Nov 19, 2013

Eight Activities for Eight Nights!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this year, that means Hanukkah is too! Here are eight fun and informative activities for you and your little ones to do together (for both holidays!) this year:

"Thankful Thoughts" Turkeys

For Thanksgiving and the first night of Hanukkah, take a moment to appreciate what you have.

You'll need: construction paper, scissors, and colored pencils, crayons, or markers

 Draw and decorate a hand turkey (made by simply tracing your hand), and then write one thing you are thankful for on each of its feathers. Or you can make more colorful turkeys like these.

Make Your Own Menorah from Joyful Jewish

Let even the youngest children participate in the lighting of the menorah with this pretty homemade menorah with paper "flames" that kids can safely use!

You'll need: paint, construction paper, toilet paper or other cardboard tubes, and popsicle sticks

Follow the instructions here.

Learn about the Maccabees with these Activities

Help children learn and remember the story of Hanukkah with these fun coloring and maze activities from Kar-Ben!

You'll need: printed activity pages and colored pencils, crayons, or markers

Download the Maccabee color-by-number here, the Maccabee shield here, and the Torch Relay Maze here.

Homemade Hanukkah Cards from Scrumdilly-do

Help children learn the importance of showing they care with these sweet handmade Hanukkah cards, which are much more unique than store-bought cards.

You'll need: tinfoil, glue, cardboard, scissors, colored tissue paper, thread, and glitter

Follow the instructions here.

Decorate Your Home from Enchanted Learning and She Knows Parenting

Kids will love to help decorate with these unique tin and felt designs that they can make themselves!

Metal Star of David
You'll need: disposable pie plate or roasting pan, a marker, scissors, a nail, and string or yarn
Follow the instructions here.

Felt Dreidels
You'll need: assorted colors of felt, pen, scissors, glue, string, and tape
Follow the instructions here. The page also includes a popsicle stick Star of David craft.

Milk Carton Dreidel from Spoonful

Make recycling a part of your Hanukkah season with this nifty dreidel made from a milk carton!

You'll need: empty 8oz milk carton, craft knife, unsharpened pencil, blue masking tape, and a paint pen

Follow the instructions here.

Hanukkah Gelt Cookies from More Quiche, Please

Now you have your homemade dreidel and so much Hanukkah gelt you're not sure what to do with it all. Turns out they're a perfect way to dress up some holiday cookies!

You'll need: peanut butter, margarine, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, vanilla, and 3 bags of Hanukkah gelt

Follow the instructions here.

Still looking for Hanukkah gifts? Check out the Kar-Ben website for great deals and new Hanukkah books, or get a great deal on a Kar-Ben audio eBook for your favorite device!

Nov 4, 2013

Meet Anna, the Star of "Don't Sneeze at the Wedding," and Her Author!

Anna is excited to be the flower girl at her aunt's wedding, but that morning she wakes up and . . . "AH-CHOO!" "Don't sneeze at the wedding!" everyone warns her, but will their remedies work?
See the book trailer here, and get the book on the Kar-Ben website!
In today's guest blog post, author Pamela Mayer talks about what inspired her to write Don't Sneeze at the Wedding and the joy of wedding celebrations:
     Tee-Hee! I love to laugh. One of my favorite childhood memories is of sitting in my bedroom with my best friend, the two of us so consumed with giggles that neither of us could talk. Perhaps that is why I always try to see the funny side of life in my books.
Don't Sneeze At the Wedding is a “what-if” story. What if you woke up with a big loud sneeze on the day you are going to be the flower girl at your aunt's wedding? Sneezing is a reflex. No one can help sneezing or anticipate exactly when a sneeze might happen! That's why a sneeze can make us laugh.
My husband has photographed weddings for many years. When I've assisted him, I've seen  all of the excitement which happens before the ceremony, with the arrival of hairdressers, florists, and family. I've seen the mishaps too, melted wedding cakes, ripped gowns and absent bridesmaids! It gave me plenty of first hand experience for my story.
Of course, weddings rarely go exactly as planned. When my daughter, Rebecca, was married last spring, the ceremony was to be outside, on a terrace overlooking the ocean. The day was so foggy and windy, we thought we would have to move it inside. However, just as the ceremony was due to begin the sun peeked through the clouds and shone brightly. The unexpected can be delightful too.
When I wrote Don't Sneeze At the Wedding, I wanted to write about a joyful event in the Jewish Life Cycle. Our history is filled with its share of struggle and difficult times, yet is it filled with joy too. Did you know that it is considered a mitzvah, a good deed, to make the bride and groom happy on their wedding day? Happiness and laughter seem to go together, just as love and marriage do!
Here is a riddle for you – When do you sneeze three times? 
Answer: When you can't help it!
A Q&A with Author Pamela Mayer
Why did you want to become an author?
I wanted to become an author because I loved to read so much as a child. From the time I read my first book on my own, I was hooked. I was about nine years old when I decided to become an author. Being one of the people who created stories like the ones I loved so well seemed the perfect future to me.
Do you have any advice for future authors?
Write the story only you can tell, the tale which is uniquely your own. Remember too that only your very best is good enough for children.
What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing your book?
I learned many methods to stop a sneeze from happening!
How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?
I wanted to write a contemporary story which I hope many children can identify with. I also hope they will learn and appreciate the beautiful customs of a Jewish wedding ceremony.
Pamela Mayer was born and raised in San Francisco, California, and her family has lived there since the early 1900s. Writing children's stories is her favorite thing to do. When she's not writing, she works at the public library as a children's librarian. She's a fan of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, the San Francisco Ballet, and any and all circuses. She and her husband have two daughters and a very cute dog named Charlie.