Tag Archives: gardening

Havdalah Besamim Activities

besamim buffet

students sample herbs, spices to choose favorites for bag

This post focuses on the spicy part of Havdalah. Besamim work is a rich, smelly hands-on opportunity to create memorable connections to Shabbat (and to being Jewish). You choose the level: make a garden, a pot, a sachet, an herb buffet, an etrog pomander, a “Smell Test,” or besamim containers simple and fancy.

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Havdalah Garden in a tub

fresh, Fall planting

fresh, Fall planting

Havdalah is a lovely, quick, slightly spooky service that marks the distinction between the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the work week.  Each Saturday night morphs from Sacred Time to Ordinary Time whether we mark it or not.  But to mark it with Havdalah can be fun, memorable and oh-so-kid-friendly (especially in the winter when sundown happens earlier in relation to bedtimes).

The traditional ceremony requires just a few Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat almond “Sow and Tell,” home or school

faith in a seed

faith in a seed

For Tu B’Shevat with my First Grade class, I wanted something hands-on, but not paper-based. Something thematic that links the Land of Israel with our own community,  something the kids could make or do to gain a concrete reference point to a Jewish Spring holiday in the midst of a Nashville Winter.  We’d already done nearly instant-gratification Tu B’Shevat gardening (eggshell garden), and I didn’t think they’d mind a project that required patience and uncertainty. Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat garden-in-an-eggshell

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quick, easy and visible plant life-cycle activity

Here’s a supplementary indoor gardening project for Tu B’Shevat.  I swear by the Eat a Fruit, Plant the Seed project, and my version of the traditional Plant Tu B’Shevat Parsley for Passover project, of course.  Both are hands-on and at the heart of the holiday.  But, if you can program additional growy activities with your favorite kids, try this one, too.  The nearly instant gratification is a contrast to the slow and iffy germination rates of parsley and fruit seeds.

What: Kids grow a nearly-instant, indoor, mini “garden” in an eggshell.
Why: to connect with Tu B’Shevat; to demonstrate the everyday miracle of seed germination; to grow food for us, for wildlife and for the earth. Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat stuff: indoor gardening, edible bowls, sugar overload and birdfeeders

Here’s a quick list of links to my earlier posts for Tu B’Shevat.  New ones coming soon…

pear seedlings from our snack

pear seedlings from our snack

Eat a Fruit, Plant the Seeds:  So easy.  Cut open a fruit with your kid. Eat it, plant the seed.  Of course, I mention a few Jewish-y choices of trees, but the important take-away is that THIS is where trees come from. Can’t get more thematic.

How (and Why) to Let Kids Plant Tu B’Shevat Parsley.  Detailed how-tos here. I’ve a method that works without compromising hands-on learning or enthusiasm.
Find out why the go-to Tu B’Shevat planting activity is not about planting trees. Continue reading

How (and why) to Let Kids plant Tu B’Shevat Parsley

Tu B'Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat is the New Year and/or Birthday of the Trees, but the classic Tu B’Shevat planting activity doesn’t really have much to do with trees. We plant parsley.  All over America, little Jewish kids plant parsley seeds on Tu B’Shevat.  Sounds like Sunday School in Chelm, right?  But it does make sense.  To germinate parsley seeds and use the plant two holidays later as the karpas on a Passover seder plate connects our earliest Spring holiday to our main Spring holiday, and it lets kids get their fingers dirty fostering green life from dormant seeds. Tu B’Shevat is the official start of the agricultural year, when tree sap (and all lifeforce by extension) begins to rise after winter rest.

Parsley, though, is not a tree. It’s easier, folks say, easier than Continue reading

Grow Your Own Maror (after Passover)

Grating horseradish root for Chain. No, the goggles don't help.

Grating horseradish root for Chain. Annual photo op.

Passover seder has passed.

Did you buy a big ol’ horseradish root for Maror this year?

Did you toss it on the compost heap yet?

Well, run right out and pull it back off.  You can use it to grow a new one for next year’s seder. Even a small piece should take root just fine. Your kid can help you, and then proudly claim ownership at Passover.

HOW WE CAN USE IT WITH KIDS Continue reading