Category Archives: Crafts

Tuna Can Seder Plate (instant upcycle)

fishy or fab?

fishy or fab?

Minimalist, instant, kinda pretty, and absolutely free: the Tuna Can Seder Plate. Continue reading

Snail Plate = Seder Plate (instant upcycle)

seder plate, kid-sized

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

Continue reading

Lulav Brush for Passover (one more lulav re-cycle)

small lulav leaf brushes for bedikat and biur chametz

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 in 30 minutes

Afikomen bag materials (spelling guide, bag, labels, yarn). The purple one is finished.

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: BIG Upcycle for Kids

Hula Hoop Seder Plate

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

Seder Plate Symbols: Where They Go

what and where?

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

Casting Lots for Purim: Knucklebones

polymer knucklebones for casting lots

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

Casting Lots for Purim: a Hands-On Display

games of chance

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 for free: origami upcycle DIY

mishloach manot bag

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.

Continue reading

Anatomical Heart Valentines for Passive-Aggressive Jewish Moms

anatomically correct heart valentine

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

Torah is Sweet: Chocolate Alef Bet for Consecration

alef and tav represent the entire Torah

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

Upcycled Water Bottle Bird Feeder for Tu B’Shevat

bottle bird feeder

black oil sunflower seed, bamboo perch

Upcycled water bottles as birdfeeders are not new, so why am I sharing this?

Because this morning I sort of perfected them. My class of 2nd graders made a bunch and we had to be quick. So shall I: Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat Collaborative Leaf-Rubbing Banner

tree leaves for crayon rubbing at Tu B'Shevat

arranging our pressed, fall leaves

A giant, collaborative leaf-rubbing print for Tu B’Shevat. We tried this in Kindergarten last Sunday and it worked. Gorgeous. And, we still had time to make individual leaf-rubbing prints to take home. The 9-foot banner will hang at the school entrance to welcome students and visitors at Tu B’Shevat. Continue reading

Hands-on Activities for Teaching “Kosher”

Things I did not anticipate at yesterday’s Kosher Grocery Quiz: 1) despite being Southern, our little Jewish kids had no idea what “pork rinds” were and did not think them hilarious, and 2) every single child assumed the “silver polish” was something ladies do to fingernails.

without exception, every child looked for the hecksher

without exception, every child looked for the hecksher

Continue reading

Carob for Tu B’Shevat Show and Tell

carob pods, seeds and chips

carob pods, seeds and chips

Carob pods and carob chips for a taste (and smell and sound and sight and touch) of Tu B’Shevat.

Carob is a biggie for Tu B’Shevat. It’s a tree fruit native to the Land of Israel, it’s de rigeur at a Tu B’Shevat seder, and it’s part of the story about Honi the circle-maker lots of us read aloud on Tu B’Shevat. Continue reading

Pigs in a Breastplate (parsha or Torah project)

painted breastplate black

Torah breastplate upcycle (from frozen food packaging)

When my husband brought home the wrong brand of kosher pigs-in-a-blanket, I opened the box, slid the frozen contents onto the formica, and nearly plotzed.

It doesn’t take much, I can hear you thinking.

But truly, look at the plastic tray. Albeit designed to keep mini franks from merging into one giant maxi frank, it is an instant and entirely unintentional Torah scroll / priestly breastplate. An accidental choshen.

Continue reading

Screw the Star of David (Jewish hardware in the art room)

screwdriver pokes in clay

screwdriver pokes

Torx screws are wee Stars of David. Have you seen them?  If you’ve peed at a urinal you have. Or if you’ve waited for your preschooler inside a public loo. (In both cases, the screws are at about eye level). Torx screws are part of most public bathroom installations because they are fabulously functional. Torx don’t “strip out” as easily as do Phillips or slotted screws, because the design resists torque. There’s more to grip and less room to slip.

This anti-slip head design just happens to be a 6-pointed star: the Mogen David.  Who knew the logo on the shield of an ancient king of Israel would be so darn practical?  Continue reading

LEGO menorah: Star Wars (flameless)

LEGO Star Wars minifig menorah

LEGO Return of the Jedi minifig menorah

Hanukkah and Star Wars. Both stories involve Rebels vs. an Imperial Army. Both stories incite argument about what is in the “canon” and what isn’t.* Continue reading

K’Nex Dreidel Launcher

K'NEX dreidel and launcher

K’NEX dreidel and launcher

A K’NEX dreidel launcher. Because people tell me that dreidels can get boring. Continue reading

Spinning Origami Dreidel

Paul Jackson's "Dreidl" made by 3 generations

Spinning “Dreidl” models

A 3-D paper dreidel that spins can attract kids who normally run the other way when they see origami on offer.  It moves. Continue reading