Thursday, 13 August 2015

Having a Field Day with Re'eh

Over the summer, parasha projects are not just for my offspring or my students. It includes all of my campers. This was the case last year, but Eikev was the last week of camp and we did this. This year for Eikev I tried to focus on the connection between food and the land of Israel and make "Al Hamichya" cards. Honestly, the campers couldn't sit still long enough to appreciate the connection and the lesson/project was not a real success. Therefore, Re'eh's project did not allow them to sit still at all!

Re'eh includes 55 mitzvot, many of which are outlined elsewhere in the Torah, so I focused on the topics I knew they were already acquainted with, to work on reinforcement.  

The camp was split into two teams, each with a counselor to guide them. (Interestingly, the counselors' names are Yehoshua and Ezra. I used this as an opportunity to tell the campers about the leadership of Yehoshua Bin Nun and Ezra HaSofer.  They were intrigued). 
I explained Hashem's directive of "Re'eh" as I did here. I explained that we would have a series of competitions to see who was best at keeping the mitzvot.

The first competition was on the mitzva of destroying all of the idols in the land. Before the kids came outside we hid 25 of the same item in the backyard (we had some old hand fans, but any item would work).  The teams went on a scavenger hunt to find the idols. 
Kids love a good treasure hunt and this was not exception. They gave the "idols" to their captain for destroying. 
The next game involved the laws of kosher animals. We reviewed what qualifies an animal as kosher. what fish need, and the interesting details about birds. 

 I printed pictured of many different kosher and not kosher animals (and laminated them for future use). On one end of the room all of the pictures were arranged. On the other side the teams were set up for a relay race. The runner, with bowl in hand, chooses an animal picture, puts it in the bowl, runs back, and passed only the bowl to the next teammate. 

Choosing an animal wasn't so easy.

 When everyone had a picture, each camper had to say if their animal was Kosher and why.

Next we discussed the prohibition of cooking a kid in its mother's milk and who keeps how many hours between meat and milk. 

Each team was given a bowl of mixed pony beads and a chart for which colors were milk, meat, and pareve. They each had cups for these 3 categories and competed to see who could get the right beads in the right cups the fastest. 
[In addition to the Kashrut lesson, this is great for skill building in fine motor, sorting, and team work. Also, later the girls enjoyed making jewelry with the sorted colors.]

The end of the parasha focuses on Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. I asked the campers what these festivals are called collectively. Of course Gabi was the first to yell out, "The Shalosh Regalim!" I asked if they knew what this meant, and some campers knew, "the three foot festivals" and why. 
To celebrate this, we had a three-legged race!

This very active parasha competition went very well. May your week be active, but only filled with positive competitions. 

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