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A long long list of High Holiday activity suggestions…

Friday, August 31st, 2012 11:55 am by admin

There are so many wonderful things you and your children can do to prepare for the High Holidays. All of these activities help to better understand the themes, learn Hebrew vocabulary, and become more familiar with the symbols. Please take this opportunity to send in more activities as well as photographs of your children in action so that we can add to the list for parents and teachers everywhere. Send your ideas to shira@shirlala.com

Do the Shofar Dance!

Tekiah - one medium length blast Shevarim- three short blasts Teruah- nine very short staccato blasts Tekiah G’dolah – one single blast that is held for long as you can possibly hold it!

For each shofar sound, make up a dance movement. The leader (children can take turns being the leader and practice pronouncing the different shofar calls) calls out the name and the group dances the associated movements. For example, for Tekiah – how about one high jump, for Shevarim – turn around in a circle 3 times, and for Teruah – do the twist until the end of the Shevarim sounds. The leader can either call out the names ("Tekiah!") or make the sounds of the blasts.

Shofar Red Light Green Light

The participants line up on one side of the room. The leader calls out the different shofar calls ("Tekiah!") For each shofar call, the children take a certain number of small steps forward. For Tekiah – 1 step. For Shevarim – 3 steps. For Teruah – 9 baby steps forward. For Tekiah G’dolah – Run for it! First one to the leader wins.

Hebrew Lessons

Teach the words tapuach and d’vash using a picture of an apple and a picture of honey. After initially going over the two words in Hebrew, hold the picture of the an apple at eye level and have them say the word "tapuach" in a medium voice. Then hold the picture high above their heads and let them shout out "TAPUACH!" Follow this up by holding the picture down low by their toes and get a whisper "tapuach." Play with different volumes. Use one picture at a time or interchange two or three pictures for an extra challenge.

Other Hebrew vocab words for the High Holidays: challah, shofar, shanah tovah (on a greeting card), sefer chaiim 

Roll Play

A. Different ways to say "I’m sorry" B. Different situations in which we need to say "I’m sorry"

Duck Duck Goose

Play this fun game using High Holiday vocabulary words, like "tapuach, tapuach, tapuach, tapuach….dvash!" or "challah, challah, challah,…. shofar!"

Apple Relay Race

Have a relay race with children running back and forth with apples under their chins

Apple Taste Test

Bring in a number of different color/varieties of apples and have the participants choose their favorite. Make a chart to show which apples everyone chose.

Apple Prints

Slice apples down the middle (vertically), let them dry a little bit, dip the cut side into paint, and use them like a stamp all over some construction paper. This works particularly well on the cover of a Shana Tova (Happy New Year) card.

I Got The Whole World In My Hands

Play catch with a blow up globe beach ball. And play very very carefully, don’t let it drop!! Take care of our world.

Happy Birthday!

Have a birthday part for the world. Using children’s birthday supplies, show the similarities of the symbols. Something sweet (like apples dipped in honey), a round cake (like the round challah we use on Rosh Hashana), noise makers (like the shofar), decorations and birthday cards (like the Shanah Tovah cards we send).


Play the classic game of telephone using Hebrew phrases from our vocabulary lists and from the prayers.

Avinu Malkeinu Shanah Tovah Shana M’tukah Tapuchim U’Dvash Al Chayt G’mar Chatimah Tovah

Acrostic Poem

Write an acrostic poem in the same way that some of our Sages wrote our prayers. Use the letters T-S-H-U-V-A-H


Go around in a circle and list last year’s chayt and this year’s t’shuvah. Each participant can say one chayt from last year (or last week) and then on the second round say one act of t’shuvah for the coming year (or week). This is a good exercise if you see children weekly during the month of Elul or daily in the time in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

T’shuvah Quiz

Visit www.Babaganewz.com for a wealth of online activities. And while you’re at it, subscribe to the magazine. You won’t regret it!


Chayt Bulls-Eye

Create a giant colorful target and a small ball made out of rolled up paper and covered with tape. Have participants practice throwing, trying to hit the target – showing how hard it is to hit the mark every time.


Do tashlich with your children. If you have a source of natural water nearby all the better. If not, use a baby pool! Or create a mural of the ocean and then use it later to tell the story of Jonah and the Whale.

Fall Leaves

Glue them all over anything!

Tzedakah Project

Make Shanah Tovah cards for the local Home for the Elderly and the Hospital.

Paper Bag Dramatics

Supply groups of participants with a paper bag holding a random assortment of items (rubber band, hair brush, shoe, etc.) and challenge them to come up with a skit about Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Present the skits to each other. Extra challenge – they have to use some or all of their new vocabulary words.

Hidden Mysteries

Hide a shofar, a prayer book, an apple, a honey jar, a shanah tovah card, etc. behind a curtain or inside a box and see if participants can reach through and identify the item just by feel.

Sit in a circle and send one participant out of the room. One person hides one of these items behind her back. The participant re-enters the room and tries to guess who’s hiding the shofar!

Lay several items in a line on the floor in front of the children. Ask them to take a close look and then to close their eyes. Remove one or more objects. When they open their eyes, let them guess what’s missing. Try to use the Hebrew name of the items as much as possible.

Have more ideas?  send them in to shira@shirlala.com and I’ll post them right here!

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Posted in Activities for home and classroom, Holidays, Resources, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur