the words on the card are there even when you can’t see them)!

Similar item: disappearing ink pens:

Have you found any other frugal gizmo alternatives? Feel free to share yours in the comments!

I am a long-time Vacation Bible School lover.  I’ve lead in several capacities throughout the VBS world and am currently our church’s VBS director.  It is a joy for me to be able to share VBS ideas and resources with others!  I will continue to share VBS ideas here as we prepare for Roar VBS.  Follow the blog to see more of our ideas and planning!  Please let me know if there are any specific VBS items or ideas you need help with!

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