Since meeting my husband in 2001, one of my favorite Jewish traditions has been celebrating Sukkot. I love the fall and this is such a beautiful way to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest even if you are not Jewish! This holiday is usually celebrated in September shortly after Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On Sukkot, Jewish people remember their ancestors who traveled for 40 years in the dessert by building a temporary shelter called a sukkah. Families decorate their sukkah with fruits and vegetables, gourdes, leaves, twigs.
The Jewish people are expected to spend as much time in the sukkah as possible, eating meals in there and sleeping as well. It is a mitzvah (good deed) to welcome people into your sukkah, as a way for the Jews to remember the way their ancestors Abraham and Sarah welcomed people into their tent.
For the past few years my husband has built a beautiful sukkah made out of wood (picture above was taken before we decorated it with gourdes. Not sure what happened to the after picture!) This year since he was away in Taiwan, I wanted to be able to honor the holiday by having the girls make their own mini versions of a sukkah. Granted, we can not fit inside to eat or sleep in it ourselves but its been great fun letting their little dolls and shopkin’s hang out and celebrate the harvest. There are so many ways to build a mini sukkah. I believe there are many guidelines that must be followed in the construction of a real sukkah, but I let the kids have fun with this. As long as they stuck to traditional materials, and understood the true use of a sukkah I gave them all creative freedom. You can use a shoe box, card board or purchase Styrofoam or use any pieces of scrap wood laying around to build the sukkahs structure. Go hunting for natural materials in your yard to help decorate the top and around your mini sukkah such as leaves, twigs, and acorns. I was also able to find little mini, super tiny, decorative pumpkins in the artificial flower section of Michael’s. You can use tiny gourdes if you can find any small enough! We also used colored paper to cut out little veggies and fruits. The kids absolutely loved creating their very own sukkahs!
Materials we used to build our sukkahs
- Shoe Box
- Acrylic paint (to paint the boxes)
- Colored paper to cut out fruits and vegetables
- Inexpensive artificial fall leaves and mini pumpkins from Michaels Craft store.
- glue dots or tape
- Mini wooden bench and table from Michaels Craft store.
The possibilities are endless! Prepare your structure (sukkah) by painting or using craft paper to decorate the walls. You can leave them plain if you wish. Using glue dots and tape decorate the outer part of your sukkah with your collection of harvest, twigs etc. Add a little table or chairs inside your little sukkah. You can place mini play food on the table and prepare a yummy harvest feast for your little dolls. Happy Sukkot.