click image to print
Tangrams are “open-ended” materials, meaning they can be nearly anything a kid can imagine, just by re-arranging 7 puzzle pieces. Oh, how I love them.
If you are new to tangrams, or to thinking about them Jewishly, see my intro Page for whys and hows, and a link to printable templates. I also give tips about how to make the actual pieces irresistible.
In the intro I say how easy it is to “convert” traditional tangram patterns to Judaism by simply changing a name: pot to dreidel, fish to Dag Gadol, candles to nerot for Shabbat. We convert a silhouette with our intention. Continue reading
pull tail to launch Jonah
“Spewed.” This is my favorite word in the Jonah story, and it’s legit: “The Lord commanded the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon dry land (JPS).” Other translations say “vomited,” which is almost as amusing. So, naturally, my Yom Kippur craft must be a whale that spews.
You know the popular coffee cup/balloon marshmallow popper? Simple, brilliant, irresistible. I’ve repurposed it as a whale, a.k.a. “dag gadol” (big fish).* The cup is the whale, the balloon is the tail and launcher. The ammo is Jonah, and Jonah is . . . a pompom.
These whales can launch a pompom 15 feet easy and hit ceilings with a satisfying smack. I dare anyone not to like launching Jonah. Continue reading
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
polymer clay accoutrements for the HH
Whew. Been sick, getting better. Just so you know I’m still alive, and that I used to expend energy pondering and puttering about the holidays, here are some earlier posts.
Make an apple bowl for Rosh Hashanah honey
Make a Pantyhose Challah Continue reading
Jonah and the Whale
Yes, I know we don’t eat during Yom Kippur, but kids do, and my kid will be eating these. As will all the children at my syagogue’s young family service, right after they crawl through the Belly of the Whale (a play tunnel).
Kveller.com just published my post about repurposing a store-bought snack into an instant, Jewish holiday food.
I invite you to read it at Kveller: “A Whale of a Snack for Yom Kippur.” And, if it passes muster (or mustard), can you “like” it there, please, so that Kveller will know someone is reading it?
Meanwhile, there is still time to buy a bag of Bugles for another “Jewish” snack: edible shofars. Continue reading
Playmobil re-enactment of Jonah and the Whale
Looking for crafty things to do with kids to prepare for Yom Kippur?
One theme is Jonah and the Whale. It’s the story we’re all going to hear on the afternoon of Yom Kippur, whether we are in the big sanctuary or in the kids’ service. Jonah’s tale is supposed to make us think about all sorts of Jewish values/middot: obedience, faith, repentance and forgiveness, to name the biggees. Yom Kippur is one heavy-duty holiday.
For little kids, I’m keeping the holiday simple. My ideal Jonah and the Whale take-home message is: Jonah screwed up, said he was sorry, and then did what he was supposed to do in the first place. Loosely, this is teshuvah, or repentance. But, still, the story is tricky. Far easier to extrapolate is the scary take-home message: if you screw up, God lets a whale eat you. Pretty creepy. To nip that in the bud, Continue reading
- polymer clay yemenite kudu shofar for the Man of Steel
Edible shofars...straight from the bag
Bugles snacks from General Mills are the perfect mini-shofars.
Please see this brief article at Kveller.com, in which I list the merits and uses of Bugle shofars and lament the recent loss of kosher status. If you don’t keep strictly kosher, you are in luck! You get teeny, tasty shofar snacks for Rosh Hashanah!
“I Need Store-Bought, Thematic Snacky-ness, and I Need it Now!” (Raising Kvell post)
If you like the article, please mention it on the Kveller comments immediately below it. I would love to hear from you.
Shana Tova, and bon appetit!
Playmobil Rosh Hashanah: clay Yemenite kudu shofar, ram shofar, round raisin challah, apple slices
This site is about kids and parents spending Jewish time together making stuff that is fun, cute (kitschy counts as cute), cheap, and most of the time, functional. I aim for kid-centric. I like to help enable even toddlers to participate in holiday prep.
But making Jewish holiday accoutrements for Lego and Playmobil figures out of polymer clay, I admit, comes close to crossing a line. My preschooler can do little more than make freeform shapes and blobby ovoids, and when presented with more than one color of clay will gleefully end up with gradations of grey. Still, because scale and verisimilitude have not really occurred to him yet, he has a great time “making useful things” for his figurines.
Relativity: Playmobil, Duplo and Lego
Scale and verisimilitude is my dealie. Whilst the child next to me has fun rolling and smashing and pinching and blending, I get to make miniature accessories to outfit three communities of toys in our home: Duplo, Lego and Playmobil. And of course, they all celebrate the Jewish holidays.
One more note in my defense: this stuff is fun for older kids, too. Even surly preteens Continue reading
image from JGateways.org: Mayer-Johnson symbol greeting card for Rosh Hashanah
Thanks to Shira Dicker, I just learned about Gateways, “Boston’s central agency for Jewish special education,” and am pleased to pass along a page of their holiday resources. Granted, I have no experience in this area, but I adore any attempt to include the widest possible range of abilities in holiday preparation and celebration. Gateways has quick, downloadable instructions on how to make stuff like:
• The classic apple-print Rosh Hashanah card, but with scrupulous step-by-step visual and written instructions. They include options like an improvised slant board for kids with accessibility issues and a quickly-assembled foam-covered fork for kids who need a firm handle on a slippery, paint-soaked apple. Plus, what to do if someone logically wants to eat that apple currently being used as a vehicle for paint. (I mean, it’s an apple and it’s even got a fork in it…) Continue reading
Adult's hands cover child's hands on the two handles
Wait, why do the kids need to cut the apples? Isn’t it easier and faster just to do it yourself? Yes, but letting kids share in the prep has oodles of benefits. It’s quality family-time, it creates anticipation, it’s fun, and it becomes a personal reference point to a holiday that kids will remember and can build upon. Still, I wouldn’t attempt this or any parent/child exploration/task/activity if I wasn’t in a decent mood at the moment. Common sense dictates when to chirpily invite a preschooler to assist in the kitchen and when to beg him to find something quiet to do in another room.
And second: the quickie version of this task is already covered in my earlier post about why and how to make an Edible Honey Bowl from an Apple with Kids (here and at Kveller.com). But if you are excruciatingly detail-oriented and/or concerned with safety (and legal action) about letting kids in a group setting cut their own apples, read on. Continue reading
Handmade polymer clay accoutrements for Duplo folk
Twee, yes, but groovy: the Duplo Rosh Hashanah. This is what happens when I find a baggie of clay at a yard sale—random Fimo and Sculpey packs already opened, slightly hairy, and obviously from the Year Gimmel—right around the time when we determine that our Duplo people just don’t have what for Rosh Hashanah. Now they have what.
Featured here are two whole-wheat raisin challot, braided in a circle for the holiday that celebrates the never-ending cycle of the year, and a plate of apple slices ready for some Duplo honey. Duplo Toddler holds a Yemenite kudu shofar, and Duplo Girl sports a standard ram’s horn.
Note to parents of lively children: Continue reading
Posted in Activity, Crafts, Jewish Toys, Rosh Hashanah / Yom Kippur
Tagged Apples, challah, clay, Duplo, fimo, Lego, Rosh Hashanah, sculpey, shofar
(See the Apple-Print version at the previous post.)
Blessings Placemat for Rosh Hashanah: the cheat sheet as Honey Pot
The all out, get messy Apple-Print version of the Blessings Placemat is dandy (see above), but sometimes kids (and neat-freak parents) hate paint and its attendant goopiness.
This rather old-school version smacks of die-cuts and Parent-Teacher Store stickers, but it’s reasonably cute and it gets the job done. What job is that? We are turning a quickie-apples-and-honey-side-dish into a meaningful minhag (custom), and scoring some Jewish-y parent-kid time, too.
How-To: Print the template (see below) onto thick yellow paper (like index stock or card stock) and then lightly pencil in a honeypot shape. Think Winnie the Pooh. Preschoolers can Continue reading
A shorter version of this post is published at Kveller.com.
Choose any color for paint and papers
There are BLESSINGS for the apples and honey?
I hear this question every year. The answer is yes. And saying the blessings can turn a simple side dish into a meaningful minhag (custom) your kids will remember. To remember the blessings, however, can be a challenge even for us grownups. Thus, I have devised a DIY blessings cheat sheet.
The cheat sheet can help us:
- Spend Jewish time with our kid
- Teach the idea that blessings add meaning and gratitude
- Create an object d’art we get to pull out every year
- Exercise all those skills used in cutting, painting, printing, gluing and so forth
And you don’t have to be uber-spiritual or religious to do blessings, y’all. If you read them in English, you can choose transliterations to reflect your comfort level with gender and Divinity, okay? Or, you can paraphrase in the Continue reading
Yes. It's a round challah made of pantyhose. I promise the honey jar is just to lend atmosphere.
Not much could prompt me to create anything, much less photograph and post it, after a rainy, three-day weekend at home with an “energetic” 4 year-old and a migraine, but Homeshuling‘s post just did.
In her Craft Projects for Rosh Hashana roundup, she generously mentions two of mine: the edible honey bowl and the blessings placemat. Then, she issues a challenge. Could someone please create and send a pic of a round stuffed challah made from pantyhose, as per the directions at Akhlah.com? Well, since I already have a pantyhose challah on display in the dining room (made 13 years ago by my older kid), and since I already have a packet of “suntan” Legg’s knee-hi’s leftover from a Purim project (more on this later), and since I am willing to sacrifice an ancient bedpillow to harvest the still virginal polyfill, I accepted the challenge. (And, I did this knowing how much the craft resembles something Amy Sedaris should include in a sequel to Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.)
Heads-Up: stuffing knee-hi pantyhose with polyfill is not the easiest task for anyone with fine-motor challenges. My preschooler thought it was as much fun as putting on his own socks. I thought it Continue reading
Apples and honey as an edible craft
A version of this post was first published at Kveller.com: Edible Honey Bowl.
But here is my original version which is longer and more interesting…