Make Magic Sticks
Note: The below activity is designed for younger children and families to do together.
We are grateful to our partner, PJ Library, for inspiring and sharing this activity.
Our gratitude can be a source of inspiration, power—even magic. In this activity, we’ll be making “magic sticks” to symbolize the spiritual power of our gratitude, and let music inspire us to reflect on what we’re grateful for.
Jewish tradition has plenty of examples of miraculous and magical sticks. Consider the story of the Exodus from Egypt: Moses and Aaron stand before Pharaoh, and Moses’ rod turns into a snake. When the freed Israelites are thirsty in the desert, Moses hits his rod against a rock, and water gushes out. And when the people grow rebellious, Aaron gathers the rods of all the tribal heads – but only his own rod miraculously sprouts flowers, thereby silencing his critics.
Here’s how to make your own magic sticks:
Sticks and twigs in various sizes
Yarn in various colors
Find a good stick or twig. Nothing too big or sharp.
Cut a few lengths of yarn to about two feet long. (You can string beads onto some of them for added texture.)
Tightly tie one end of each length of yarn to one end of the stick.
Now wrap the lengths of yarn up and down the stick. When you reach the ends of the yarn, knot them in place.
Now that you’ve got your magic sticks in hand, here’s one way to use them:
Start by gathering those that you live with (or close friends and family virtually) to view or listen to PJ Library Celebrity Spokesperson Rick Recht’s song, Kobi’s Lullaby. The second video features the song in American Sign Language.
As Rick shares in his song, there are so many things to be grateful for in our lives:
Now with your gratitude stick, share your answer to this question: Out of all of the things Rick sings about, what are you most grateful for?
Now pass your gratitude stick around (and virtually, if needed) so that everyone can take turns reflecting on what the song inspired them to be grateful for.
Keep your gratitude sticks handy! You can use them as part of a weekly gratitude-giving ritual at dinner, in the mornings when you wake up, or even on Shabbat.
For more on how to teach kids about gratitude, see this resource from PJ Library.