The Jewish springtime holiday of Purim revolves around the story of a Biblical queen. Explore the holiday even more by making an easy Purim puppet of Queen Esther and perform a puppet show about the Purim story—royal fun!
To get her started, tell your child the Purim story and some facts about the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is usually celebrated in mid-March. The holiday honors the story of Queen Esther from the Bible, a Jewish woman who became Queen of Persia and convinced King Xerxes to spare the lives of Jews in the ancient Persian Empire. Jews often celebrate with a Purim festival, that sometimes includes women and girls dressing up as Queen Esther or performances of Queen Esther’s story.
Give your child a craft stick, a queen card from an old deck of cards, and liquid glue. The puppet can be easily made by gluing the back of the card onto the stick. Using a king from the deck, she can make a King Xerxes card also for the puppet show.
Use the Internet to find a child-friendly (i.e., less violent) version of Queen Esther’s story. Another idea is to have your child recite a poem about Queen Esther.
Your child may want to practice the poem or story with the puppets and then perform the Purim story or poem for an audience.
You may also wish to provide a puppet theater stage. This can be anything for your puppet-master to hide behind; from a chair to an upside down cardboard box.
This activity combines an easy craft, dramatic storytelling or poetry reading, and cultural education: a trifecta of fun!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.