Sukkot, which begins tonight at sundown, refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as the commemoration of the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai. On this holiday, we build small temporary shelters called sukkot where families eat, socialize and even sleep (weather permitting!).
To celebrate this month as a family, try these kid-friendly Sukkot activities suggested by the Union for Reform Judaism. They’re great for your synagogue or your own backyard.
Free Form Foil Fruit
Materials: Newspaper, aluminum foil, masking tape, tempera paints, brushes, string for hanging
Procedure: Crumple newspaper into a fist-sized ball. Then mold sheets of foil around it to make different fruit shapes. Paint with tempera paint. The foil will show through, giving the fruit a shiny effect. When paint is dry, use a sharp instrument to make a hole through the top and put a string through the hole for hanging in the sukkah.
Links of Love
Materials: Construction paper, stapler
Procedure: When making the standard paper chain to decorate the sukkah, have each child decorate their links with self-drawn pictures of someone they love. For those who do not build their own sukkah, most Jewish institutions (synagogues and JCCs) have one that is available for those who wish to share in the experience of having a meal in or visiting a sukkah.
Lulav Ice Cream Shake
Materials: Plastic cups or other containers with tight-fitting lids for each child, lemon and lime sherbet (softened), milk
Procedure: Give each child a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. In a container, put a small scoop of lemon sherbet to symbolize the etrog and a small scoop of lime sherbet to symbolize the lulav. Add ½ cup milk. Tightly fasten each lid. Have the children shake their container in front of them, then to the right three times, then to the back, then to the left. They can repeat several times until the contents are well mixed. Then open and enjoy. Note: You may want to do this activity outdoors or on a plastic drop cloth.
For more children’s activities, visit the URJ’s Holiday Happenings page.