Lulav Chain garland
Here’s a nifty way to re-purpose your now superfluous lulav after Sukkot: a Lulav Chain for next year’s sukkah. All-natural, thematic, respectful (to a ritual object) and genuinely pretty. No staples, no glue. I find it strangely soothing to assemble the links as fast as possible, but taken at a leisurely pace, even older kids can join in and help “re-cycle.” Continue reading
LEGO minifig lulav and etrog
Our LEGO minifigs now have an appropriately-scaled lulav and etrog for their LEGO sukkah. For a few years, they’ve heard rumours that our Playmobil folk had a set, but now, both populations can shake and wave and sniff and try not to poke out each other’s eyeballs. Continue reading
Tacky Tiki Torch
The Manischewitz Tiki Torch. Unendorsed, unaffiliated, unnoticed by the Manischewitz company, but most emphatically created in homage to it. I timed the debut for erev Sukkot, and I admit, I am tickled purple with myself. Continue reading
Lincoln Log sukkah. With steps for Bubbe.
Psssst: a kid-crafted mini sukkah made with construction toys is way, way easier on you, the adult, than say, with edibles or up-cycled boxes. LEGO and Lincoln Logs and suchlike do not require you to run for the scissors and glue, to monitor frosting consumption, Continue reading
One piece of paper, folded. Add herbs for fragrant roof.
Kids can make a quick, mini sukkah from a single piece of construction paper. Quick doesn’t mean without context: you can teach the rules of sukkah-building (how many walls, type of roof, schach, etc.) and give an overview of the holiday while kids work. Continue reading
a stamp and shmear
My Director emailed last night: “do you have anything that shows how something is sealed?” I read between those brief lines and guessed Continue reading
I told the story of Jonah and the Dag Gadol (a.k.a. the Whale) today using one simple origami prop: the paper boat that, with a sleight of hand, becomes a giant pair of jaws (the Whale). Jonah was a pompom, which the sailors tossed into the sea (the floor), and which was then swallowed by the whale, only to be spewed later onto Dry Land. I had SO much fun with this. Continue reading
if you whip your head sideways really fast, you can dip the apple in the honey
It’s erev Rosh Hashanah and I do not have time for this post, but I’m putting it out there anyway. Because there is always time for thematic holiday headgear, especially when it involves hacking a Deely Bopper. Priorities. Continue reading
shofar, so not
In my shofar classes (Kindergarten—3rd) I mentioned why shofars are made from horns, not antlers. My K-3 explanation is that horns are hollow and antlers are solid. Horns Continue reading
This can be Jonah getting swallowed OR spewed
I made more Jewish tangrams—this time for Yom Kippur. You supply the story of Jonah and the Whale, and kids can mess around with tangrams to represent the Dag Gadol (big fish), Jonah’s boat, and Jonah. Do them in order and you’ve got the whole story.
I dare you to make the withered vine, too.
These patterns will get you started: puzzles and solutions. Continue reading
Cheap, quick and irresistible to honk: the Party Horn Shofar. I tweaked this classic to meet a specific goal: to produce a “realistic-looking” shofar that will not offend the sensibilities of a certain group of students who feel themselves too mature for stickers and glitter. I also needed horns easy to “sound” (some brands are hard to blow), so that we’ll be able to practice the real shofar calls without getting unduly crabby. Continue reading
paper shofar for placecard, toy, or greeting card
Kids can make an origami shofar to play with, to set on the table as a place-card or decoration, or to glue to the front of a Rosh Hashanah greeting card. This pattern is taken directly from Florence Temko’s book Jewish Origami.
Ideally, of course, kids make a paper shofar in the presence of a real one, but if you don’t keep a ram’s horn in the china cabinet like I do, the Internet is full of Continue reading
click image to print
Tangrams are “open-ended” materials, meaning they can be nearly anything a kid can imagine, just by re-arranging 7 puzzle pieces. Oh, how I love them.
If you are new to tangrams, or to thinking about them Jewishly, see my intro Page for whys and hows, and a link to printable templates. I also give tips about how to make the actual pieces irresistible.
In the intro I say how easy it is to “convert” traditional tangram patterns to Judaism by simply changing a name: pot to dreidel, fish to Dag Gadol, candles to nerot for Shabbat. We convert a silhouette with our intention. Continue reading
A post about repurposed soup containers as lampshades is not my usual fare. Let’s pretend it is not glaringly unlike the Earnest Sunday School Teacher posts adjacent. And let’s remember that up-cycled trash is part of my make-it-with-what-you’ve-got mantra. And let’s also note that this (or any) up-cycle project bags at least 3 mitzvot (see below). But the truth is, I have to post my discovery somewhere, and this is this my only somewhere. Continue reading
tearing paper, kibbutzing
First Grade needed an “Israel project” for Yom Ha’atzmaut this year, and as usual, it had to fit into a 30 minute class period. So, we made a six-foot torn-paper mosaic map of Israel. The map was a busy, hands-on work to introduce—in a nutshell—the shape, location, major cities, topography and neighbors of the state of Israel. Continue reading
map o’ melach
In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut this year, 2nd and 3rd graders collaborated on a salt dough map of Israel. We did this as a hands-on introduction to Israel’s topography, place names and its location as regards the rest of the world. Salt dough is cheap, fast, messy and, barring any sensory processing issues, super-fun to play with. Salt dough maps are an oldie but a goodie, and need no cooking, no baking. Continue reading
pull tail to launch Jonah
“Spewed.” This is my favorite word in the Jonah story, and it’s legit: “The Lord commanded the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon dry land (JPS).” Other translations say “vomited,” which is almost as amusing. So, naturally, my Yom Kippur craft must be a whale that spews.
You know the popular coffee cup/balloon marshmallow popper? Simple, brilliant, irresistible. I’ve repurposed it as a whale, a.k.a. “dag gadol” (big fish).* The cup is the whale, the balloon is the tail and launcher. The ammo is Jonah, and Jonah is . . . a pompom.
These whales can launch a pompom 15 feet easy and hit ceilings with a satisfying smack. I dare anyone not to like launching Jonah. Continue reading
Lite Brite shin
Maybe it goes without saying that teachers of Hebrew letter formation can borrow the huge bag of tricks devised by teachers of English letter formation, but I’m saying it. A quick online search reveals oodles of brilliant alphabet ideas, and all we have to do is modify for aleph-bet. No need to reinvent the galgal.
A sensory activity can be as simple as you wish: simple in terms of content and in terms of prep. Is isn’t that hard to throw a bunch of wooden coffee stirrers in a basket and ask a kid to arrange them to make a letter. Continue reading
printable sandwiched between 2 plates
Another 30-min.-or-less seder-centric project. The goal: a seder plate kids create and then actually use. These can get wet and wiped (but not submerged). Continue reading
Beaded, felt matzah cover
My Earnest Sunday School Teacher Hat is on again:
Here’s another less-then-30 min. Passover project for seder use.
Our art classes are 25 -30 min., which includes the giving of context and the cleaning of mess, so we gotta move FAST. Continue reading