Wooden and Plush Jewish Holiday Play Sets for Kids

As a child growing up over four decades ago, there were no toys created especially for Jewish children. Sure, we had dreidels to spin on Hanukkah, but that was about it. There were no games made for Jewish kids or small versions of ritual objects for us to learn and play with.

As a Jewish mother and a preschool teacher in a synagogue, I know first hand the importance of having special toys that help a child celebrate his or her religious heritage. Young children do not learn by sitting and doing workbook pages or flash cards. They learn by observing and by doing.

Of course, we are not going to give children real ritual objects to play with, as this is not the purpose of these sacred items. We can, as parents and teachers, give them toy versions of these things so they can learn how to use them, learn what they are used for, and to understand the joy associated with the holiday.

Active Role Playing

My children have grown up watching me light the Shabbat candles on Friday night, slicing the challah bread and blessing the wine.  None of these activities are appropriate for children to do.  However, children learn best by doing, and this is where holiday play sets come in.

Because these toys are made for children to use, parents and teachers do not have to worry about kids burning themselves on a pretend flame or cutting themselves with a pretend knife. 

For example, every Shabbat at the preschool, the special wooden Shabbat play set is taken from the closet and placed in the kitchen area in every single classroom. This toy only comes out once a week and the children handle it with care. Observing the children from a corner of the room and seeing them reenact the Sabbath rituals we do with them on Friday while they are immersed in imaginative play, reinforces in my mind that what we are teaching them is actually sticking.

They get super excited when the other holidays come around and they get to use all of the other play sets that are locked away except for that special time of year.

Plush Shabbat Sets for Children

My Soft Shabbat Set
Amazon Price: $21.59 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 4, 2014)
A plush set is a wonderful way to introduce children to the joys of Shabbat. This item includes two candles, a kiddish cup, a bottle of wine, a challah and a challah cover. It can easily be stored away in it's own carrying case.

Wooden Hanukkah Play Sets for Kids

There are Jewish play sets for kids for every holiday, and I love this wooden Hanukkah play set from KidKraft. First of all, it is so bright and colorful! This makes it very inviting for children to play with, as they are attracted to vibrant colors. The silver chanukiah (Hanukkah menorah) shines and looks like an elegant one that a family would own.

Each candle has a removable flame. A child can light his or her chanukiyah as Mommy or Daddy light the real one at home. This lets the children actively participate in this beautiful Hanukah ritual without parents worrying about heir little one getting burned from a real flame.

The candles can also be helpful with mathematical pattern concepts. Children can create their own patterns, which is an essential pre-math skill.

In addition to the Hanukkah menorah, other traditional Hanukkah objects are also a part of the set. A dreidel is included, and you can teach your children how to play the drediel game. A frying pan with a realistic latke (potato pancake) and a spatula to flip it are also a part of this holiday set.

Finishing off the set are gold coins, also known as gelt. These are known as gelt, and are also a treat that Jewish children receive on the holiday.

This set is durable, so there is no need to put it away once the holiday is over. Let your children play with it whenever they want to relive the joy of this special festival holiday.

Jewish Holiday Puzzles

KidKraft Holiday Puzzle Set
Amazon Price: $35.90 $23.11 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 4, 2014)
Puzzles are a fun way for children to learn about spatial relations and how things fit together. Combine this with Jewish holiday objects and you have a fun toy that children will enjoy playing with time and time again.

As parents, if we have a set of beliefs that we wish to pass onto our children, we can do it in a manner that they will appreciate and understand when we use toys to teach them.  All of these Jewish holiday toys for children will help you create meaning in their lives.