This year Mr. Monkey was two at the time of the fall feasts, so he could understand some of what we were doing. We had a nice Yom Teruah as a family and a community, as well as a meaningful Yom Kippur. Mr Monkey loves the shofar and he was so excited to hear it on Yom Teruah! At home he went around with an empty paper towel roll and pretended that it was a shofar. He’s so cute to watch.
As Sukkot was approaching, Mr. Monkey’s excitement was growing. Leading up to Sukkot we told him about how we were going to make a Sukkah. We also read some Sukkot children’s books. He loved the books and would often say “Sukkot is coming!”. When Yom Kippur ended, as we were doing Havdalah with our community, my husband mentioned “Now we can all go and build our Sukkahs.” Mr. Monkey heard that and kept asking Daddy to start building the Sukkah. Daddy had to tell him as he put him to bed, that tomorrow they would get to build the Sukkah. Well, the very next morning, when he woke up, the first thing he said was “We get to build a Sukkah today!” I enjoy seeing his excitement about the feasts. He gets excited about the weekly Shabbat too. Maybe that is part of what Yeshua meant when He said that we are to be like little children. Honestly, sometimes on Friday I’ll be getting ready for Shabbat and just be busy with al lthe work, but when I hear his excited little voice talking about Shabbat coming, it makes me excited too.
So, the day after Yom Kippur Daddy set up the Sukkah, while Mr. Monkey “helped” him.
Here they are telling stories in the Sukkah right after setting it up.
This year for Sukkot, our community did Sukkah-hopping! Sukkah-hopping is where different families would host our group at their Sukkah/home for a potluck meal. On the first day of Sukkot, we travelled about 2 hours away to a large Sukkot gathering in our province. It was a wonderful day as we got to see a lot of our friends whom we don’t see very often. The other nights were either with our community or just with family. I have to say we did so. many. potlucks. It was a lot of good times of fellowship, worship, singing and dancing. That’s one of the things about Sukkot, is that we’re actually commanded to rejoice!
During the Sukkot week, we also got together twice as our little group of mommies and toddlers. I hosted the first of these playdates. And here is what we did:
First, I read aloud a couple Sukkot books. This one I purchased at a Judaica store when I was visiting in Toronto. It’s a nice simple picture book about celebrating Sukkot.
I had found a little children’s sukkot song on YouTube that involves making actions. So, next we listened to the song. During the actions part, we made the actions, and during the “lai lai lai” part, we clapped hands on our knees. Then we listened to it a second time, and this time I gave the children little instruments (maracas, tambourine, etc) to play during the “lai lai lai” part. They really liked it!
In the storybook mentioned above, it shows the children stringing coloured pasta onto string to make Sukkah decorations. So I prepared some coloured pasta for that.
This was made with rigatoni pasta as it looked the easiest to thread. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how nicely the colours on the pasta turned out. To learn how to dye pasta, you can read a post on this blog.
The children enjoyed stringing the pasta. It’s also a good fine-motor activity. After our craft, we had a snack of grapes, and then we went outside and danced in the Sukkah to the Sukkot song by Steve McConnell.
A week later, my sister-in-law hosted the moms and tots at her house. While we were there we watched the Shalom Sesame video about Sukkot. These videos are so cute. I’m actually able to find them at the library here, but I’m often on the lookout for children’s resources about our Biblical holidays.
Next, the children made “apple pies” with apple-scented homemade playdough that my sister-in-law had made.
She scented it with powdered apple-cider flavoured drink mix. The children each got a tin pie plate and some dough. They could add into it cinnamon sticks, walnuts and cloves. I thought this was a neat idea.
Here they are making their “apple pies”. My apologies for the poor-quality photos, they were taken with my phone.
For a snack, we had apple slices covered in sugar and cinnamon. Yummy!
So that was our Sukkot this year with little ones involved.