Joyful Jewish

Archive for the ‘Hebrew’ Category

Chanukah chatterbox

I remember making and playing with paper fortune tellers (also known as chatterboxes or cootie catchers) when I was a child.  Earlier this year my daughter brought one home from primary school, proof that while much has changed since my childhood, much also remains the same.  I was struck by the possibility of combining the eight internal faces of the chatterbox to the eight nights of Chanukah, an idea which I’m sure has many more possibilities than the simple one I have settled on for class this weekend.

Chanukah cootie catcher

I found a template online (google “chatterbox template” and you’ll see many) and filled it in. Depending on the age and ability of your children, and the amount of time you have available, they could fill it all in themselves, but this guarantees a minimum standard of completion and legibility!

Chanukah chatterboxBlack and white diagrams can be coloured in, children can practice the first eight letters of the alef-bet instead of counting to eight, and underneath each letter is a question relating to the festival.  I left half unanswered so they can do a bit of work themselves before taking their new toy home and quizzing their parents.

Instructions on how to fold a chatterbox can be found online – thank you again google.

You can download a printable pdf of my Chanukah chatterbox here. Or be brave, go make up one yourself!
Chag sameach!

 

Afikoman hunt

This is a neat game for kids, combining the fun of a treasure hunt with some Hebrew learning!

The afikoman is the piece of matzah which is traditionally hidden during the course of the Passover seder for children to find later, and it becomes the last thing to be eaten at that seder.

In this game, I printed and laminated copies of each Hebrew letter in the word “afikoman” (which curiously enough is actually derived from a Greek word), and the full word.   I made a set for each team taking part and hid the letters around the yard.

Afikoman

The rule was that only one child per team could run off to search at a time, and they could only bring back one letter.  If it was a letter that team had already found, it needed to be rehidden.  (Eventually the kids realised it was worthwhile checking and remembering which letters had been found before they ran off looking for another one!)

Quick, easy, and with a big enough yard, quite good exercise too.

You can download my copy of the Afikoman hunt cards here. Happy hunting!

 

AlefBet - Bet AlefBet - Hey AlefBet - Vav AlefBet - Zayin

When I started teaching Hebrew alef-bet, I decided to make myself a set of tactile flashcards.  A teacher friend suggested cutting letter shapes out of sandpaper, but I wanted something more visually stimulating to complement the touchy-feely aspect.  Above you can see a few of the cards I’ve made. In actual fact my class has mostly used them visually, but occasionally I ask them to close their eyes and feel the shape of the letters with their fingers, just to involve another sensory pathway as they learn.

They are a little time consuming to make, but it’s a resource I can keep using for a long time so I think it has been worth the effort!

First I purchased a packet of pastel A5 card and laminated them, to make them more durable.

Next I made paper templates of the letters using the font Gisha at size 600pt.  I chose Gisha because of its simplicity – I thought it would be too difficult cutting thick material like corrugated cardboard if I used a more ornate font. Also I figure it’s good for the kids to learn to recognise letters in a variety of fonts.

Lastly I used a selection of tactile materials to make the final product, which I attached using double sided adhesive tape.

Felt comes in many colours, is easy to cut and doesn’t fray.

felt (samech)

Ribbon is pretty, and this velvet ribbon feels amazing – but it’s not so easy to make it curve neatly, and you need to take care of the ends so they don’t fray.  (I folded mine under.)

Velvet ribbon (vet)

Textured paper is easy to cut but quite delicate, and not as rewardingly tactile as some materials.

textured paper (lamed)

Corrugated cardboard, on the other hand, feels fabulous but can be a bit of pain to cut.

corrugated cardboard (mem)

Thin foam sheets are easy to cut out and work with, and give a good raised edge even if they are fairly bland to touch.

foam sheet (ayin)

Glitterboard looks fabulous, feels good and is moderately easy to work with, but will shed some glitter. It is also a great way to blunt cutting machine blades (not that I used a cutting machine for these cards.)

glitterboard (chaf)

I’m not sure what this sort of material is called – I had a small piece I salvaged from around a boxed floral arrangement.  It looks great and is certainly quite different from the other materials, but the kids cannot help themselves and are constantly pulling it apart!  I wouldn’t use it again for that reason alone.

strange paper (yud)

Here I used a smooth paper but edged it (alas, not especially neatly) with a thin line of glitter glue, which dries to a lovely hard ridge and gives a 3-D feel quite different to just the paper by itself.

glitter glue border (alef)

The kids learn “Bet has a belly button” and my Bet card has a button too.

IMG_5368

They also learn to distinguish Chaf from Kaf with “Kaf catches” (hard k sound) so my Kaf caught a ball.

Kaf catches a ball

For me, the joy of making my own cards is ending up with an useful resource that I like the look of (and feel of) and feel inspired to use!!

 

We’re between festivals this month, so I decided to focus on some Hebrew words and phrases with the kids in my Shabbat Tot class.   “Lailah tov” means “Good night”. For a craft activity, we’re making a collage quilt using squares of fabric. You could also do this activity with squares of paper if you didn’t have any spare fabric.
As a bonus, my fabric represents a number of Jewish festivals, either intentionally or via a process of creative reimagining!

This is the (very simple) backing picture prior to the fabric squares being glued on.

Lailah tov

And this is what it looks like with the completed quilt.

Lailah tov complete

Can you spot: matzah for Passover, apples for Rosh Hashanah, a candle holder for Hanukah? How about: party hats for Purim, flowers for Shavuot, a plague of insects and another of darkness for Passover, water that parted at the Red Sea, and a selection of stars of David?  If you can suggest what my plain square of orange (ignoring the glue stain) might represent, please leave me a comment!


Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

A resource site for anyone who wants to share the joy of being Jewish with the children in their life.

Enjoy!