Grade school children will understand the connection between Sukkot and water, that water is a gift from Hashem and the importance of water in our lives and our responsibility to help conserve water.
- You may want to spend longer on the movement activity than the debrief section.
- It may be advisable to share information in the debrief section, rather than ask the questions, to facilitate the discussion. If you decide to use the questions as prompts, you will most likely need to use the detailed prompts in italics as well.
- Try to make the questions in the debrief section interactive (e.g. ask a child to point to or hold up the object to which they are referring).
- In the debrief section, you may choose to call on children specifically and ask a question, rather than asking the group as a whole. This way, you avoid younger children feeling intimidated by older children in the group.
Movement Activity (6-7 minutes)
- Imagine it’s really hot outside; the sun is shining down and you’ve been playing outside for the whole afternoon. How do you feel? If someone has trouble acting this out, offer a more detailed prompt like: “Would you be tired? Thirsty? What would it look like?”
- Mime something you can do with water. If someone has trouble acting this out, offer a more detailed prompt like: “Can you go swimming in water?” “Can you water the grass?” or “Can you splash in puddles after it rains?”
- Imagine you are a tree or a flower. How would you look if you are very thirsty? If someone has trouble acting this out, offer a more detailed prompt like: “Would a flower be standing tall and straight, or wilting and bending over?”
- On Sukkot, we celebrate Hashem giving us water. How would you look if you were celebrating or very happy? If someone has trouble acting this out, offer a more detailed prompt like: “Would you dance at a celebration? Would you have a big smile?”
Debrief (6-7 minutes)
Goal: To help children understand the connection between water and Sukkot, to emphasize the preciousness of water, and to discuss ways to conserve and protect water.
If nobody shares, offer a prompt like: “Can we live without water?” or “Can plants and trees live without water?”
Note: This might take some explanation about clean water, how only a small percentage of water on Earth is fresh water (as opposed to salt water), and that it is expensive to treat water to clean it.
If nobody shares, offer a prompt like: “Plants and trees would die without water; if that happened, what things from trees do we eat or use every day that we wouldn’t have anymore?”
Note: Feel free to be “over the top” when you describe this—you want to give the impression that it was grandiose. You can also have the children act out a simchat beit hashoeva as you are sharing the information. For example, have someone mime pouring water from a pitcher into bowls while everyone else dances around. If you like and you think the children know it, sing “u’shavtem mayim b’sason.”
Don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, wash dishes in a basin instead of letting the water run, use a watering can instead of a hose to water plants, take a shorter shower, don’t throw trash on the ground because it can end up in the water, recycle so trash does not end up in the ocean, etc.