Peulot/activities for use in classroom, youth group and/or home. Where something works better for a particular age group or situation, this is specified. Be sure to also look over our "Let's Talk About It" section.

Back to top ⤴

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Make it a little outing…

Visit the grounds around you, or look at what's growing around the neighbors or take a walk in a nearby park or the woods.

What can you identify on your walk? Help each other out. If you don't know, it may be good to start asking and getting more familiar with the names (and "workings"!) of what grows around you.

Close your eyes here and there to help concentrate on information coming to your other senses - listen, catch scents, touch for texture, temperature differences, for the feel of wind… Describe to each other the kinds of things you now notice.

Think about all the added visual variety and colors trees provide around us the year round.

How many kinds of animals interact with your local trees in one way or another?

How do you think they are viewing this world through their senses (which in many cases differ somewhat than ours)? If you are one of these animals in a heavy rain, wind, snow, heat wave… where are you looking for refuge?

What it is like to be on a street with no trees or greenery at all?

How does that make us feel?

What kind of mood do we have instead when we are around green streets, parks, etc.?

How many ­different kinds of "green" and growing places are around you? Like a well-tended lawn, a park, a community garden, some woods, an untended field of wildflowers, a little strip of green by a curb…. How does each make you feel (and when, and why)?

In "Let's Talk About It", we've discussed many absolute needs which rely on trees. We can also think about the fun and pleasures that trees provide, like for climbing, a swing, beauty, shade, as a welcoming place for the animals (and birdsongs) around us, for a tree house…

*For an added little "mission" on this walk, see "Repurpose 2" and "I Can't Draw" below.

Back to top ⤴

Such Amazing Gifts (mural)

Look over and use some of the discussion points in "Such Amazing Gifts" from the "Let's Talk About It" section. Make a large artistic presentation in the classroom or school hallway based on that discussion (or even on the fridge at home).

You can use a large butcher block sheet or heavier paper tablecloth, markers, crayons, pens, paste, and construction paper. Either draw a regular large tree outline or trace a volunteer child's outline onto the sheet. The child lies down positioned like a tree, with feet together for the trunk and arms and fingers outstretched like branches. Trace on extra arms and hands for more branches, and add a nice face :) .

Each child writes descriptions on construction-paper leaves to add onto this tree, describing all those incredible things that trees provide us with.

Alternatively, have the children draw and/or hunt through old magazines for pictures representing the tree's various contributions and wonderful traits to cut out and paste on. Remember, you are looking for photos that demonstrate all kinds of "fruits", so-to-speak, not just the edible kind - even oxygen, soil preservation, windbreakers, tables, paper and musical instruments! (some you may have to label a little for clarity).

Add the bracha/blessing for tree fruit in your design, like on the tree's trunk or in a handy cloud, plus a big decorated toda raba /תודה רבה ["many thanks"] as well. Include some birds, bees, butterflies, edible fruits, etc. in there while you're at it, maybe a swing or hammock...

Back to top ⤴

"Name That Fruit" Taste Challenge (& other shenanigans)

Besides any seder plans and formats you may go with, here's an added activity. Prepare your samples in advance and keep them hidden, like behind a large box. Use this opportunity to first explain and review the bracha/blessing for eating a tree fruit and why we also say the Shehechiyanu [see "Brachot/Blessings" in the "Worthwhile Information" section]. Then take turns taste-testing either with eyes shut or blindfolded. Any fruit or nut that grows on a tree is fair game. If you are working on Hebrew vocabulary for these items, it's an added benefit. Maybe have a celebratory nosh afterwards, e.g. fruit salad that you prepare together plus some fruity cake or pie with nerot/candles for the trees' birthday (be sure to sing "yom huledet sameach" too!).

For slightly older children: You might start off by using the info and discussion provided in "Creation & Fruit" in the "Let's Talk About It" section. Then when you do the blindfolded taste test, you could also give an added hint to each taster by stating which category of fruit the sample falls into - asiya, beria, or yetzira.

For the younger set (and young at heart), at home: By the way, this is also a handy time to play with your food to get into the spirit. Like "make a little edible ya-ar/forest"- e.g. of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and celery sticks and such (and whatever else in your fridge looks like a mini-tree or other needed mini-prop item – involve your kids in this part too). In our family, we'd stick them all upright in a mashed potato or yam base, to then gobble up after a few ooh's and ah's on each person's clever design and/or dramatics – such as the giant is eating the garden, ack! Or bring in a few (well-scrubbed) little action figures to aid the proceedings. If you throw in a few veggie squeals of "Help! No! Pleeeease don't eat me!", guess what happens next. (Before you go "say what?!", the author raised two well-behaved, large-portion vegetable lovers with the initial help of such occasional shenanigans. In fact, when just mentioning writing about Tu B'Shvat, one son immediately reminded her to let everyone know that [his favorite veg] broccoli was definitely the coolest tree).

Back to top ⤴

Feed Your Fine-Feathered Friends

Shabbat Shira falls around the time of Tu B'Shvat - Sabbath of Song/Praise. The Torah portion for that week [Beshallah, Exodus 13:17- 17:16] includes a special song of praise and thanks for the miracle of crossing the Red Sea. It is also recounted that Moshe told the people that a double portion of manna would fall on the sixth day, to make up for none on Shabbat. Some wise-guys decided to try to show him up as a charlatan though, by spreading some manna around on Shabbat. The birds showed them up instead by eating it all. From this event plus their lovely singing, taken as a natural constant praise of G-d, it is customary to feed the birds especially around this time.

Birdwatching in Hulah Valley, northern Israel

So let's make them a suitably celebratory nosh too:

Start off with a really neat-o fact about birds and Israel-
Kind of akin to some of the heavier-trafficked major airports and flight routes, Israel happens to be a key natural hub for the avian version. This is due to our location - where three continents meet (show this to your kids on a map). We are a mecca for a plethora of bird species, with an estimated half a billion birds (!!!) migrating through here twice each year, and some types also hanging around for a stretch. This fact also makes us a super-favorite destination for bird-watching fans from all around the world :) . Look over some great photos here:

While the following suggestions work great for any age, we want to note that these are right up the alley for even tiny tots:

  1. Pine cones (especially larger ones) happen to make really fine bird-feeders. If you don't have these handy though, a spent cardboard paper roll will work well too - for hanging you can either run the string through the length of the tube or through two holes that you make at one end. We'd recommend using the heavier cardboard kind (e.g. used for foil and saran wrap).

    Spread peanut butter all over the tube, or in and around the crevices of the pine cone. Pour birdseed into a shallow pan and roll your PB'ed feeder in the seed. Hang up your feeder outside and keep an eye out for what happens.
  2. Another option: Cut stale bread into quarters, and make a little hole in the center of each piece. Add some cereal (the loops/holed kind) and old pretzels. Run string through all this to hang outside. (We've heard some folks string apple and carrot slices in these as well).
  3. Nest Aid!: Get some kind of net bag (like from potato packaging, or a sock net bag, etc). Fill it with the lint from your clothes dryer. Hang it outside. Here's hoping that your bag becomes a little nest-supply "Home Depot" by word-of-beak.
Back to top ⤴

Know Any Israeli Trees?

Besides it being a good idea to get to know your local trees and their habits, why not get to know a few of ours? Of course we encourage you to contribute to JNF (and thank you!) and to similar organizations to plant more trees here and elsewhere as needed in the world. (Perhaps discuss having a bake sale or other activity to make a group donation). We'd just like to make this feel a little more familiar, instead of a kind of distant faceless general "tree".

Judaica stores often sell packs of cards of Israeli flora and fauna - now would be a good time to play some simple games using those. As an alternative, we've also listed just a few winners right here. If it's one of our seven praised species from the Bible - which are wheat, barley, grape (wine), fig, pomegranate, and date (honey) - we remind you with an asterisk. This is also a good precursor to any taste test or nosh activities…

You can start off this orientation by hearing and learning Naomi Shemer's much beloved song Chorshat Ha-ekaliptus, sung here by Ofira Gluska. The lyrics are included as video Hebrew subtitles and also transliterated in the "About" section. You can find them here too, with English translation included:

Almond tree

Acacia (we've a few kinds):
שיטה/ shita – it has a major role in the desert ecosystem. According to the Bible, the Tabernacle was made from its wood.

Almond: שקדיה / shekedia - first (and quite pretty) bloomer of spring. The word for almond is shaked שקד , which is also used as an Israeli name (either sex).

The shkedia is the star in the song Tu B'Shvat Higia, which you can listen to here-

and the lyrics can be found here-

Black Mulberry: תות שחור /tut shachor . Delicious!

Carob: חרוב /charuv.

See more in "From Generation To Generation" in the "Let's Talk About It" section.

Cedar of Lebanon: ארז הלבנון / erez halevanon – northern Israel; a symbol of power and prestige, with many Biblical references. King Solomon used this wood in constructing the First Temple. Erez ארז is also a boy's name.

Citrus tree: עץ הדר / etz hadar. Citrus fruit is פרי הדר /pri hadar. We've got terrific oranges, grapefruits, lemons, pomelas, clementinas, kumquats…

Cypress: ברוש /brosh – windbreaker, afforestation, wood source, ornamental.

Date Palm*: תמר/tamar - Nutritious treat, like Nature's candy. Newer, still-closed leaves from the center of the tree are taken to serve as palm branches (lulav)– one of the four species used on Sukkot. Tamar is also a common girl's name.

Eucalyptus: אקליפטוס /ekaliptus(various types grow here); forestation, windbreaker, soil protection, originally also for draining swamp areas in the north (thus also helping to clean up a big malaria problem).

Cypress trees (in Jerusalem)

Fig*: תאנה /te-ena. Talk about a long history! Part of semi-fossilized remains indicate that one of the very first plants cultivated by humans was the edible fig! Another jam-packed-with-nutrition champ.

Oak: אלון / alon - king of the trees. Alon is also a common boy's name.

Olive*: עץ זית /etz zayit . We in Israel can't imagine life without an abundance of olives and olive oil. And of course there are the great health benefits.

***Learn some more about olives here (and make some olive paste!):

Pomegranate*: רימון / rimon. Very popular, tasty, a great addition to tons of varied dishes, plus increasingly touted for its health benefits.

Stone Pine: אורן הצנובר/ oren hatznobar. This variety of pine (we've more) is one that produces larger pine cones - like for making a great birdfeeder. Its pinenuts (tznobar) are edible and used in cooking. A popular dish here is hummus with tznobar - try it, you'll love it. Oren is also a common boy's name.

Deforestation is a worldwide problem

See "I Came to Israel and Planted a…" and "Hollywood Squares" below as a good way to play with this info and other things you may be teaching or reviewing.

Deforestation is a worldwide problem - due to less scrupulous loggers, developers, urban expansion, poorly planned switches to agricultural/food needs. It has dire consequences for all of us, which you might discuss. We encourage you, as part of tikun olam, to aid reforestation efforts here and/or choose another target in the world, and/or supporting alternative projects concerned with wiser agricultural (food-producing) solutions.

In addition to this, in keeping with the netiat simcha custom of planting to mark a joyous occasion, why not plant a new tree in your garden – like for a lifecycle event, or a "class tree" at your school or synagogue? In many kibbutzim this is an active practice each Tu B'Shvat, where everyone gathers together for a ceremony where a new tree sapling is planted for each new baby born that year and sometimes also for other meaningful personal events and memorializations.

If your class or family is thinking about a spring garden, this is a good time to start discussing plans for that too.

Back to top ⤴

Repurpose 1 - Plant A Lil' Somethin' Now

Ok, you may locally have snow on the ground. But why not start something indoors (a la literal kitchen garden on the windowsill)? You could plant some parsley/petrozilia to get a jumpstart on Passover, for example. Or spearmint/nana which is terrific in tea. Did you know that if you buy fresh sprigs of nana even from the supermarket, you can get the sprig to grow roots by placing it in water? Then you switch it to a little pot of dirt. Transfer it into your garden later (water liberally) and just watch it take off and spread. (The same will happen to planting parsley later in your garden…. With a little luck it reseeds and spreads too; very handy for those of us who use a lot of it in soups from scratch).

Brainstorm what you have in your fridge that can be coaxed into growing. Like a potato, yam (nice flowers and great foliage), carrot top, pineapple top, citrus seed, avocado pit, olive pit (yes, that worked in a home experiment, but perhaps it also helps a lot that we live in the right geography), citrus seeds, pepper seeds, a squishy tomato, garlic, onion, scallion…

It's also worth mentioning that it's good to save spent, dried leftover heads from flowers (like marigolds, zinnias, daisies…) and that taking a little piece off of some plants- like succulents- and sticking it in some dirt makes for easy-peasy new plants.

Tu B'Shvat is about renewing and strengthening our ties with the growing natural world, so in this spirit we encourage you to become a bit of an amateur investigating botanist. If you think this takes much know-how and green-thumb talent, the author can assure you that she and her children produced some fascinating things on no talent or special garden supplies whatsoever. We simply said "what if we try this" and "that looks cool- let's put it in some water or dirt and see what happens"…and were regularly shocked at just how often things did happen, sprouting and/or rooting and producing pretty or edible things. (Or useful- just think of aloe!) If we ever purchased anything at all in a plant place, the first question was actually "how hard is this to kill?", and "how easily can I make more plants from it?" (e.g. take a piece off, or divide the root clump in half with a knife, or throw a piece in a corner and see what accidently happens (e.g. jade plants!)…

"I have no supplies": You really can get by with old kitchen utensils/silverware/chopsticks etc, packaging (like yogurt cups for little plant or seedling- starters work fine – just punch a few drainage holes), other repurposed containers (see below), and okay, a hand spade is sometimes nice.

Brainstorm some recycling ideas for containers

"I have no space for an outdoor garden later": Use the windowsill (my grandmother built an amazing veritable jungle in South Philly based only on stuff anchored on windowsills and then trailing and fanning out everywhere. She lived on a street that was only concrete and trolley tracks, with no vegetation in sight; which you completely forgot upon entering such a cheerfully green home). As to "outside", Tel Aviv is as space-cramped as anything, so container gardens crop up on many small porches and hanging down from windows and grates. After all, G-d created 3 dimensions. You'd be surprised at what you can grow vertically upward or downward that was never originally intended to do so (like cucumbers, zucchinis tomatoes, honeydews…).

Brainstorm some recycling ideas for containers- both little ones for indoors and maybe some outdoor ones for "later". We have used cans, old shoes, boots, crocs (they hang nicely on an outside wall or fence), hanging knapsacks, jeans, plastic bottles, coconut shells, a worn-out and stripped-down baby carriage (we love wheel-able vegetation), old toys e.g. a plastic dump-truck… The possibilities are practically endless (as well as what prop supports and hanging methods we've used for vertical growing). "Trash" turns into an adventure and the most creative of opportunities.

Back to the first easy basics for a moment: If you are looking for an angle in class instead of home, we suggest holding the refrigerator brainstorming discussion, and also give them parsley and/or other herb seeds to take home to start off. Even better if they learn the Hebrew name of whatever they are growing. Make a point of setting a date for a review discussion in another month or so, to share what's working out. If the kids have the capability- e.g. phones with cameras, have them snap pics to bring in to share and/or to post on a class, school or synagogue site or Facebook page.

Back to top ⤴

Repurpose 2 - Make a Bottle or Bead Tree

The next time you see large downed branches from pruning or a storm, grab it. Stick it in your lawn/garden. Start putting colored-glass wine bottles on the limbs. (Soak off the labels. If they are difficult to remove due to stubborn adhesive, spread vegetable oil on them with a paper towel or cotton ball and let them sit a bit. The label should become easier to scrape off, and then just wash off the oil residue with soap and water). A bottle tree is a lovely sight in winter, as well as for added variety and/or when some of the gardening doesn't work out later. Mini-trees using little colored glass or translucent plastic bottles work well too, either for your garden or on a window sill.

For a class project going more the mini-route:

This is when to start asking for donations of old toy baby-beads (those colorful plastic and wood kinds), beads from clunky broken costume jewelry and/or making a quick trip to the Goodwill store, etc. If you live near a beach area, little shells with some holes in them work great too (we save these up for lots of projects). Colorful bottle-caps can also be turned into beads by making a hole in them- it's easy to do with old used-up or broken cuticle shears, for example (make a bunch while watching TV for an hour). Go twig hunting. Stick the beads or whatever on the branched little ends. Sometimes it’s a nice effect to gently bend two nearby thinner ends together and put a bead over that, holding them together. For indoors, you can anchor your "tree" in a bottle filled with some sand or pebbles. We just stuck a few of these variations directly in the ground around our garden- lined up with windows- and were surprised by all the "wow" compliments, so give it a try. We used large glass beads from old junk-jewelry and also small medicine bottles, with a nice effect in the sun, as well as the window view from within the house. At night, in reversal, the light shining from our windows glowed them up outside too. (The same idea works on a windowsill, of course). If you want this to be less bug-prone and more permanent, just check your branch first for any obvious infestation, rinse it, maybe peel the bark off (and don't use green wood).

(If this is a home project and you want to get very fancy and carried away, use a wood sealant or varnish of some sort).

For more garden and tree décor projects, by the way, including hanging bottle-cap snakes and coils, whirligigs, etc. – look here (from our Sukkot packet) -

Cap beads are versatile and easy to prep. When we did these at home while living on kibbutz, the kindergarten teachers heard about it from a few kids, took a peek, and next thing we knew a burst of hanging kid creations appeared in their play-yards too. It's also a great activity at birthday parties.

Back to top ⤴

Repurpose 3 "What If I Had a Busted…."

The idea here is to help encourage a different mindset and creative thinking. We throw out so many things unfortunately without a second thought. So have a practice brainstorming session. You can even have the kids prepare ideas in teams.

For only a couple examples to get things going:

  • So the legs went on a nice looking chair. Why not hang it on the wall as an interesting shelf?
  • Turn a door into a table or desk top. (Buying Ikea legs costs less than getting a whole new thing).
  • Old drawers turned on their side and then anchored on a wall make great shelves.
  • We had a tubular-metal sofa frame (simple garden type) ready to throw. Nice curves to it. We upended it, went "huh!", and stuck it in the garden- planted flowers below, threw an old board on the "top level" and put some potted plants on that with a variety of growth patterns, including some of which started spreading nicely downward. We hung some homemade wind-chimes on it too, and a little wire spiral that we "beaded" with leftover buttons. It all became another ooh-ah garden feature.
    The point here is: Before you just throw something (especially if it's something you especially liked)- turn it upside down, sideways, diagonally, inside-out…
What can this plastic bottle become?

Here's some starters for you:

  • What could we do with an old shower curtain, suitcases, broken table, skateboard (it’s a surface with wheels!), car tire, bike tire, crib parts, old spoons and forks, keys, wire leftovers, mugs, picture frames, socks with worn bottoms, unwearable stockings or tights with runs, cut-off shirtsleeves, umbrella that won't shut anymore or is torn….
  • Have your children think of more challenge objects too. Or after a few rounds given by you, have each team give the other team their next challenge object to create suggestions for.
  • Added challenge: How many ways can you reuse (or even build with) soda bottles?

Reducing, recycling, reusing and repurposing are finally The "In" Thing. It's increasing hit the big leagues nowadays- they even make this the theme of major yearly international design contests. It's also given birth to some fascinating artworks, jewelry and craft-wares, some also quite upscale. This atmosphere is a perfect fit with Jewish values, like proper appreciation for G-d's creations, tikun olam (improving our world) and the themes of Tu B'Shvat.

Back to top ⤴

"Guess the Word" in Slo-Mo (& more)

It's not really "guessing", more a matter of focusing differently. Learning foreign words is tough enough. It's even harder when less frequent and somewhat disconnected in some scenarios in the overseas Jewish world. This "game" actually started as laidback therapy practice for a child with both substantial auditory-processing and articulation problems. We would play it in fairly short snatches on walks, at the pool, sitting outside, in car-rides, etc. Lo and behold, every time any other child was around it was like some magic magnet- they invariably begged to "play" too. Funnily enough, the child who had the learning and motor disabilities often did better and faster than the newer kids simply because he had acclimated to this approach (and it certainly improved his listening and speaking skills, in two languages no less).

Slo-Mo Challenge:

Take any vocabulary word or phrase in Hebrew that you wish teach [see our "Good To Know In Hebrew" section, as well as our "Free Collection"]. You will say it reaaaaally sloooow, broken into distinct individual phonic sounds or syllables (depending on difficulty or word length) and even with exaggerated facial work (to "read" the face phonics- with a child with auditory and/or attention shortfalls, this boosts the visual side; in the same vein, it also helps to point to the throat while saying any guttural sound). To demonstrate first in English: d' ohhh g', spread over a few seconds, for dog. Or p' eeee tz' ahhh for pizza. For a Hebrew example: ch' ahhh r' ooo v' for charuv [carob]. Not everyone is so hot at coming up with the word at first – again, it often takes getting "accustomed"- plus some folks tend to be more auditory and others more visual learners- but it's beneficial for attention and really learning and absorbing a word. And they always seem to take it as the coolest game, as well as two more related challenges described below.

After some runs, have kids volunteer to take over giving a word in slo-mo to the rest of the class, or alternatively, if you place them in teams - as the challenge word to the opposing team. Now you have attentiveness, motor-memory and articulation in play!

You can also put the targeted list of vocabulary right up on the board as a "legal cheat sheet" that the kids can reference. (*Sneaky teacher- they are automatically motivated in decoding, reading and visually reinforcing then, aren't they?). Especially for this:

In an opposite "Speedy-Gonzalez-speak" challenge, say a word or phrase as super-rapid (and maybe quietly) as you can and see if they can "catch" it. Again, you have their attention and desire going for you, and also their eyes are repeatedly running through that list- like to figure out what they may have only partially caught. If you want to make it even "harder" (and thereby encourage more repeat glanced reading going on) - then instead of posting the list on the board, put each word or phrase on cards which you lay on the floor and keep changing the order.

Is some of the vocabulary a bit tougher to say fast for a non-Hebrew-raised mouth? So turn that on its head and make it a tongue-twister challenge: Each kid down the line has to say the word or phrase three times and as fast as possible without tripping up (in which case they start over and slow down just a touch). Besides the giggles that inherently tend to go with this, there's SO much repetition going into each child's ears, right? If you have a larger group, switch to a new word or phrase after every five or so kids.

***Included in our Free Collection are multimedia reviews of various animals, fruits, vegetables, birds… So be sure to check it out!

Back to top ⤴

Make Like a Tree ("improv" ideas)

For our little ones:

Start off a session with a movement exercise. Have everyone gather round in a circle. You could go along these lines…

  • everyone is turning their body as little and balled up like a seed as possible…
  • tumbling a bit as you-the-seed are put in the ground….
  • pushing up a first little shoot out of the seed and out of the earth…
  • stretching up more bits in the sun…
  • getting a nice happy rain, digging your roots (toes) more deeply in the ground for a nice drink…
  • quickening your growth…
  • my, you're getting tall!...
  • swaying and dancing in the wind…
  • enjoying the music of the birds…
  • shading a tired hot visitor….
  • feeding a hungry visitor…
  • frowning at someone's leaving litter, like a plastic bag stuck on your branch and waiting for help from the wind with that…
  • losing leaves in autumn…
  • feeling weighted by snow in winter…
  • sprouting happy flowers and new leaves in the spring…
  • growing fruit to give through summer and fall…
  • getting taller and older and stronger!

For older children, either individually discussing this or divided into teams to make presentations. Take one of these directions:

  • If you were the tree and could talk, what would you want us to know?
  • The trees have gotten backing for a public service ad on TV. Put together your ad.
  • The trees are staging a strike plus a protest march at the U.N. and in every capital city around the world (it’s a downright leafy version of "Take Over Wall Street"). What are your demands, what are you putting "on strike", and what's going on your posters and into your chants?
  • What would a tree complain and joke about if he had a shot at showing his stand-up routine on Comedy Central?
Back to top ⤴

I Can't Draw

Everything can be broken down to simple geometric shapes

So let's "build up" a tree or happy nature scene out of printing bits.

You need newspaper or other table protector, pencils, sheets of paper (heavier is better), "scratch paper" to experiment and practice-print with your "stamps" on first, those "washable" ink pads in a variety of colors, or poster paints or finger paints poured into trays (like the Styrofoam and plastic kinds from food packaging), and expendable items from junk drawers etc. That masher you were about to replace, corks, forks, spoons, forlorn leftover toy odds and ends, caps and little bottles, a domino or dice, ANYTHING, as vary-shaped and/or textured as possible.

***Another alternative or added option we'd encourage is to go nature hunting for potential "stamps" like smaller leaves, pinecones, pebbles, sticks/twigs, bits of bark, acorns, feathers, etc. to use as interesting printing stamps. Make that part of your "Walk on the Wild Side" (see activity further above), taking along a bag or knapsack for good finds you want to try out.

Especially for the little guys:

Before starting, put some very simple sample outlines of trees, birds, butterflies, bees, fruits up on the board. Ask your kids for some suggestions too. While you're at it- show how they are all made of simple geometric shapes put together, or curvy, straight, bumpy, pointy etc. lines. Ask them to tell you the shapes and kinds of lines they notice as well. Have everyone come up to the board to make more practice outlines, and to help each other out.

Now they make simple very light pencil versions on their paper of what everyone practiced on the board. Again, kids may help each other with this part and also get a little help from you if needed. Then comes the fun part-

Experiment and practice with the various "stamps" on scratch paper.

On the picture sheet, fill in the outlines with repetitive printing. Like in a tree, fill up the trunk with cork stampings in brown, and then a different "stamp" or two and color/s for the foliage part. Add flowers or fruit with another stamp.

Thumbprints are also allowed- or use those to make people with simple faces, etc.

For older children, perhaps set aside some time and paper space for creating a personalized prayer, short poem, haiku, motto or slogan related to trees to add into your artistic creation.

Another alternative is hand-printing to create a tree, as described under "More Quick Ideas" in our Rosh HaShana packet

Back to top ⤴

Tu B'Shvat Hollywood Squares

Divide group into two teams. You will ask questions to review material, vocabulary, etc. you've been learning about Tu B'Shvat. And/or- give the teams some time to also create questions to be used for the opposing team. If you have a really large group, you can play "Hollywood Squares" the usual way by having nine people designated as tic-tac-toe spots who may give a truthful or fake answer. If not (far more likely), then the opposing team answers the question, and the team whose turn it is tells you if the answer is correct or not. If they get it right, they get the square, etc.

Back to top ⤴

I Came to Israel and Planted a…

In a variant of "going on a picnic", each person adds one kind of tree. Each person must also repeat all things previously "planted" so far. This is a good review game of some of what grows in Israel. Of course you can add in more fruits and nuts than what we listed above in " Know Any Israeli Trees?" (apples, pears, cherries, loquats, pecans, walnuts, avocados, bananas, pistachios, plums, mangoes, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papayas… all grow here too). While not trees, we also have vine fruits like grapes, passion-fruit and kiwis, and sabras/prickly pears- a cactus fruit, strawberry plants…. In a higher level, they give trees or fruits or vegetables in Hebrew. The same can be done as I saw such-and-such animals, pets, birds….

New orange trees!

See also the activity "Guess The Word" in Slo-Mo, above.

Also note that our Free Collection includes multimedia reviews of various animals, fruits, vegetables, birds… So be sure to check it out!