swim noodle omer
Count the omer with swim noodles! I needed a BIG omer counter for a classroom (and maybe the school entrance, too), and this is it. I love abacus-style omer counters because it is a pleasure to slide something across something: I feel like I’ve counted, I’ve moved, I’ve gone from here to there. All the more so with swim noodle “cookies” and my beloved PVC pipe. The two materials create just enough friction. Continue reading
Rainbow loom omer bracelet: one rubber band per day
I made this today just to feel what it would be like to count the omer via Rainbow Loom. It felt fiddly, but worthwhile. Mindful. I had to pay attention and I had to make decisions about color coding. Some kids will like this, some kids will flee in the opposite direction. My own child preferred to watch Pokemon rather than experiment with me, but hey, Pokemon. Continue reading
LEGO omer counter: from Passover to Shavuot
LEGO omer counters. I couldn’t find any, so I made some up. LEGO is ideal for an omer counter because it is inherently irresistible and in any decent-sized LEGO bin at home are bound to be 49 somethings with which to mark each day of the count. Continue reading
from Pesach to Shavuot
I have post-seder ennui—worse than the usual Passover prep hangover—and I need a new challenge: an omer counter. I’m looking for a design that is group-friendly, and that doesn’t require us to buy any materials. Ideally, I want BARLEY in it: real barley groats, real barley stalks to remind us of the omer origins. I already have both. But kids aren’t going to be pushing each other out of the way for the chance to open a matchbox to grab . . . a groat. Continue reading
Roast a beitzah (egg) to take home for your seder plate
Why let kids dangle boiled eggs over fire?
To candle-roast an egg is a quick, hands-on connection to what the seder plate egg symbolizes. It’s weird, it’s memorable and it is a kid magnet.
Seder step stations
I nearly called this post “Passover Carnival,” but was afraid you’d get the wrong idea. The wrong idea is a spree with lice races, chocolate matzah painting, origami frogs, and crafts. Continue reading
Open the [LEGO] door for Elijah
At our school’s Walk Through the Seder Steps
program, two toy tableaux sat at the Hallel station. Hallel is the step where, appropriately enough, we sing Hallel and other songs of praise, and also when we open the door for Elijah. Continue reading
As part of the Maggid Station at our school’s interactive Seder Steps program, I wanted kids to consider the Passover story and put to scenes in narrative sequence. I didn’t want flat pictures or flannel boards—I wanted 3-D—so I used toys, Continue reading
Fake blood! Fake house! Fake Death! Real lesson.
PassOver house before the 10th plague (still clean)
fishy or fab?
Minimalist, instant, kinda pretty, and absolutely free: the Tuna Can Seder Plate. Continue reading
seder plate, kid-sized
Instant upcycle for the miniscule percentage of folks for whom both statements apply:
- need a seder plate
- have an escargot plate
small lulav leaf brushes for bedikat and biur chametz
This quick DIY takes longer to explain than to make. It’s a wee brush for the night and morning before Passover: a riff on the traditional repurpose of using Sukkot’s lulav for the pre-Passover Search and Destroy mission. Continue reading
Afikomen bag materials (spelling guide, bag, labels, yarn). The purple one is finished.
Afikoman bag: a seder-centric craft for those of us with 30 minutes or less. It’s practical, decent-looking, durable, and fun for kids to make. Continue reading
Hula Hoop Seder Plate (scrap art)
A seder plate the size of a hula hoop—because it is a hula hoop—makes an unforgettable project and display. Kids can learn or review the symbolic foods and traditional placement thereof; work individually or in small groups; and create a teaching prop that gets noticed even in cavernous synagogue social halls. Continue reading
what and where?
Where should the seder plate symbols go? Every year I have to look it up, and every year I can’t seem to find a handy-dandy reference. I make seder plates with students—real plates and “enrichment” types with funky materials like LEGO or candy—so proper placement matters. I want to be consistent, and I like to know what tradition says and why. Store-bought seder plates Continue reading
two of my polymer knucklebones for casting lots
Happy Lots! Pur = lot, Purim = lots. That’s “lots” as in what Haman cast or threw to determine the date upon which to kill the kingdom’s Jews. In the Megillah, the lots indicated Adar 14, and thus we eat Haman’s hat / pocket / ear (depending on your translation) on that date ever after. Continue reading
games of chance for casting lots
The name Purim means “lots,” which means absolutely nothing to my students. Lots? Lots of what? Continue reading
mishloach manot bag: ready to fill and send
First, tell me you’ve seen my original post—with quick video—about making these EASY origami mishloach manot bags. Because today’s upcycle is that very same pattern but with newspaper, which makes the bag even cheaper and greener.
I *anatomically-correct heart* U
Feeling snarky about Valentine’s Day at your kid’s secular school?
Or, are you just a bit bored with craft-foam hearts?
Or, do you worry you might damage yourself and others if you see one more Pinterest board full of cloyingly twee DIY Valentines?
Too bad. Your Jewish kid still has to cough up 18 sealed, unmarked Valentines to distribute at the class party. Continue reading
alef and tav represent the Torah
(DIY chocolate Hebrew letters and a drop of honey = a sweet start.)
Back in the day, a child started cheder (religious school) with a taste of Torah: by licking an aleph-bet slate dribbled with honey. The Hebrew letters symbolized the whole Torah, Continue reading