What does converting toys mean, exactly? It means we can use all the toys we already have, Jewishly. From Lego to play kitchens to Barbies to bath toys.
Here are a few more ideas and pictures I couldn’t include in the article, plus a few quotes.
“A Jewish toy is a toy that can accessorize a Jewish story.”
Torah and Bible stories, midrashim, folktales, holiday stories and the latest PJ Library selection can all be re-enacted or embellished with toys and dramatic play. As can rituals, like making Shabbat dinner with plastic food and a play kitchen. Build the pyramids out of blocks (Passover), the Temple out of Duplos (Hanukkah), Shushan Palace out of Megablocks (Purim) or a sukkah out of Lincoln Logs, and populate them with action figures or Little People. Any boat can be the ark, and any toy animals the passengers. And so on.
Why does this matter? Playing Jewishly is just another easy and natural way to incorporate Jewishness into everyday life. And it’s FUN.
“Most children are bombarded with majority culture every day, which doesn’t always leave a lot of room for Judaism. Having Jewish toys at home is a fun and easy way to help support an emergent sense of positive Jewish identity.”
Below are more pictures of stuff we’ve done at home with ordinary toys.
See my page about making Jewy things with LEGO, plus I’ve got many posts about making doll accessories with polymer clay.
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The dollhouse below, like any dollhouse, can be Jewish with mini accessories (store-bought or homemade from clay) and with dolls acting out holiday traditions. We make teeny matzah from thin cardboard (not too much different from the real stuff), use teeny candlesticks from a craft store, and braid teeny challah from air-dry clay.