The children will learn about Tu b’Shevat, explore what they appreciate about nature, and create greeting cards to share what they have learned with adults.
Tu b’Shevat Discussion and Introduction to Activity
Discuss Tu B’Shvat as the “New Year for the Trees” (see “What is Tu b’Shevat?” for a simple explanation) and how Hashem has given us all of the very useful and beautiful things in nature (i.e. acorns for squirrels to eat, fallen leaves for kids to play with, melting snow from which to get water). Ask children to think about what they appreciate in nature and write their ideas on a chalk board, white board, or poster board.
Tell the children that they will be creating Tu B’Shvat greeting cards for someone special (i.e. grandparents, an elderly person in a Jewish nursing home, friend, parents, etc.).
Creation of the Card
Fold recycled card stock in half for the card and distribute to children.
Front of Card: Decoration
The following are options for the front decoration of the greeting card:
- If the weather permits, go on a “Nature Walk” outdoors and have the children find beautiful and interesting (small) things in nature (i.e. different shaped leaves, pine needles, berries, etc.) to make a collage for the front of the greeting card. Alternatively, bring some items in nature into the classroom for the children to select for their collage.
- Crayon Leaf Rubbings (see instructions from Earth911.com)
- Provide old magazines (preferable nature-related ones such as National Geographic) and ask the children to cut out beautiful pictures of nature and possibly nature words or phrases they find (i.e. tree, sun, save the earth) and make a collage using these cut-outs by gluing them to the front of the card. Instruct children to arrange their collage first before gluing.
- Alternatively or in addition, children can use the nature pictures on the Canfei Nesharim website (see Nature Images)in their collage. Either print out the Nature Images on white paper for children to cut out and glue onto the front of the card or use 81/2 x 11 Avery #5165 white label paper (one big label) for children to cut out and stick onto the front of the card.
- Draw or paint nature pictures after a “Nature Walk” or looking at nature books or magazines for inspiration. Cut out these pictures and glue them to the front of the card or draw/paint them directly on the front of folded recycled card stock.
Inside Left of Card (Centered): Jewish Nature Quotes
Read over some nature-themed Biblical quotes with the children. Help them to understand the pasukim and what sources they are taken from. Perhaps have the children read aloud from the original source. Ask the children to find nature images in the pasukim. Children select Jewish quotes that they like and that match with their collage. Then, they cut out the printed quotes or copy them onto the inside left of their card.
Inside Right of Card (Centered): Message
On the inside of the card, children address the cards to their special person and sign it from themselves with perhaps a personal note to the receiver (i.e. “Happy Tu b’Shevat,” “Let’s thank Hashem for trees,” etc.).
Thanks to Stephanie Frumkin for preparing this program for Canfei Nesharim.