Category Archives: Purim

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

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)


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.

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

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

Polymer clay Mini Megillah (w/ real scroll)

polymer clay case for mini scroll

polymer clay case (and detachable gragger)  for a miniature scroll

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? 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: an UpCycle

Make a mini crown from a coffee sleeve

Make a mini crown from a coffee sleeve

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

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 for Purim

Construction paper Haman hat, modeled by balloon

Construction paper Haman hat, modeled by 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. Continue reading

Mini Polymer Hamantaschen for Playmobil, LEGO, etc.

sculpey clay hamataschen

Polymer clay hamataschen minis

Kids old enough to resist eating clay 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?

Play-Doh hamantasch practice

Play-Doh hamantasch practice

It’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

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.  Continue reading

Recycled CD bowl: Mishloach Manot 2.0


melted CD hamantasch mishloach manot bowl

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.

In contrast, I present the CD Mishloach Manot. 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