Category Archives: Jewish Toys

Have a SUPER Rosh Hashanah!

polymer clay yemenite kudu shofar for the Man of Steel

Edible shofars….straight from the bag

Edible shofars straight from the bag

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!

 

edible shofar

Miniatures for Rosh Hashanah (Lego and Playmobil): not a how-to, but a Why

Playmobil Rosh Hashanah: clay Yemenite kudu shofar,  ram shofar, round raisin challah, apple slices

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 even toddlers 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

Mini Shofar, Challah and Apples for Rosh Hashanah (polymer clay)

polymer clay apples, challah, shofars

polymer clay apples, challah, shofars

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. Continue reading

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

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.

After Passover: Balabusta busted

Plague. How many frogs does one girl need?

Plague. How many frogs does one girl need?

I never actually claimed to be a balabusta. I said it was a title to which I aspired. So I can admit the following:
Until yesterday, all the Passover stuff was STILL OUT. We’ve been stepping over frogs and matzah trays and Miriam cups and place cards every day for weeks. I did put the Passover dishes away on time, but the decorations Continue reading

Jewish bath toys, part 1

Dreaded foam yes, but I own three sets.

Dreaded foam yes, but I own three sets.

Toddler broke out the foam Hebrew puzzles this morning.  Actually, I broke out the foam Hebrew puzzles because the wooden ones were too noisy.  I woke with a migraine, which makes me super-sensitive to just about everything except staying in bed (not an option), and which makes the sound of a wooden puzzle turned upside down and emptied onto an oak floor unbearable.

I love Hebrew puzzles. I hate foam. But I love foam Hebrew puzzles. I know the manufacture of foam is bad for the environment, bad for the poor workers who mold it, and bad for the environment Continue reading