Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yitzchak & Rivkah

Pertaining to Parashah Chayei Sarah:
Gen. 23:1-25:18; 1 Kings 1:1-1:31; Matt. 1:1-17

We had a lot of fun with this parashah. I really like the weekly coloring pages from for each parashah (pictured at left). My daughter loves to color every day, several times a day, so I just tell her a little about the story while I help her color the pages in.

I discovered some really cute and fun to make "Bible friends" here:
They are intended as stand-up dolls, but I made them into magnets for our refrigerator. Magnets will last longer with a toddler too, and she loves them! On the website, you go to "print your own" friends, and then you can print out all kinds of hairstyles, clothes, and accessories for them. These are all Biblical, so the dress is modest and cute, and there are endless possibilities for using these to teach small children. Older children would have fun designing their own as well. I dressed Yitzhak and Rivkah and then allowed Elli to color them with markers. Here are their before and after shots:
Yitzhak & Rikvah

We also used some toy camels and other animals to reenact how Rivkah watered the camels for Avraham's servant. (It's even more fun when you use real water!) Because this is such an amazing and miraculous story of a man being given a wife, it is good to talk about marriage (and arranged marriages with older children), show wedding photos, and dress up as "brides" and "grooms."

We also talked about the letter "D" and looked for the color "yellow." I am amazed that my daughter (who turns two next week) is learning the alphabet song just because I sing it to her fairly often. She has an incredible memory, and we have started leaving the words out of story books and she fills them in as we read. As a first time mom, that is so exciting for me, because I know that soon she will be memorizing the Word of G-d!

Monday, October 25, 2010

the adventures of baby Tot-Tot

 Pertaining to Parashot Lech-Lecha (Gen. 12:1-17:27; Isa. 40:27- 41:16; Romans 4:1-25) and Vayera (Gen. 18:1-22:24; I Kings 4:1-4:37; Luke 1:26-38, 24:36-53)

With us being busy and slightly under the weather, Parashot Lech Lecha and Vayera kind of got squished together into one week. Also, I want to be ahead of the parashah, so this week we started parashah Chayei Sarah.

We made a tent for Avraham, Sarah, Lot & Baby Yitzhak (or as my toddler calls him, baby Tot-Tot). The project is here:
We also made a family tree to show my daughter who her ancestors are. We completed the coloring pages from and talked about camels. Using the tent/characters plus some other little dolls, we "acted out" the visit from the three strangers. I introduced  the letter "C" and the color orange. And then we all got colds... but "cold" starts with "C" so Baruch HaShem! :)

I also discovered "Lego Abraham" on YouTube (, which was too old (and somber) for my little sensitive one, but my husband and I got a kick out of it! It would be great for adventurous little boys, though! It's more Star Wars than Ancient Near East, but it's fun.

felt is my friend

 For all of the mothers (like me) out there who have never learned how to sew, there's hope! I have been very blessed to discover the wonder of felt to make special little things for my daughter without having to sew them. Although I would love to learn to sew one day, for now felt is a very good friend of mine! Probably the first item I made using felt is Rintoo the Tiger (from one of my toddler's faves, Ni Hao, Kai-lan). The directions are here and it actually works for older preschoolers as well for discovering and expressing different emotions by changing Rintoo's facial expressions. For now, he stays happy, but his mouth is attached only by Velcro so that I can add other mouths later.

Cotton balls work great for stuffing felt creations, and I found a strong and durable glue, Aleene's Fabric Fusion, which has passed the toddler test so far. Bean bags are great fun and useful for many activities. I have made two of those so far: a square and a circle. They are different colors and also have on them the numbers "1" and "2" so that they are fun to throw and educational, too. They are filled with barley, and we haven't had any leaks! (Just more evidence that the glue works great!)

My daughter, after seeing a statue in the Poconos, has become quite enthralled with owls. Apparently, she's not the only one because I see them on little girl's things everywhere I go now! My latest project was the owl mommy and baby. My daughter saw a similar owl baby toy in a magazine and loved it. After seeing an owl sampler project using felt in another magazine, I put the two together and made her this.

The possibilities with felt are endless, and I'm sure I will soon be using some in Torah projects and crafts as we study the Parashot.

Felt projects are easy and fun, so enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

tzedakah project

Here is a fun way to start little ones early with giving tzedakah, or money to charity. I mentioned this one in  post before on my other blog, which you can read here:
This one features The Wonder Pets because I found it on NickJr.'s website, but you can also make your own. This one is at:

Any clear container will work. With it being see through, the kids can keep track of their progress. As a family, decide which charity or what purpose you would like this money to serve (and use a smaller container so that it can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time!) If you choose to, you can come up with a kind of reminder to put money in the bank. For example, every time you come home from the store, every time the kids do something thoughtful, or something interesting or unique to your family. Involve the children in the process as much as possible so that they understand this money is to be given away (or spent on something) to bless someone else's life, not their own. It will help them develop their gift of giving, and lead to a lifetime of tzedakah.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a covenant they can see..

Noah's Ark
Pertaining to parashah Noach:
Gen. 6:9- 11:32; Isaiah 54:1-55:1; Matt. 24:36-46

Well, this has been a really fun week with Parasha Noach! There are so many ideas out there for teaching about "Noah's Ark," that it's almost challenging to chose what you will use this time around.

My daughter thinks that being "on the computer" is just the greatest thing, so I found videos pertaining to Noach on If you search for "noah floating zoo" there, you will find these short little videos of Noah and some video montages of different animals set to music. It's definitely for babies and toddlers. The website listed was but I was unable to get on it. I suppose it doesn't exist anymore. My daughter loved the videos and asked to watch them every day!

We also built an ark out of a paper plate (at left) and painted it brown, our color for this week. After it was dry, I filled the ark by serving a snack of animal crackers, goldfish, and teddy grahams inside it. Messy, but worth it. We colored a picture: This website also has a "read together" sheet for Noach. You can find it here: or you can make your own by drawing in pictures in place of some of the words. My daughter enjoyed "reading" this with me.

In addition to talking about Noah and the Ark, we have also talked about rainbows, since they are a sign of the covenant that G-d made with the earth after the Flood. Rainbows are wonderful because they are a covenant that little eyes can see. We glued some colored paper and some cotton balls to a sheet of paper for a rainbow and a cloud, taken from Genesis 9:13, our verse this week. This week is also for introducing the letter "B," so we will find animals that start with "B" on the Ark. 

At there are lesson ideas and even songs to sing about Noah for preschoolers (ages 2-5). The website also offers lessons for older children. We also used toy animals (even in the bathtub, where the "Ark" was a plastic bowl) to learn about this parasha.
There are countless possibilities for teaching this parasha because it has become such a popular portion of Scripture, so have fun with it!
coloring while watching Noah video

start from the beginning...

Pertaining to parashah B'resheet:
Gen. 1:1-6:8; Isaiah 42:5-43:11; Rev. 22: 6-21

Just wanted to share some pictures and notes from our first week of "Torah School." Many of the ideas we used were from, like the coloring pages for the creation story. I added a cover page with the Hebrew and English with our verse for the week, Genesis 1:1, so I could read them both to my daughter each day.

Because she is not even two, we are also learning letters of the alphabet. This week's letter was "A," and I found coloring sheets for each letter at There are also more alphabet sheets at

To teach little ones about the days of creation, I came across a great idea for making creation blocks out of empty tissue boxes (or something similar), but I do not have the "blocks" right now. Perhaps we will save that one for the next Torah cycle! If you are interested, the craft is at You can make your own picture for Shabbat, because this website is not messianic, as you will see.

We are also doing a color a week, and when she gets those down, we will move on to shapes and numbers, etc. At the beginning of the week, I ask her to help me make a color "group." Taking a small container or bowl, (in the same color that we are learning if we have it) we look for things that are that color. For example, this week was "green," so here is our green group. It seems to me that it helps to put green things together, so that she can see what they have in common. I also try to point out things in our parashah that are green, which was easy this time because we talked about G-d creating trees and plants. I assume that every week won't be so easy, though!

I am writing down my ideas in a teacher plan book that I found in the dollar bin at Target last summer. They seem to put those out late each summer with the other stuff for teachers, so keep your eyes open! :) I am planning to get some more next time I see them.

Although I am (trying to) keep it very simple for now, I am certainly very excited to see many other homeschooling blogs and websites for ideas to teach older children! There are so many great resources available! Baruch HaShem!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

my little siddur

cover with google eyes
Being a mom with a small child, I have struggled with making the time to pray throughout the day. So a few nights ago, I had a very late night idea (I call it creative insomnia, as I was trying to go to sleep at the time) to make my (almost) two year old daughter a siddur, so that we can pray together each day. Although it is still "over her head," she will certainly grow to understand it more and more. In going through my own siddur, I chose some important prayers and attempted to simplify them for a child's mind. The full text is below for you to use (and change/add to) for your own children. I added clip art to mine, but it did not paste here on the blog. If you would like me to email you the original word document, just send me an email:

Hebrew from
I used a glue stick (and will probably use some clear tape as well, so that it survives toddlerhood!) to attach the sheets to a blank board book that I ordered from If you have older children, they will probably be more respectful towards a paper book. I printed the siddur on colorful paper to get my daughter's attention, and personalized it with stickers and scrapbook paper to make it more fun and to add interest.  Older children would enjoy decorating their own siddur.

Feel free to change the words to the prayers. I took out a lot of the "Blessed are You" portions because I just thought it best considering a child's attention span. I also added "Yeshua" because this is a messianic children's siddur, and because my daughter loves to hear His name! :) I began using it today with her, although we didn't do the morning prayers very early. I read the afternoon prayers with her while she ate her lunch, because she was already sitting still! Those are quite long and difficult for small children, but they can be further shortened. We already recite the Shema with her before naptime and before bedtime, so tonight we will add the evening prayers and the bedtime shema to her book-reading-before-bed time.

last page, decorated with stickers
I added the special blessings at the end because they seemed very beneficial for small children in learning that G-d created everything, even scary things like thunder and lightning. Hopefully blessing G-d for these things will lessen the fear they may have of them. Also, blessing G-d for the variety in His creation will hopefully lessen the need to draw attention to, dislike, or even tease different or disabled people.

The Shema
I certainly enjoyed making this first siddur for my daughter. As she and I grow together, I pray that this siddur will enable us to share very special times of prayer together. Make one for your little wineskin, too!

*by Joanna Walter

Upon Arising (Modeh Ani)
I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King,
For You have awakened my soul within me with compassion—
Great is Your faithfulness!

Morning Prayers (Shacharit)
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of HaShem; His praise lasts forever.
Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.
The Torah that HaShem gave to Moshe is our heritage. I will listen when Abba and Ima discipline me, and I will pay attention when they teach me. HaShem, help me to believe what the Torah says because it is true. I will love HaShem my G-d for giving me life. I long for Your salvation,
O HaShem.
How Good (Mah Tovu)
Your tents are lovely, Ya’akov, and your dwelling places, Israel.
As for me, I will enter Your house because of Your kindness, HaShem.
I will bow towards Your holy sanctuary in awe of You. I love the place where You and Your glory live. I will bow before You because You made me. Hear my prayers, HaShem, and show me Your kindness. Answer me with the truth of Your salvation.

The Morning Blessings
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the universe, for teaching me the difference between day and night.
Thank You for making me who I am.
Thank You for making me a (boy/girl).
Thank You for my eyes and ears.
Thank You for my clothes.
Thank You for freedom.
Thank You for creating the earth and the seas.
Thank You for giving me everything that I need.
Thank You for my arms and legs.
Thank You for helping me grow big and strong.
Thank You for all the blessings in my life.
Thank You for giving me the strength to get out of bed today.
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the universe, for opening my eyes and helping me wake up. Help me to study Your Torah and to keep Your commandments. Help me be good to myself and others today. Give me grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see me today. Thank You, HaShem, for Your kindness to me and to Israel.
The Shema
Hear, O Israel
The L-rd our G-d
The L-rd is One.
Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.

Afternoon Prayers (Minchah)
(Shemoneh Esrei (18 benedictions)- Amidah)
1.Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d and the G-d of our
forefathers, G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzhak,
and G-d of Ya’akov. You are the great, mighty,
awesome, and only G-d. You created everything.
You remember everyone’s kindness, and you have provided
a Redeemer for Your name’s sake, with love.
O King, Helper, Savior, and Shield. Blessed are You,
HaShem, shield of Avraham.
2.You will be mighty forever, my L-rd. You are able
to bring the dead back to life. You are abundantly
able to save. [You make wind and rain.] You are kind to the living, and merciful to sick people. You give us freedom. You are
still faithful to people who have died. There is no one like You, Master
of mighty deeds. No one even comes close! You are the King
who rules over death and life. You provide salvation!

3.You are holy, Your name is holy, and holy ones praise You
every day. Blessed are You, HaShem, the holy G-d.
4.You give wisdom and teach insight to human beings.
You are the gracious giver of wisdom.
5.Keep us close to You, Father, and close to Your Torah.
When we do something wrong, help us to return to You.
6.Forgive us, Father, when we sin and do something wrong.
Thank You for Your forgiveness.
7.Redeem us for Your name’s sake, because You
are a powerful Redeemer. Blessed are You, HaShem,
Redeemer of Israel.
8.Heal us when we are sick, HaShem, and help us
to recover quickly. Thank You for being a faithful
and compassionate Healer.
9.Bless this year for us, HaShem, and send rain for the earth.
10.Sound the great shofar of freedom and raise the
banners to gather Your people from all over the world.
Blessed are You, HaShem, who brings Israel back together.
11.Help people who don’t know you and love You, HaShem.
12.Show compassion to Your people, HaShem. Reward all
people who believe in Your name.
13.Return in love to Your city, Jerusalem, and rest there,
as You said You would. Rebuild it soon, and return the
throne of David to it. Blessed are You, HaShem, the
builder of Jerusalem.
14.Make the offspring of Your servant, David, flourish.
We thank You for Your salvation all day long. Blessed are You,
HaShem, who has given us Yeshua for salvation.
15.Listen to our voice when we pray, HaShem. We know
that You hear our prayers. Thank You for everything
that You will do or give to us.

16.Show favor to Your people, Israel, and restore the Temple.
17.Thank You for everything. We will always thank You
forever. Our lives and souls belong to You.
You do miracles every day. You are good all the time and in
every season. We will thank You every morning, afternoon,
and evening. Your kindness will never end. We can never
say thank You enough!
18.Bring eternal peace to Your people, Israel. You are the
King and Master of all peace. As You make peace
in the heavens, please make peace for us and for all Israel.

Evening Prayers (Maariv)
Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d,
King of the universe, who speaks and makes
night come. With wisdom, You created the seasons and
put the moon and stars in their places. You created day
and night, and darkness and light. Thank You for
loving us with an eternal love. We are happy
that You have taught us Torah and mitzvot.
We will think about them day and night. Blessed
are You, HaShem, who loves His nation Israel.

Bedtime Shema
Master of the universe, I forgive anyone
who did anything wrong to me today. I also forgive them
 if they only thought about doing something wrong. Help
everyone to also forgive me if I did, or thought about doing,
something wrong today. Forgive me, HaShem. Please
don’t punish me for doing wrong, but help me to do what
is right. Let the words that I say and the thoughts
that I think be pleasing to You, HaShem.
Help me to get a good night’s sleep. Wake me up tomorrow
feeling refreshed. If I have bad dreams, help me to not
be afraid, because I know that You are with me. Open my
eyes again tomorrow so that I can praise You for
another day. Blessed are You, HaShem, who
lights up the whole world with Your Glory!
(recite The Shema)

Special Blessings
For seeing lightning: Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe, who makes the work of Creation.

For hearing thunder: Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe, for Your strength and power fill the world!

For seeing a rainbow: Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe, because You remember Your
covenant and fulfill Your word.

For seeing the ocean: Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe, who makes the great sea.

For seeing a tree in bloom: Blessed are You, HaShem
Our G-d, King of the universe, for nothing is missing
in Your creation. You created good creatures and good
trees that give people pleasure. 

For seeing very beautiful trees, animals, or people:
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe,
who has made such beauty in His world.

For seeing strange-looking or different animals or people:
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the universe,
who has made such variety in His world.

For any new season or experience:
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d,
King of the Universe, who has kept us alive,
sustained us, and brought us to this season.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

a new adventure!

my first little wineskin, Elli
 With the new Torah cycle this year, I will be starting to "homeschool" (more like play school with) my almost 2 year old. Although realistically my expectations can only be as long as her attention span, I am excited to begin this journey and would like to share it with you. As she grows, and bizrat HaShem, when our family grows, this blog will grow too! Please feel feel to share your adventures as well. May you be blessed as you teach your own fresh wineskins!