Jan 10, 2014

Crafts and Activities for Celebrating Tu B'Shevat!

Tu B'Shevat, the New Year or birthday for trees, is a great day to celebrate nature and introduce children to different ways to help out the environment. For over 100 years, many Israeli institutions have planted trees on Tu B'Shevat, and today over a million people participate in the Jewish National Fund's Tu B'Shevat tree-planting activities. This has led to the day often being called "Israeli Arbor Day" internationally.

Below are crafts and activities for celebrating and teaching children the importance of Tu B'Shevat:

A Craft for Learning About Trees
This sweet craft from Joyful Jewish teaches kids about the many things that we get from trees. It's a great activity for showing the many reasons we have to appreciate trees. For younger children, you can make the tree yourself and then let them enjoy discovering the flaps, for older children, have them create the tree and perhaps share it with someone younger! Find the directions here.

An Edible Craft!
This tasty craft from The Jewish Woman lets children decorate edible trees with a variety of the fruits that grow on them! A fun and (kind-of) healthy snack that also teaches children about one of the many delicious reasons we're thankful for trees. Find the directions here.

Have a Tu B'Shevat Seder (or just bake something tasty!)
Tu B'Shevat seders have become a popular and delicious way to celebrate the holiday. Plan a seder meal, or just enjoy making a simple kid-friendly recipe with your child. In keeping with celebrating trees and the many things they provide, many Tu B'Shevat recipes include fruit. This Banana Bread recipe from Leah Cooks Kosher is full of tasty ingredients like figs and almonds.

Take a Trip to a Plant Nursery
Nurseries can be fascinating for children because there's a wide array of plants, including many that aren't seen everyday. It's a great place to introduce your child to the diversity of the plant kingdom and talk about the different uses of different kinds of plants.

Teach Your Child How to Care for a PlantWhile much of the US is too cold to plant outdoors, that doesn't mean you can't teach your child how to care for a plant. Start with a small, hearty, indoor potted plant. Teach your child how to care for the plant with daily water and sunlight, and gradually release responsibility until they are responsible for caring for the plant on their own. They'll learn an important lesson about responsibility, as well as about environmental stewardship.

Find Out How Other Nations and Cultures Honor Trees
Have you heard of Arbor Day and Earth Day? How about Shikmokil in Korea or Chih Shu Chieh in China? Many cultures understand and appreciate the importance of trees - what is similar or different about their celebrations?

Learn More About Tu B'Shevat with a Good Book
Children's books about Tu B'Shevat show the close relationship between people and trees. They celebrate the many reasons we have to be thankful for trees, and provide youngsters with a great introduction to the holiday. Some Kar-Ben Tu B'Shevat favorites include:

Netta and Her PlantOne Tu B'Shevat day in Israel, little Netta brings a plant home from preschool. Over time, Netta grows, and the plant grows too. Soon it is time for both of them to find new homes and new friends.

Thank You, Trees!
Rhyming story giving thanks for the gifts trees provide on the occasion of Tu B’Shevat, Jewish Arbor Day.

Sammy Spider's First Tu B'ShevatSpring is in the air and Sammy Spider watches as Josh Shapiro lowers the roots of a small tree into the ground. As spring turns to summer and summer to fall, Sammy watches Josh nurture the small tree as it sprouts tiny buds, then full blossoms, then colorful autumn leaves.
The Apple Tree's Discovery
A little apple tree in a forest of oaks begs God for stars like those glimmering on the branches of the great oak trees beside her. As the seasons pass, she learns to appreciate her own gifts and realizes that it’s possible to find a star in each of us.

Find these and other Tu B'Shevat books here!