As the High Holy Days approach, parents of young children are no doubt scouring the Internet for creative, kid-friendly ways to celebrate the holidays. Past issues of our publication The Jewish Parent Page, though now defunct, offer fun and appropriate ways to involve youngsters in meaningful High Holy Days observance. Here, we’ve reprinted a few of the Rosh HaShanah- and Yom Kippur-related crafts and activities from The Jewish Parent Page for your family to try. You can also check out our Rosh HaShanah board on Pinterest for a round-up of our favorite ideas from across the web. Tell us: What crafts and activities will you be doing with your kids this holiday season?
- Family Blessing Journal
The Talmud teaches that we are to say 100 blessings each and every day. This is a very worthy goal for which to strive, so why not begin by recording the blessings your family experiences during this Rosh HaShanah holiday? Continue through the next 10 days until Yom Kippur, encouraging family members to take turns writing in the journal, adding pictures and illustrations. During quiet time on Yom Kippur, look through the journal and talk about your hopes and goals for the coming year.
- Morning Blessings Wall Hanging
According to the rabbis, every day when we wake up, we are reminded of the miracle of creation. By saying blessings in the morning, we can celebrate our own creation each day. Print out one or more copies of Birchot HaShachar, the Morning Blessings, from our “Morning Blessings” issue of The Jewish Parent Page. Place each copy in an inexpensive paper frame or glue directly the blessings on to a large sheet of construction paper. You also can arrange them in a visual schedule indicating when in your morning routine each prayer will be said. Have your child decorate the frame or construction paper with symbols of morning, such as a rising sun or illustrations of someone waking up, using crayons, markers or stickers. Hang the completed poster next to your child’s bed.
- DIY Challah Cover
Make or buy a challah cover. A simple challah cover may be made with a hemmed square or rectangle of fabric in the dimensions desired; usually 20”x20” or 16”x20” works well. Visit a fabric store with your children and choose a special pattern, or use a light color (even a white cloth napkin will work) and decorate it with fabric crayons or markers. Sew on a decorative ribbon as a border.
- Family Tashlich
During the Days of Awe, usually on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, it is a tradition to go to a nearby body of water and symbolically cast away our sins or wrongdoings from the past year in a ceremony called Tashlich. This year, take your family, bread crumbs in hand, to a nearby lake or stream to perform this ceremonial casting away by naming your mistakes aloud quietly or just thinking them to yourself. Conclude by reading a meaningful verse about forgiveness or singing a song together. Share any leftover bread with the birds and fish, and enjoy the family time outside together.
- Clove-Studded Apples
It is a Sephardic tradition to prepare a sweet-smelling apple to ward off feelings of faintness during the Yom Kippur fast. This is an activity you can easily share with your children before Yom Kippur. Provide them with apples and cloves, and direct them to stud the apple with the cloves. Have the kids present these completed apples to family members who are fasting. The faster brings the apple along to the synagogue on Yom Kippur and when hunger pangs hit, a sniff of it will relieve ill feelings.
Don’t forget to tell us what High Holy Days crafts and activities your family likes best! Let us know in the comments below.