Category Archives: Purim

Purim Carnival Stations

ninja at the Wheel of Purim

ninja at the Wheel of Purim

It’s the day after Purim, which means no one will need this info till eleven months from now, but I need to process and vent and share asap.  If you are in charge of all or part of a Purim Carnival AND you are obsessively detail-oriented, this post is for you. Continue reading

Purim Carnival Alternative, Miztvah-centric

Purim "scrip" that converts to real money after we calculate donations. Like non-digital bitcoin, but not really...

Purim “scrip” tickets become real money after tzedakah donations are calculated.

A Purim carnival without cheap, plastic prizes?  What if instead of winning crappy, non-recyclable tchotchkes, a kid at a Purim carnival wins tzedakah tickets—Mitzvah Money—from each game, and then stuffs them into a pushke for his or her favorite charity?  At least two synagogues are doing this already, and this year, mine will, too.
It’s just like Chuck E. Cheese, only instead of redeeming tickets for disposable clutter, kids donate tickets to help people less fortunate.
If the tzedakah-centric model sounds like carnival buzz-kill, read on.

(UPDATE: see pics and after-the-event update at next post, here) Continue reading

Gyotaku Fish-Printing in Adar (for Purim)

who can forget?

a blue Bluegill

Fish is a symbol of the Jewish month of Adar, the month in which we 1) celebrate Purim and 2) freak out that Passover is so close.  Why fish?  From the astrological sign, Pisces.  I’ve always thought it seemed a bit fishy that astrology gives us a kosher Jewish symbol, but Pisces is right there on the calendar.  It’s legit.   Continue reading

LEGO hamantaschen for Purim

Couldn’t resist one more LEGO Purim post this year.

teeniest clay hamantaschen so far...

oznei haman (hamantaschen) for the minifigs

Continue reading

LEGO Purim: Four Mitzvot

The Four Mitzvot of Purim, via LEGO.  Happy Purim!

Reading the Megillah: Mikra Megillah

Reading the Megillah: Mikra Megillah

(Megillah rolled back into case)

(Megillah rolled back into case)

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Festive Purim Meal: Seudah Purim

Sending Portions: Mishloach Manot

Sending Portions: Mishloach Manot

Gifts to the Poor: Matanot l'Evyonim

Gifts to the Poor: Matanot l’Evyonim

Notes to purists:
Everything is 100% LEGO except the polymer clay hamantaschen.
The Seudat Purim is kosher dairy.

LINKS:
My Page on making polymer clay hamantaschen for Playmobil and LEGO folk.
My LEGO Purim, last year.
My LEGO Gragger articles, here and a DIY, here.

Link: Page on Purim history and observance at MyJewishLearning.com

Purim Playmobil straight from the box

All Playmobil except the clay hamantaschen....

Playmobil says “Schultute,” I say Mishloach Manot

Yes, I go to great lengths to make tiny, Jewy accessories for my Playmobil and LEGO folk.  But you don’t have to make a single thing in order to make toys Jewish. Sometimes, all it takes is a name change.

Look at this little Playmobil set ripe for conversion: #4686 Child’s First Day at School.  See the parcels? Playmobil is German, and the set represents the German tradition of Schultute (school bags): big cones of goodies and school supplies for the first day of school.  When I saw the box at a local toy store, I didn’t think Schultute, I thought Mishloach Manot.  I saw two kids exchanging Mishloach Manot bags on Purim.  For $3.29, I got a Jewish holiday scene and a mitzvah tableau, even though Playmobil doesn’t “do” Jewish.* Continue reading

Playmobil Megillah

Playmobil Megillah

Playmobil Megillah

I did not plan to make a Playmobil Megillah case today, but an unexpected email derailed me.  Attached was a pdf of the whole Megillah in thumbnail miniature, fresh from the scribe who wrote the real thing. Frozen groceries melted on the counter while I ran upstairs for the clay box.  A mini Megillah deserves a mini case, don’t you think?

Here is my minimalist polymer clay version.  Good thing my Playmobil Jews prefer simple lines. Continue reading

Coffee Cup Sleeve Haman hat for Purim

DSC00217Another coffee-cup sleeve headwear option: the almost instant Haman hat.
I went on (and on) about the Coffee Cup Sleeve Crown for Purim, so do please visit that page and see the applications and whatnot.  I am stoked about those crowns.

For kids who would rather get poked in the eye than show up at shul in a crown, try a Haman hat.  It’s the same size as the Crown variations and it offers the same thrill of repurposing coffee-house trash into holiday wear, but without the Crownyness. Continue reading

Coffee Cup Sleeve Crown for Purim

seriously last-minute costume

seriously last-minute costume

It’s free, jaunty, quick and eco-kosher:
the Queen Esther or King Ahashveros Coffee Cup (sleeve) Crown.  The alliteration is even more delicious in Hebrew: Keter Kos Kafe.

My husband does the daily coffee-house thing.  He triangulates amongst locally-owned joints.  One of the byproducts of this habit is the accumulation of cups and sleeves.  The cups are repurposed as seed-starter pots, but the sleeves multiply unused in the shed, awaiting an aha moment.  I had the aha moment last week, and it is this: the Keter Kos Kafe.  I like typing it and I like saying it. Continue reading

Easy Hamantaschen Hat


DSC00274
In black, with no filling, it’s the Easy Haman Hat of last week’s post.  In brown, with filling, it’s a Hamantasch Hat.   I mentioned the Hamantaschen variation at the very end of my Easy Haman Hat how-to, and by golly, a couple days later, one intrepid reader told me she’d made a few for her kids.  Oh, how I love to hear about someone who has tried something and had fun doing it.

So now, I’ve decided the Hamantasch Hat deserves it’s own post.   Continue reading

Easy Haman Hat

construction paper Haman hat, as modelled by a balloon

construction paper Haman hat, as modelled by a balloon

Your kid can make a Haman hat, with a little help.  Add an eye-brow pencil mustache, a black cape, and a sneer.  Make sure your child will not suffer emotional collapse when boo-ed by random adults and tiny peers.

and modelled by the maker

and modelled by the maker

Use ordinary construction paper (9×12) for the quickest Haman hat.  Posterboard takes longer, but lasts longer, too. If you happen to have a black piece on hand, you’ll need a ruler and the patience to scroll all the way down for specific instructions. If you don’t have posterboard, grab  the construction paper and read on.

Continue reading

Mini Polymer Hamantaschen for Playmobil, LEGO, etc.

polymer clay Hamantaschen

polymer clay Hamantaschen

For kids old enough to resist eating clay, you can duplicate the PlayDo Hamantaschen-Folding Practice on a mini scale with polymer or air-dry clay.  I vote for polymer as the best choice: you use a tiny amount (which means it is cheap and easy to manipulate), you can pull the colors apart for do-overs, and the smoothy, firm nature of the clay is very forgiving in clumsy little hands.   Continue reading

Hamantaschen PlayDo Practice: Can You Make a Triangle from a Circle?

CanYouMakeaTriangleIt’s hard to make a triangle from a circle.  It’s hard for little kids and for lots of older ones, too.  And, even if a kid manages it one year, it’s a long time from one Purim to the next.

To transform a flat circle into a filled triangle requires skill and patience, and the last thing I want is for my bakers to have a perfectionist freak-out.  So, I like to program a bit of Hamantaschen-folding Practice at Purim classes and parties, even with kids who think they are too old for PlayDo.  No one is too old for PlayDo, not ever. Continue reading

Model Magic Hamantaschen (magnets)

Model Magic Hamantasch: mohn flavor.  Just saying "mohn" makes you Jewish

Model Magic Hamantasch: mohn flavor

Who doesn’t love to play with Model Magic?  Squidgy, lightweight, irresistible.  Expensive, too, but I find it on sale and buy the big packs of white.  It’s ever so much fun to color blobs of it as needed, just by poking at it with a washable marker and kneading until the new color is smooth. 

adding color with a marker

adding color with a marker

Model Magic comes to the rescue of my art classes, with whom I will not have time to bake the really-real hamantaschen, even my slacker version.  This is a bummer for me, and I suspect for the kids, too, as most do not get the chance to bake at home.  But, one 25-minute class is time enough to go through the right motions and still end up with cute fridge / locker magnets destined to mystify non-Jewish friends.

Model Magic Hamantaschen:

Give each kid a white chunk the size of a golf ball, and let them poke blobs of brown marker all over it. Show them how to knead the color until blended. Kneading this stuff is sensorial heaven: foamy, smooth, never sticky.   Continue reading

Recycled CD bowl: Mishloach Manot 2.0

I like to think I’m picky about projects. They have to involve irresistible materials or a smidge of kitsch or flat-out, hands-on educative potential.

melted CD mini-Mishloach Manot bowl

In contrast, I present the CD Mishloach Manot.  I wasted a few hours of my life on this one.  Yep, I flatlined on these suckers and now I pass the tacky torch to someone, anyone else.

The idea seemed good at the time. I have a teetering stack of old CDs and DVDs, see, and even though “the disc is dead,” my stack continues to grow.  What if I could transform trash into Jewy treasure?  What if I could melt unwanted CDs just enough to coax them into ersatz hamantaschen that could hold actual hamantaschen?  Wouldn’t they be the cutest little recycled Mishloach Manot?

Melting cds is not recycling.  It is simply delaying the date at which the cd will end up in the landfill. Continue reading

Vashti Reframed: preschool midrash in Lego

Two-faced: one side...

Yesterday, I discovered my preschooler playing Purim with the minifigs.  I had already assembled a few characters before I got distracted in the kitchen.  I came back to find him with a doll in hand.

“Who’s this?” he asks, “and why does she look so mad?”

It’s Vashti.  I remind him that she was fired as queen.  Although he finally gets that “fired” does not involve actual flame, the word still feels violent, and it worries him.

“Well, maybe she didn’t like being queen,” he said. “Maybe she’s much happier now she’s not queen.”  He took off her hair, gripped her face, and spun her head around. Continue reading

Nearly instant Hamantaschen: for dorm, class or slacker home

There is no substitute for slow food, and for making slow food slowly with kids.  Yada, yada, yada all the practical life experience and developmental skills: fine motor, following directions, reading, math, geometry, sequencing,
vocabulary, etc. etc.  Make it Jewish holiday slow food and you’ve got a content-rich, unforgettable Jewish education lesson plan.

Like Hamantaschen. There is a world of slow Hamantaschen recipes out there:  the soft, the crunchy, Continue reading

LEGO Gragger: a DIY version

“EZ LEGO Gragger” with brick flange

The LEGO Gragger for Purim post was the official debut.  It’s a “Why-To” with pics.  This post is more of an extended How-To.

I’ve been asked for specs, so here are details that should get you started.  I’ve already heard from one mom whose kids jumped right in and built their own prototypes. Made my day, I tell you.  But some of us (adults) need how-tos, especially with moving parts.  So here you go… Continue reading

LEGO gragger for Purim

Lego gragger with canoe paddle flange

For Purim, we call it a gragger, but the generic and rather wicked-sounding term is “ratchet instrument.” Jews hardly have a monopoly on this thing.  Throughout the world it’s been a child’s toy, a police call, a poison-gas alert, a football (soccer) noisemaker, a percussion instrument, a scarecrow and a lure for corncrakes. And now, finally, it’s Lego.

World, I give you Lego graggers.  They spin, they make noise, and although Continue reading

Purim game: Hit the Hamantasch

Filling guide (for vocab and bean bag selection)

Filling guide (for vocab and bean bag selection)

Every Purim carnival or party needs at least one station that lets kids haul back and throw something. “Fill the Hamantasch” is a more accurate title, but I do like the alliteration of the H with “Hit.”

I made this for a Purim tot program a few years ago.  A giant hamantasch is the target, the middle of which is lined with velcro strips: the “hook” side.  The projectiles are blobby felt bean bags in colors that represent traditional hamantaschen filling: black for mohn (poppyseed), brown for lekvar (prune butter, YUM), red for cherry, orange for apricot.  The felt bean bag surface will stick to the  prickly velcro, no prob.

The giant hamantasch, lined with velcro (hooky side)

The giant hamantasch, lined with velcro (hooky side)

I had to mount my fake hamantasch onto corrugated board (S-core board) and then tie that onto an old Little Tikes easel. No way could I mount it on the wall and Continue reading