This Sukkos, the CKids Club team at Merkos 302, devised the “Sukkot Time Machine,” an innovative and engaging Sukkos project that had the kids experience Sukkot using all their five senses.
As technology advances more and more and children are bombarded with an endless slew of fast-paced content, schools worldwide have been trying to find ways to make learning more exciting. Contemporary research shows that “sensory play” sparks the curiosity of children, which is why educators have been adding sensory projects to engage children in ways that the rustic textbook just couldn’t. Recognizing the need, Shluchim all over the world, with the help of CKids International, have been curating hands-on learning experiences to teach kids about their Heritage.
This Sukkos, the CKids Club team at Merkos 302, led by Mrs. Bracha Jurkowitz, were thinking of ways to not only bring kids into the Sukkah for a shake of the Lulav or a quick snack but to do innovative and engaging sukkos-themed projects. They devised the “Sukkot Time Machine,” a program for kids to experience Sukkot using all their five senses.
“Not only was it fun for the kids, but they came out with a real understanding of what we are celebrating and how kids are an integral part of Sukkos and Hakhel,” said Mrs. Chani Zaltzman of JRCC of East Thornhill.
The program began with a 3D video of the story of Sukkos, depicting the Jews wandering through the Desert, followed by a journey through time, seeing Jews of all historical periods and locales build their Sukkahs. Afterward, the kids created their own lava lamps, designed balloon masterpieces, and made fun treats to eat in Sukkah.
“This program was perfect for our Chabad house in particular,” said Zaltzman, “Every year, we build a large Sukkah to celebrate Sukkos with our whole community. However, due to the cold weather in this part of the world, we can only be in the Sukkah for shorter amounts of time. This year, we used the CKids Sukkos Time Machine, which begins indoors with an incredible program, and only afterward did we bring the kids to the Sukkah. Suddenly, they weren’t so upset about the cold because they were intrigued by the activities we put out for them.”
Although every year, Shluchim around the world create programs for Jewish families to experience the Yomim Tovim. This Hakhel year’s emphasis on bringing people together is causing an increasing number of programs geared toward kids. Since the start of the year, there’s been a 30% growth in the clubs, with new cities, states, and countries hosting child-focused events where they haven’t before.
“Innovation is constantly on our minds as we focus on creating programs that are in tune with the needs and trends of every single demographic,” explained Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “this ensures that Torah and Mitzvos will resonate with Jewish minds and hearts wherever they may be.”
To find out more information or to sign up your community for CKids, visit CKids.org.