Playmobil says “Schultute,” I say Mishloach Manot
Yes, I go to great lengths to make tiny, Jewy accessories for my Playmobil and LEGO folk. But you don’t have to make a single thing in order to make toys Jewish. Sometimes, all it takes is a name change.
Look at this little Playmobil set ripe for conversion: #4686 Child’s First Day at School. See the parcels? Playmobil is German, and the set represents the German tradition of Schultute (school bags): big cones of goodies and school supplies for the first day of school. When I saw the box at a local toy store, I didn’t think Schultute, I thought Mishloach Manot. I saw two kids exchanging Mishloach Manot bags on Purim. For $3.29, I got a Jewish holiday scene and a mitzvah tableau, even though Playmobil doesn’t “do” Jewish.* Continue reading
Fruit Shakers, Runts, and gummy worms
I wrote an article about using candy as an “enrichment” activity for Tu B’Shevat at Kveller.com: Tu Bishvat in Candy Land. Do read it. The hate mail I received as a result of the article indicates that the haters did not read it, else they would have learned that I do not propose that candy representations of actual tree fruit should replace traditional observance of Tu B’Shevat. Nor do I think that to let kids crush Oreos to produce “Edible Dirt” is an acceptable alternative to planting real seeds in real dirt. The word “enrichment” is a clue, my vigilant friends. Continue reading
lulav lesson with Playmobil folk
Our action figures now have a model sukkah well-appointed for hospitable gatherings. Actually, we have several, because it’s hard to stop once we start. Yesterday’s post tried to outline a classic craft, a tabletop or model sukkah made from tissue boxes and shoe boxes, and also some ideas for free-builds using Legos, Lincoln Logs and other construction toys.
Lulav and etrog, polymer clay. The pitom is a broom straw
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
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