Hands-on Jewish Learning
My goal is to help kids and grownups spend time together making Jewish things. I like stuff that is hands-on, attractive, non-fussy, cheap and real, and so fun no one realizes it's educational.
The value is in the doing, not just the being done, and in the conversations and questions that happen along the way. Every project comes with helpful and (hopefully) pleasant chatter, because my native compulsiveness and enthusiasm means that I’ve given the meaning, function, and possible permutations a lot of thought. You won’t need to do much planning, because I’ll have done it for you.
Saw it here, first
PURIM LEGO gragger
Shavuot Edible Mt. Sinai
LEGO (and Hunger Games) Lag B’Omer
My articles elsewhere:• Hanukkah Parent School Visits (InterFaithFamily)
• A Jewish Backyard(InterFaithFamily)
•Jewish in Nashville (Kveller.com)
•Passover the Slacker Way (Kveller.com)
•Edible Fruit Bowls for Tu Bishvat (GourmetKosherCooking.com)
•Tu Bishvat Bird Feeder (Kveller.com)
•Tu Bishvat in Candy Land (Kveller.com)
•A Whale of a Snack for Yom Kippur (edible whales) (Kveller.com)
•I Need Storebought Thematic Snackyness and I Need it Now (edible shofars) (Kveller.com)
•Edible Craft: New Year's Apple Bowl for Honey (Kveller.com)
•Apple Print Blessings Placemat (Kveller.com)
•Mt. Sinai Muffins (Kveller.com)
•Converting Toys to Judaism(Kveller.com)
•Make a Mezuzah(Kveller.com)
•How to Make a Mezuzah with Kitsch and Class (PEZ dispenser + Mezuzah = PEZuzah)(MyJewishLearning.com)
- Hands-on Menorah Quiz (for School, Carnival)
- The Spin on Gendered dreidels
- “Oil Crush” synagogue program: Make Oil like a Maccabee
- Kid-decorated dreidels DIY
- Printable Dreidel rules, letter names and meanings
- The Final Menurkey (stick a fork in me, I’m done)
- Dollar Store Menurkey hack (and Talmudic quandary)
- Altoids tin Menorah
- Dormenorah (upcycled LED Menorah for dorm)
- Handyman Menorah (DIY “Man-orah” for dorm or home)
- Marmite Menorah
- Menurkey, quick and cheap
- Torah Scroll flannel board
- Edible Menorah in a Window
Pics from Posts
- Hands-on Menorah Quiz (for Schools, Carnival) #Hanukkah wp.me/pvKSY-1Uv 2 days ago
- The Spin on Gendered dreidels wp.me/pvKSY-1Ru 2 days ago
- a Meatloaf Menorah. Good Shabbes and Happy #Hanukkah: wp.me/pvKSY-1hZ http://t.co/eXCwOJrXj2 6 days ago
- Happy Thanksgiving, Happy #Hanukkah (papier mache Roasted Menurkey) wp.me/pvKSY-1Jw http://t.co/cCmuibZ8kC 1 week ago
- #MakeItHappen grant idea: #Hanukkah replica of Maccabee olive crushing program @federations wp.me/pvKSY-1Kh http://t.co/W7Swoq8LF7 1 week ago
- © Bible Belt Balabusta by Joanna Brichetto, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bible Belt Balabusta and Joanna Brichetto with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Tag Archives: Rosh Hashanah
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
(See the Apple-Print version at the previous post.)
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.
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
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