Category Archives: Purim

LEGO Gragger: a DIY version

“EZ LEGO Gragger” with brick flange

The LEGO Gragger for Purim post was the official debut.  It’s a “Why-To” with pics.  This post is more of an extended How-To.

I’ve been asked for specs, so here are details that should get you started.  I’ve already heard from one mom whose kids jumped right in and built their own prototypes. Made my day, I tell you.  But some of us (adults) need how-tos, especially with moving parts.  So here you go… Continue reading

LEGO gragger for Purim

Lego gragger with canoe paddle flange

For Purim, we call it a gragger, but the generic and rather wicked-sounding term is “ratchet instrument.” Jews hardly have a monopoly on this thing.  Throughout the world it’s been a child’s toy, a police call, a poison-gas alert, a football (soccer) noisemaker, a percussion instrument, a scarecrow and a lure for corncrakes. And now, finally, it’s Lego.

World, I give you Lego graggers.  They spin, they make noise, and although Continue reading

Purim game: Hit the Hamantasch

Filling guide (for vocab and bean bag selection)

Filling guide (for vocab and bean bag selection)

Every Purim carnival or party needs at least one station that lets kids haul back and throw something. “Fill the Hamantasch” is a more accurate title, but I do like the alliteration of the H with “Hit.”

I made this for a Purim tot program a few years ago.  A giant hamantasch is the target, the middle of which is lined with velcro strips: the “hook” side.  The projectiles are blobby felt bean bags in colors that represent traditional hamantaschen filling: black for mohn (poppyseed), brown for lekvar (prune butter, YUM), red for cherry, orange for apricot.  The felt bean bag surface will stick to the  prickly velcro, no prob.

The giant hamantasch, lined with velcro (hooky side)

The giant hamantasch, lined with velcro (hooky side)

I had to mount my fake hamantasch onto corrugated board (S-core board) and then tie that onto an old Little Tikes easel. No way could I mount it on the wall and Continue reading

Edible Mishloach Manot Basket

Edible Pretzel Basket for Purim

Of course the contents of a Purim Mishloach Manot basket are edible. But what if the actual basket was, too?

A Homeshuling post about kid-crafted Mishloach Manot containers that are eco-friendly, cheap and reasonably attractive utterly derailed my work schedule today.  I stopped everything to try the idea I posted as a suggestion, to make an edible basket from pretzel dough.   Continue reading

Origami Mishloach Manot for kids (with video)

origami cup + handle

origami cup + handle

Just about any origami box, bag, envelope or basket can be a Mishloach Manot container, but this one is actually easy enough that little kids can make it.

Remember the origami paper cup pattern? It’s pretty common in schools and scouts and whatnot.  This is it, plus a stapled handle. (The cup can actually hold water, as long as you don’t need it to hold water for very long…) Continue reading

Converting Valentine candy: Mishloach Manot

Mishloach Manot

Whether or not you do Valentine’s Day at your house, there is a world of half-price Valentine candy in shops right now, and some of it can work just dandy for the next Jewish holiday, Purim.  Kisses, especially. Because of the chocolate preferences of certain grandmothers in our family, our Purim Mishloach Manot baskets always include Hershey’s kisses. Valentine kisses are usually robed in red: simple, bright, fun red.  Without the outer packaging, red kisses are deliciously generic and ready for conversion. And of course, they are kosher. (So are Tootsie Rolls, by the way, and I Continue reading

Purim shortcuts

tot-made. I love the blob in the foreground.

Happy Purim, everyone.  If you’ve waited until the last minute to think about costumes, see my emergency kid costume ideas at JewishEveryday com. White paper plates and even a lunch sack can become a crown in seconds, and a bathrobe or towel can be royal garb and cape. If your kid is young enough, this is good enough. If your kid is old enough to use the word “lame,” this is not good enough. Continue reading

Let the Hamantaschen Begin

Hamantaschen happen. And they start right about now.
If you are not a huge fan, you have not tried enough recipes. They vary.
I am extremely picky about hamantaschen, and have long championed a single type.
This has not lessened my curiosity and appreciation of the hamantasch as an art form, however. Below, I outline the major categories responsible for the infinite variety:

• Texture: soft vs. crunchy (or as I see it, cake-y vs. cookie-y).
• Fat: solid vs. liquid (butter, margarine, and the dreaded Crisco vs. oil, oil, oil).
• Leavening: yes or no (baking powder, soda or yeast vs. zero).
• Filling: traditional vs. whimsical
(the kind I like vs. the kind I put up with for the sake of wider participation).
• Taste: my mother-in-law’s vs. everyone else’s (icky vs. divine). Continue reading