When my older children were small, we spent hours playing with Fisher Price sets. I used to imagine that I would one day partner with that company to create a Shul set, complete with Tatty and boy figures, Torahs, and a backyard sukkah with a crank-up roof.
So when I saw the Binyan Blocks ad with the shul AND the sukkah, I knew this was a company after my own heart. Those boys are grown up now, but their younger brothers were very willing to indulge my fantasy and become the proud owners of a few sets of Binyan Blocks.
Even though it was a school night, actually a whole week of school nights, everyone managed to make time for Binyan Blocks. Homework? Two minutes. Put away my briefcase, coat and shoes? Done. Can we build now?
I always like to get my boys a ‘real’ sefer torah for Simchas Torah the year that they learn kriah. It’s theirs for that year, and possibly the next, and then I pass it to the next child.
This year, it was time to replace our previous Torah, which was already torn beyond repair. While browsing the store’s selection, I found this unique, adorable, and perfectly age-appropriate Torah. The Aleph-Bais Sefer Torah by Keter Judaica has the Aleph Bais printed on its parchment, repeated with each of the nekudos, like a mini kriah practice sefer, just right for boys who are still learning to read. In addition, to make it even better, it has the parshiyos of V’zos Habrachah and Bereishis, so that little boys can still ‘follow along’ during the leining, and no one can tell them they don’t have the actual text!
[Aleph Bais Sefer Torah, by Keter Judaica]
If your kids can sit on the couch with a few decks of cards playng War for hours on end (and then pick up again where they left off the next day), wait till they see Top Trumps! Top Trumps is War 2.0, giving each player a turn to choose his best-bet factoid from a choice of 5 on each card, increasing his chance to win. Cards are themed and educational, with sets on US Presidents, Creatures under the Sea and War Planes, among others.
For those who prefer the Jewish version , you can buy a set of Gedolim or Talmud Bavli Oiber Chochom at your local Judaica store.
And if that’s not enough, challenge your son to make his OWN set of cards, using any set of data that interests him: the 50 states, the people in your family,or lehavdil, personalities from Tanach. We have a set of Talmud Yerushalmi, painstakingly put together by my son and his chavrusa, and we’re happy to share that with anyone who’s interested.
Oiber Chochom is also available online at Judaica Place