Family Fun Roundup

Federation’s Family Fun Roundup

This series highlights ideas to get you through a time like no other. It is a true paradox that there is both “nothing to do” and too much out there to sort through. We are here to help!

Roundup #8: Celebrating Passover (March 2021)

For thousands of years, we have honored the traditions of the seder (the Passover ritual meal), telling the story, and passing it on to the next generation. This year, despite all the challenges, we will do the same. Celebrating Passover is a way of standing up (or reclining on cushions as we do during the seder) and saying, “Hineni, I am [still] here.”

To help you with your Passover preparations and traditions, we’ve rounded up some great programs, resources, and tips!

Join a Family-Friendly Passover Event
From author events to cooking classes, from grandparent programs to movie nights, there’s something for everyone on our list of Passover celebrations.

Learn from the Past
Check out the lessons learned from the previous year that can apply to our second “Pandemic Passover” and other holiday celebrations in this month’s issue of Washington Parent.

Share Passover Stories

Cook Together
Kids can help make charoset (the ceremonial food eaten at the seder made from sweet fruit), matzah balls, mina (Sephardic pie), and other recipes, even from a young age. Find a new family favorite on Federation’s Jewish Food Experience.

Visit the PJ Library Passover Holiday Hub
Find the PJ Library Haggadah in multiple languages, book lists, games, lunch tips, preparation ideas (including a pre-seder checklist!), and more!

Check Out Our Passover Ideas Pinterest Board
Need more reading, recipe, or wardrobe ideas? Look on our Pinterest page!

Passover begins at sundown on Saturday, March 27.

Chag Sameach (happy holiday),

Roundup #7: Celebrating Purim (February 2021)

I recently posited that we’ve done nothing BUT celebrate Purim since the pandemic started (read why on our “Here’s the Story” blog). If you want to celebrate Purim for real this year, we have a whole lot of options to wear your masks, eat some hamantaschen, and party with your family.

Join a Family-Friendly Purim Event
Grab your mask and join a virtual or socially-distant outdoor Purim celebration, or order a BimBam kit to celebrate at home. Want the experience of a carnival of Purim games at home? Check out our community-wide Purim Carnivirtual on Sunday, February 21 at 4:30 PM. (Early bird discount ends Tuesday!)

Share Purim Stories

Make Hamantaschen
These triangular filled cookies are a Purim staple. You can buy them at a local bakery or make your own at home with this easy recipe.

Get Your Costume On
It’s said that we dress up on Purim because God’s role in the story is masked, or because Esther initially hid her identity as a Jew. Have fun by dressing up as a character from the Purim story, as a hero, or as a favorite storybook character. Here are some ideas that won’t take long to throw together!

Participate in Matanot L’evyonim (Gifts to Those in Need)
Giving to help those experiencing poverty is a mitzvah (good deed) during Purim and year-round. If you’d like to contribute time, talent, or treasure, check out great ideas for doing good on Federation’s Jconnect.

Visit the PJ Library Purim Holiday Hub
Find recipes, costume ideas, book lists, and more.

Check Out Our Purim Ideas Pinterest Board
Need more reading, recipe, or wardrobe ideas? Look on our Pinterest page!

Purim begins at sundown on Thursday, February 25.

Chag Sameach (happy holiday),
(aka Black Widow, as my whole family will be dressed as Avengers for the Purim Carnivirtual!)


Roundup #6: Pajamuary, MLK, and the Trees’ Birthday (January 2021)

1) Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King: This week, you can teach your kids to follow Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s example with these books and hands-on activities.

2) Celebrate the Birthday of the Trees: Tu B’Shevat is a holiday that marks the season when trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep to begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. It begins on Wednesday, January 27 at sundown. Find at-home ideas, recipes, and books on the PJ Library Holiday Hub, and join us for one of these programs:

  • Tu B’Shevat Grandfriend program, Tuesday, January 26, 4:30 PM
    PJ Library kids and their “grandfriends” can join us for a multi-generational event to share stories, create a watercolor collage artwork, and celebrate togetherness. Register by January 19 to receive free art materials for the program. (Best for ages 3-7)
  • PJ Our Way Tu B’Shevat Seder, Wednesday, January 27, 5:15 PM
    Join PJOW and Capital Camps for a mini-seder and to play games and celebrate the birthday of the trees together. (Best for ages 8-11)

3) Celebrate “Pajamuary”: We declare January to be “Pajamuary!” Find a local place to donate pajamas, and then join us for a weekend full of activities. (Best for ages 1-6):

4) Engage, Educate & Elevate: Tips for Engaging Kids During the Pandemic: Join Federation and local early childhood education experts, Ora Cohen Rosenfeld and Miryam Buchler, on Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM, for an engaging seminar about creating a positive learning environment for your preschooler during these challenging times. Bring your questions, learn about local preschool, and connect with other preschool families.

5) Let It Snow: In case you need it, bookmark our Snow Day Activities Pinterest board. Our favorite ideas include hot chocolate bombs, LEGO prompts, indoor games, and snow art!

Roundup #5: Sharing Stories & Celebrating Seasons (November 2020)

1) Gratitude and Giving: Over the next two months, our programs and resources will have a meaningful theme of Hakarat HaTov (recognizing the good), providing avenues and education to focus on how to share gratitude and give back. Check out our blog post and our resource page, and consider one of these upcoming options:

2) Tips for Staying Active: With the daylight hours becoming shorter and the weather turning colder, many families are worried about getting enough time for active play outside. Kids are resilient—with the right clothing and the right attitude, you can still enjoy outdoor family time. Here are some ideas and tips:

  • Layer up—wearing thin layers helps keep your family members warm and can be taken off as the body warms up during outdoor activity. Gloves and hats help a lot. (Here’s how not to lose the gloves!)
    • BONUS IDEA: If you have winter clothing that your child has outgrown or have a need for winter clothing for your child, consider connecting to Yad Yehuda’s Clothing Exchange.
  • Go for a nighttime walk, with a flashlight, glowsticks, or a homemade lantern.
  • Go “plogging” (where you pick up trash with gloves while you walk or jog).
  • Take a camera on your daytime walk. Document the change in seasons through your child’s eyes and your camera lens.
  • And when the weather just won’t permit getting outside, check out these ideas from the Washington Post for indoor activities to keep kids active.

3) Make Thanksgiving Sweeter: Federation Partner Sunflower Bakery is a local non-profit that provides job training and employment in pastry arts, production baking, barista service, and front of house operations for individuals with learning differences. Their delicious holiday baked goods are now available to order. Buy your desserts for Thanksgiving while doing a mitzvah (good deed)!

4) Find a Delightful Chanukah Option: Chanukah begins the evening of Thursday, December 10. We are rounding up fun events and resources here.

Roundup #4: Sharing Stories & Celebrating Seasons (October 2020)

1) Read Stories with Grandparents: Caribu (which was created by a PJ Library parent) lets families have a video call with children’s books and activities shared on screen.  It’s a great way to have extended family share stories and stay connected. The app’s library has now expanded to include a selection of PJ Library books! Note: the free Caribu subscription includes access to 15 books, games, or activities per month

2) Hear from Two Fabled Actresses: Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria will discuss Portman’s new book, a retelling of three classic fables, and her “belief in the power of storytelling to change minds.” Join this Sixth & I virtual event on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 PM. Register in advance. (For adults)

3) Find a Weekly Program: Join the JCCs for one of their weekly virtual gatherings.

4) Taste the Season: In addition to the apple cider donut muffins we’ve been making, this pumpkin challah recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the season on Shabbat.

5) Bring the Beauty of Fall Indoors: While on a family walk, collect the colorful leaves that have fallen to make leaf rubbings, pressed leaves or these luminous leaf lanterns.  Get more ideas for your family walk in this PJ Library blog post, “Children and the Leaves of Autumn.”

6) Bring the Torah to Life: This week’s Torah portion is about Bereishit (“Creation”). You can honor the Jewish value of Shomrei Adamah (“partners in Creation”) by making a family commitment to caring for the earth. This could be adding more to recycling; taking a bag and gloves on a family walk to pick up trash; making reminder signs to turn off the lights and water when not in use; or other ideas you come up with as a family.

Another Torah connection: we will soon re-read the story of Noah’s Ark. Bring it to life with a trip to the National Zoo, which has timed tickets available for visitors, or one of these local farm festivals, which have animals to view, pet, or feed.

P.S. Feeling overwhelmed? Unsure about your options for support? Call 703-J-CARING: The Jewish Community Support Line (703-522-7464), to be connected with the many resources available to residents of DC, MD, and Northern VA. A partnership between The Jewish Federation and JSSA, 703-J-CARING is accessible Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, and all calls are confidential. Everyone deserves care. Your Jewish community is here for you.

Roundup #3: Get Clean and Crafty (September 2020)

1) Get a Clean Slate: The Jewish Days of Awe start with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur (“day of atonement”), which begins tonight at sundown. We wish you all g’mar chatima tovah (“a good final sealing.”) Yom Kippur is a day of prayer and introspection to have a fresh start for a new year. Find a Yom Kippur

2) Celebrate Sukkot: Sukkot (“feast of booths”) is a harvest holiday that begins on Friday at sundown. During this holiday, we commemorate God’s sheltering our ancestors as they traveled to the Promised Land by building a sukkah (temporary hut that is open to the stars) as our “home-away-from-home.” You can also do a virtual tour of sukkot from around the world or build a virtual sukkah with this app, Celebrate the harvest by picking apples or pumpkins and join one of these Sukkot events, including our Sukkot Grandfriend cooking program on Tuesday, October 6.

3) Fall for Autumn: There are outdoor adventures to welcome the new season, from hikes to pumpkin picking. We love the Beltway Bambinos Fall Bucket List, with ideas for safe, seasonal fun.

4) Get Crafty: You can make stamped cards for any occasion using household items and some paint. We are also gushing over these adorable beaded pumpkins and corn projects that you can use to decorate your home or your sukkah. (Best for ages 3 and up)

Find even more ideas on our Sukkot and Simchat Torah Pinterest board

Shanah Tovah U’Metukah (“have a good and sweet year”)

P.S. Feeling overwhelmed? Unsure about your options for support? Call 703-J-CARING: The Jewish Community Support Line (703-522-7464), to be connected with the many resources available to residents of DC, MD, and Northern VA. A partnership between The Jewish Federation and JSSA, 703-J-CARING is accessible Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, and all calls are confidential. Everyone deserves care. Your Jewish community is here for you.

Roundup #2: Ideas to Get Through a Summer Like No Other (August 2020)

1) Make a Difference: Want to do a mitzvah (“good deed”) to help others facing hunger? Check out Federation’s Social Action Toolkit for families for a quick guide to addressing food insecurity in our area with a hands-on project.

Follow up with learning and doing the Jewish value of tikkun olam (the Jewish value of repairing the world) with these great resources (best for ages 4-12):

2) Walk and Click: Bring a camera on a family walk. Have your children take pictures of flowers or other things that look beautiful to them. Done monthly, your child can develop an appreciation for how the environment changes with the seasons. It is also fascinating to see how each person sees the same world with different eyes. Consider using the photos to make gifts such as notepads, framed prints, collages, and more. (best for ages 3–12)

3) Share PJ Story Time Videos: Get a library refresh or take a break from reading by sharing these book videos with your child. And if you liked the High Holiday-themed book you received this month, find more like it. (best for ages 0–8)

4) Create the Museum of You: The Capital Jewish Museum will guide you on a weekly journey to curate your own collection that tells your story. Watch the videos (posted weekly on Wednesdays) and view the resources to create your own museum at home! (best for ages 3–12)

5) Let Your Imagination Take Flight: The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum has videos, activities (including piloting an aircraft!), and inspiration on several science topics (Grades K-12)

Don’t forget about our last week of the Summer Sweetness events or the Summer at Home Family Fun Guide for more things to do as a family.

And to get your family ready for the High Holidays, Federation will have a month of ideas for reflection and introspection.  Follow us on Facebook to see everything for the Hebrew month of Elul.

Roundup #1: Welcome (July 2020)

1) Check out our Summer at Home Family Fun Guide for ideas and the Jewish values that inspire them.

2) Join Us for Some Summer Sweetness: We have taken the Sweet Summer Series online and focusing on the values of kindness, gratitude, and friendship. Join us with our partners on a weekday evening; find the schedule online. (Best for ages 3–7)

3) Walk with Purpose: Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt for five things you have not seen since last summer. Or find one thing for each of the five senses (touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing). (Good for all ages)

4) Find a Local Jewish Summer Camp: Connect with virtual and outdoor options for your child (camps ages vary, from preschool–middle school). Also check out “5 Things to Consider If You’re Signing Up for Zoom Camp” on Kveller.

5) Make a Refreshing Treat: Try these key lime pie popsicles or one of these cool recipes on PJ Library. Yum! (good for all ages)