Play with Food and Flowers for Shavuot

Celebrate Shavuot with Dairy FoodsSo you know that classic foods for Shavuot include dairy (cheese and milk) + twin challahs (challot), and kreplach.

In our last post, we talked about making no-bake mini-cheesecakes.

And I am in awe of the extraordinary challah masterpieces for Shavuot that experienced bakers make.

I also absolutely love the idea of decorating your home with fragrant flowers and spices.

Countdown to Shavuot

But what I truly love is inviting kids to bring their creative touches to food and decorations for Shavuot.

Go ahead. Play with your food.

One way to bring home the message of Shavuot is by providing seasonal bounty to your children to create plates of food that remind us of harvest and first fruits celebrations.

Consider these veggie flowers made from cucumbers., baby carrots, radishes, and a few spinach leaves.

Or check out these peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a bagel round with strawberry hair, craisin eyes, and an orange mouth.  

To be more literal, make Torah blintzes, inserting pretzels in the blintzes and decorating the scrolls with jam or sour cream. Thanks to the very creative Rachel Teichman for this food fun, which we’re sharing from a post about Rosh Hashanah, since it works equally well for Shavuot.

Bring the outside in

Even toddlers – maybe especially toddlers – like to find new blooms and pick them. Purple clusters of little grape hyacinths. Dramatic pink rhododendron blossoms.  Even newly budding maple trees. All these make for a wonderful adventure of seeking and plucking to decorate your table.

You can also turn a mundane trip to the grocery store into a discovery of first fruits. Ask your child to make a basket of your finds fruit, then decorate the outside of the basket or its handle with flowers and leaves.

The emphasis on greens during Shavuot is said to “serve as vibrant reminders that Torah is ‘a tree of life to those who hold fast to it’ (Proverbs 3:18).”

Some people actually sprinkle grass on the floor of their homes, in keeping with this tradition.

So why spices for Shavuot? One tale says that the Israelites fainted from fear after hearing God’s voice, so spices were used, as an ancient version of smelling salts. Modern smelling salts might contain lavender or eucalyptus oil, both of which would enhance the special atmosphere around your evening meal.

Or imagine this: when God issued the first commandment, “lightning flashed and beacons of light could be seen . . . the entire universe was filled with the fragrance of spices.”

To fill your home with lovely fragrances, you can buy small tins of cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Can’t just sprinkle cloves around your dinner table because you have little hands that might grab and swallow a clove or two? The old trick of combining water in a saucepan with some orange peel, cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of whole cloves, and even some vanilla extract will make your home smell delicious.

Your turn

What tricks do you have for making your house festive and floral and fragrant?

Check out more Pinterest ideas for Shavuot.

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Other posts you might like:

Shavuot – Bringing the Outside In

What are the Numbers of Shavuot?


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