Here’s when re-creating real things with edibles is legit: when you’ve already made the really real things.
Case in point: after our 2nd graders studied Havdalah for weeks, grew besamim and harvested it, made besamim containers, and dipped beeswax tapers to twist into Havdalah candles. Very real. But wait, there’s more: as the culmination of the unit, they helped lead the congregation in Havdalah. Again, undeniably real.
So, during the next day’s Sunday School, I let them take the last 10 minutes of art class to make a thematic treat: they braided kosher candy laces into edible Havdalah candles. Bonus: because only one kid had already mastered braiding, it became a sweet little skill-builder, too.
This is the educational context for my edible havdalah candle. Taken out of context, I guarantee my Pinterest pin will be slammed as fluff, as a “crap-tivity,” as having no educational value, as being detrimental to children’s health, etc.
Or worse, it will be seized upon as “cute” and then recreated as an end in itself, without context, without any of the really real, without an actual wax Havdalah candle in sight. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen so many times.
Anyway, here’s what we did:
Materials: Paskesz candy laces are meant to be played with, are OU kosher, and they aren’t sticky, which is a plus for kids who don’t do sticky. I bunched the laces and cut them into thirds.
Twizzlers work, too, especially if you can find the pull-and-peel kind, which end up being narrow laces once pulled and peeled.
Activity: Students chose three different colors and taped one end of the trio to the table. Then they braided: “outside to middle, other outside to middle, other outside to middle,” etc.
The concept of middle and outside pieces changing places was weird to begin with, so I kept saying “the new middle,” etc.
We braided, we admired, and then, after the appropriate food blessing, we ate our candles.
Call it fluff, call it crap, but I call it a sweet end to our Havdalah unit.
(In other classes, we’ve practiced braiding with wikki stix, pipecleaners / chenilles and Play-do, and all were fun and functional. Candy wins.)
Here’s a link to all my Havdalah posts in one go.