Nowadays, Purim festivities are much more common, and it’s a fantastic holiday to celebrate with kids as it is considered to be one of the most fun-filled days on the Jewish calendar. This year, Purim is “early” and begins at sundown on Saturday, February 23, and continues until sundown on Sunday, February 24.
For those who are not familiar with this holiday, Purim commemorates the story of the heroic Esther, who was was able though her courage and devotion to Judaism to bring down Haman and his evil plans to destroy the Jewish people. On Purim, the whole Megillah (Book of Esther) is read, and it is customary to make a lot of noise and to drown-out the sound of Haman’s name every time it is mentioned.
In addition to the Megillah reading, it is traditional on Purim to have festive meals and large celebrations, and to come in costume to represent that Esther also needed to hide her real identity. More observant Jewish people will also give money to charity on Purim, and gifts of food and drink to friends and neighbors, known as Mishloach Manot.
There are lots of great ways to celebrate Purim with kids:
- Bake Hamantaschen. These cookies are traditionally filled with jelly or poppy seeds, but I also recommend filling them with Nutella or chocolate chips. Chabad.org has a recipe and an illustrated guide for creating the triangular shape, and kids love helping to fill the cookies. For something a little different, try Caramel Apple Hamantaschen from The Shiksa in the Kitchen.
- Make a Grogger. It’s easy to have kids make their own noise-makers, also known as groggers. And, as you can imagine, kids love making and using these! Barista Kids has a grogger craft here and Creative Jewish Mom has directions for how to make a grogger from plastic cups. but it’s also easy to make a grogger from a water bottle. Any size works fine, and you just need to fill it about a quarter-full with dried beans or beads. Kids can decorate the outside with duct tape, by gluing-on tissue paper, or by adding a few stickers.
- Dress-up. For costumes, anything goes but if your child wants to go as the traditional Queen Esther, I love the Queen Esther costumes from New Jersey-based Gali Girls - best of all, you can get a matching Queen Esther dress for your doll.
- Go to a Purim Party!
- Check out some more ideas and recipes on our Pinterest Jewish Holidays board!
Local Purim Carnivals, Costume Parades and More!
PJ Library Purim Storytime
Who: Little kids
What: Everyone is invited for a special PJ Library storytime to celebrate Purim. Hear a story, sing songs and enjoy a Purim treat. Don’t forget to wear your costume!
Where: Barnes & Noble, 240 Rt. 22 West, Springfield, NJ
When: Monday, February 11 at 6 pm
Cost: Free. RSVP to Jill Felton here.
Young Family Purim Party
What: Join the Jewish Family Concierge for Montclair and the
Surrounding areas for a fun young family Purim Party! Come in your favorite Purim costume and enjoy a magic show, bagel lunch and PJ Library Purim stories.
Where: Geyer Family YMCA, 159 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair, NJ.
When: Sunday, February 17 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm.
Cost: RSVP by 2/10 a must and cost of this event is $10 per family. Contact Emmy Atlas973.929.2968 eatlas@jfedmw.
JCSS Purim Party and Open House
Who: All ages.
What: Join the Jewish Cultural School & Society (JCSS)–a “secular synagogue” serving Essex, Union, Passaic and Bergen counties–for a Purim Carnival and Sunday School Open House! Share in songs and stories, play games (and win prizes!), get your nosh on–and learn about our weekly Sunday school program for students in grades 3 to 7, monthly adult education series, and holiday and cultural events throughout the year! Families and friends of any faith (or none) are welcome.
Where: JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.
When: Sunday, February 24 from 10 am to 12 pm.
Cost: Free. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-233-0714. You can also visit on Facebook.
Purim Carnival at Temple Sholom of West Essex
Who: All ages.
What: Celebrate Purim with a children’s Megillah Reading at 10:30am and a Purim Carnival from 11am -1pm. Come dressed in costume. Enjoy live music, balloon artistry, magic show, games and win prizes.
Where: Temple Sholom of West Essex, 760 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ
When: Sunday, February 24 from 11 am – 1 pm
Cost: Tickets are $10 per person in advance or $15.00 at the door. To reserve your ticket call the temple office at 973-239-1321. Tickets include all carnival offerings and food.
Purim in the Shtetl
Who: All ages.
What: Experience Purim in the Shtetl Style with a Megillah reading, Klezmer Music, Children’s Program, and fun for all ages!
Where: Maplewood Jewish Center, 113 Parker Avenue, Maplewood, NJ.
When: Sunday, February 24 at 10:30 am.
Cost: $15 a person, $54 per family.
Purim Celebration at JCC MetroWest
Who: All ages
What: JCC MetroWest invites you to a Purim Celebration with a shadow puppet show and parade, so come in costume! At 11:45am there is a free community Megillah reading with Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz of the Lubavitch Center of Essex County, and a Make & Take Mishloach Manot.
Where: Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC MetroWest, Steiner Court, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange, NJ.
When: Sunday, February 24 at 10:30 am
Cost: Free. For more information, contact Rhonda Lillianthal, 973-530-3519
Purim Carnival at Shomrei
Who: All ages.
What: Shomrei Emunah’s annual Purim carnival. Munchkin Megillah reading at 11 am. Enjoy bouncy house, cotton candy, Hamantaschen, costume parade and much more!
Where: Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042.
When: Sunday, February 24 from 11 am – 1:30 pm
Cost: Free. Tickets sold at door for food and activities.
Purim Palooza at Bnai Keshet
Who: All ages.
What: A Purim Celebration open to all Purim carnival with Costume parade, Bounce House, games and more!
Where: Bnai Keshet, 99 So. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ.
When: Sunday, February 24 from 11 am – 2 pm
Cost: All free (donation encouraged for food, a cheap $15/family! or $5/individual)
Is your family celebrating Purim? Send your photos to us at email@example.com for a holiday slideshow.
Chag Sameach Purim!