Natural Approach to Tu B’Shevat
Some people call Tu B’Shevat the Jewish Earth Day. Or New Year for the Trees. Or the Jewish Arbor Day. Since Tu B’Shevat signals a time of rebirth, the possibilities of reveling in nature with our children are endless.
According to Chabad.org, “This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.”
Chaya Burstein envisions an even larger way of understanding the holiday:
“We must expand our celebration to embrace the whole earth. We must make it a time to sharpen our appreciation – in our urban, high-technology settings – of God’s gifts to us and all living creatures.”
Here are some of Chaya’s ideas about how to celebrate Tu B’Shevat with children:
- Explore the woods. Look for animal tracks. (In most of the US, that means looking in the snow or mud about now.)
- Make a campfire and roast marshmallows.
- Build a bird feeder and keep it filled.
- Plant parsley seeds now, then harvest them for Passover.
Tu B’Shevat Party for Food Lovers
Want to make food the focus of your celebration? Choose what makes sense for your family and your time.
- You can put on an entire Tu B’Shevat Seder focusing on four types of wine and the Seven Species of fruits and nuts that grow in Israel (like grapes, figs, olives, dates, pomegranates and almonds.) Check out these resources from Hazon.org and PJLibrary.org for help.
- Or get inspiration from these beautiful dishes for Tu B’Shevat from joyofkosher.com, like almond stuffed dates.
- Eat a new fruit and say the Shehechayanu blessing.
Or, and this is a personal favorite, invite the kids to make food art.
For ideas of how to make food art, look at this blog post from the very creative ChanasArtRoom.com showcasing food art for all seasons. Charming!
Tu B’Shevat Art
Don’t want to spend extra time in the kitchen? Use whatever combination of paints, markers, crayons, twigs, leaves, and play dough works for your little ones. You can get inspiration from our Pinterest board.
- Ask them to make pictures of trees that you can put up in your kitchen.
- Dip their hands in paint to create a family tree.
- One step less messy: have them dip their thumbs into paint and add to branches of a tree trunk that you sketch for them.
- Cut out (or have them cut out, if they’re old enough) pictures of trees, branches, leaves, berries to make a collage.
- Gather twigs and leaves outside. Then provide the glue for a multi-media collage.
- Check out the green play dough and cinnamon stick craft on Pinterest.
Whether you spend a little extra time in the kitchen, or enjoy some creative time with art supplies, there are lots of ways to enjoy trees and children during this simple one-day celebration of Tu B’Shevat.
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