Ready-to-Go Activities for Deeper Purim Learning

Enjoy these simple, ready-to-go activities focused on Purim and its big themes. 

For Your Youngest Learners

Movement and mindfulness

Try this activity about bravey - a Purim theme - from the freshly updated Let’s Discover the Holidays series of 4-page folders: Tell children to tilt their heads up and stand straight and tall. Or try making strong muscles in their arms. Invite children to make a circle and do the activity with brave poses. Encourage them to notice where in their bodies they feel brave. (in my muscles; in my heart; my brain; my arms and legs) Suggest they try another pose and see if their brave feeling changes too. Have them create a pose that shows what bravery feels like in their body.

Story time

A Persian Princess is a new Jewish American tale. Raya is disappointed that her Purim costume isn’t ready. And to make things worse, she’s too young to perform in the school’s Purim play! But not to worry. Her grandmother, Mama Joon, remembers how she celebrated Purim back when she was a young girl in Hamdan, Iran, and she shares those traditions with Raya. Together, they find ways to make their American Purim beautiful, delicious and fun. This modern Purim story "rekindles the wondrous legacy of Persian Jewry," says Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

 

For Elementary and Up

Experiential learning

The whole holiday of Purim - from dressing up and reading the megillah, to preparing and handing our gifts of food to friends (mishloach manot) and gifts to the poor (matanot la'evyonim) - is one huge experiential learning opportunity, writes Batsheva Frankel in The Jewish Educator's Companion. Students can design and create fun-themed mishloach manot to sell at a Purim carnival, or even organize and staff the carnival for younger students. Then, as a class, have them reflect on a Jewish cause that has a connection to Purim (be creative making the connections; it doesn't have to be literal) and donate they money they make from the sales of the mishloach manot, which helps them fulfill the mitzvah of matanot la'evyonim. 

Lesson on tzedakah and giving

Purim gives us a chance to explore the value of tzedakah and giving. Why do people give to others? How do the story and themes of Purim encourage us to give to others - both to friends and to those in need?

Download this free lesson from Jewish Holidays, Jewish Values that explores these questions. Purim invites students to consider the mitzvah of giving and reflect on concepts of justice and morality. What have your students done that has been difficult? How did it feel afterwards? If one of your students saw unfairness in the world, how would they act? Who would they ask if they were unsure? Intended for older students, this book offers great opportunities for students to look at current events and think critically about the decisions they would make, have made, and their feelings concerning both.

For Middle Grade and Up

Lesson on anti-semitism and courage

Abby Mudd walked nervously to the front of the class, her heart beating so fast and loud that it felt as if the other students could hear it pounding in her chest. The Massachusetts tenth-grader feared speaking out, but after seven months of enduring antisemitic slurs, she knew she couldn't stay silent. Abby took a deep breath. "I never understood how difficult it could be to be a minority until I came to school here," Abby said, addressing a group of 11th and 12th graders.

From day one at her new school, Abby witnessed racism and antisemitism. Swastikas were etched on desks and in textbooks; students made racist remarks openly in class; and some of her classmates even participated in a neo-Nazi group. "What they were doing was so humanly wrong that it made me sick to my stomach," says Abby. Rather than leave the school, Abby courageously returned each day, even challenging classmates when they made racist insults. 

This true story forms the basis of the downloadable teacher resource Abby Mudd: Standing Up to Anti-SemitismComplete with a full lesson plan, source sheet, student worksheet, and optional Hebrew article, students can compare Abby Mudd's heroism to the model of courage exemplified by Queen Esther. Students will consider what each young woman had to gain and lose by taking a stand. Students will also practice speaking up against acts of racism and antisemitism.

A fun challenge

Part of the Purim spirit is having fun and revealing what's hidden. This downloadable Purim-themed puzzle from Kosher Crosswords does just that. Here's a clue: it's title is "Topsy-Turvy." Good luck!

 

Chag Purim Sameach!


 

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