Tag Archives: jewish toys

Making Toys Jewish

Dollhouse Purim teaparty

Kveller.com published my article on Converting Toys to Judaism.  Do please read it at Kveller.com and leave a comment if you have ideas to share.

What does converting toys mean, exactly?  It means we can use all the toys we already have, Jewishly.  From Lego to play kitchens to Barbies to bath toys.

Here are a few more ideas and pictures I couldn’t include in the article, plus a few quotes.

“A Jewish toy is a toy that can accessorize a Jewish story.”

Torah and Bible stories, midrashim, folktales, holiday stories and the latest PJ Library selection can all be re-enacted or embellished Continue reading

Jewish Bedtime Rituals for families

Bedtime Sh’ma Coloring Book with your child’s photo

InterfaithFamily.com (which is a great site, by the way, full of info and ideas and community) just posted an article about making bedtime Jewish written by Chief Education Officer Karen Kushner, with a link to a free pdf booklet: “Goodnight, Sleep Tight: Jewish Rituals for Your Interfaith Family.”

I am delighted Jewish bedtime is getting attention. Transforming the nightly routine into something Jewish is easy: just add a new element or two–something that feels comfortable and genuine. Whether a family is interfaith or not: it doesn’t matter: what matters is that at least one parent is committed to making every day (and night) more Jewish.

Please see my Jewish Bedtime post for a detailed breakdown of every step of a typical bedtime progression, with plenty of suggestions about how to inject a bit of Jewishness. Continue reading

Hebrew blocks rock

 

No, I don't get a commission.  I'm kvelling, not selling.

No, I don't get a commission. I'm kvelling, not selling.

Consider the Omer counted.  Shavuot is over.  And now, stretching before us is a couple of calendar pages of sun, humidity, chiggers, and porch-sitting.  

    I’ve just cleaned my screened porch for summer, and we’ve transfered some rug toys out to the concrete: Thomas and Friends and their endless track, Duplos, and wooden blocks.  We are lucky to have Teenager’s old blocks: the thick, heavy kind we can really build with.  

    And, we are lucky to have some Alef Bet blocks, too.  We have two sorts: the small, cheap kind and the big, expensive kind.  I love both.  The small, cheap kind (around 5 bucks) are the same size as our aged alphabet blocks—about an inch and a quarter—good for teetery towers and for crafty projects like, say, a Hanukkah menorah using blocks that spell out your kid’s Hebrew name.  

    The big, expensive ones (around 30 bucks) are the type of toy I kvell about to every new Jewish parent at synagogue.  Why?  They are big and fat and heavy; a pleasure to hold.  They depict not just the Hebrew letters but pictures of animals as well, with the names in Hebrew.  All artwork is not merely printed on, but carved out.  Made by the Uncle Goose company, who make other fantastic specialty blocks like Braille, Russian, Chinese, and Hieroglyph.  

    We can’t get enough Hebrew stuff at our house.  It doesn’t matter that Toddler can’t read, yet.  He can sing the Aleph-Bet Song, which is a great start.  And he knows a shin when he sees one on a mezuzah.  I’m all for painless, natural learning, and it feels right to have blocks and posters and puzzles and books and placemats here and there: a sea of aleph-bet and alpha-bet ready for learning by osmosis.  

 

Sources:

 

The small ones are from JET (Jewish Educational Toys).  They have little pictures of holiday symbols and Jewish whatnots, too.  

 

The big ones from Uncle Goose.  At Amazon, OyToys, and the manufacturer. Made in USA out of basswood and child-safe inks. 

 

This third kind I don’t like, somehow, but they are 1.75 inches and come with vowels, too.  Something about the design bothers me.  I think because they are printed on flat wood: no variation in texture.

Jewish toys

Moses is whiter than Martha White biscuit dough, and Pharaoh looks frankly black. Does this make anyone else squirm?

Raising kids here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt, I’m always hungry for Jewish STUFF. Our synagogue gift shop has some yummy things, but what I really want is to walk into a store and wallow in Jewish tchotches, kitsch, and toys, toys, toys. Not going to happen. Not around here.

However, the Buckle does have its advantages. “Old Testament” Christian toys can easily convert into something kosher for us. Continue reading