Follow these simple steps to create customized crowns for the kids.
Most kids say Chanukah is their favorite holiday, but I have always been a Purim kinda girl. Maybe it’s because my middle name is Esther. I do have vivid childhood memories of the celebrations my family did for the holiday. I think it’s a just great opportunity to celebrate as a family.
Purim — March 10 this year — is a holiday filled with food and joy that celebrates the story in the Megillat Esther (Book of Esther), where Jewish heroine Esther saves Persia’s Jews from a deadly decree. It all starts after the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were exiled. Some went to Persia, now modern-day Iran.
Persian King Ahashverosh had an affinity for parties that lasted days. During one of these wild parties, he wanted his queen to dance for the men, but she refused and was banished. This led to a beauty contest, with Esther being crowned queen. She was born as Hadassah, a Jew, who was raised by her uncle Mordechai. He told her to conceal her Jewish identity during the contest.
Meanwhile, Mordechai refuses to bow down to Haman, the King’s vizer, who is furious. Haman takes his hatred out on the Jewish people and draws lots to pick a death date for them all. When Mordechai hears of Haman’s plot, he asks Esther to intercede on the Jews’ behalf.
Esther agrees, but has the Jews fast for three days to give them luck. She dresses in her finest royal apparel and requests an audience with the King, who wants to know her desire. She says she simply wants the King and Haman to come to her banquet. She arranges a feast abundant with food and alcohol. At the conclusion, she requests that it continue the next night.
After the following night, when the King was filled with wine, she reveals her true heritage and Haman’s plot to kill her people. The King was furious. The plot was foiled, and Haman was led on horseback by Mordechai, the new vizer, to the gallows to be hung — instead of the Jews.
The celebration of this heroine who saves the Jewish people is memorialized in the annual readings of the Megillat Esther, when adults and children alike can dress in costume and drown out the name of Haman with loud noises during a reading.
I always loved to create costumes as a kid and dress up for Sunday school growing up. I would carefully plan out what I was going to be for Purim, so I had the perfect costume. I would use my mom’s jewelry when I dressed as Queen Esther. As I got older, I helped my mom create a hamentashen (three-cornered cookie representing Haman’s hat) costume.
Now, with my kids, I enjoy having them create their own costumes. My favorite way to make art is using recycled materials or reusing things for new purposes. We created these Royal Crowns, a craft that you can do at home with your children, using felt made from recycled water bottles (find it at most stores). So, after lots of love and use, you can just recycle your creations again.
• Decorative jewels, small felt cut-out shapes, beads, ribbon, etc.
• Permanent markers
• Aleene’s Felt and Foam Tacky Glue
For Esther’s tiara:
Fold a felt square in half with the short sides together. Then fold in half again. Measure 4 inches tall and mark across. The folded felt should measure 3 inches across. Make the point peak at the middle of the fold. Draw your points and cut. I cut two of these and glued them together for an all-felt crown to be glued to fit a child’s head. For a tie-on crown, use one pointed piece of felt and add enough ribbon on the flat side of the tiara to be able to tie the crown around your child’s head with a nice bow in back. Glue on or draw decorations.
For a king crown with one tall point:
Use two felt squares. Start by folding the felt with the short sides together. On the fold, measure 5 inches. On the open end, measure 3 inches. Decorate and glue it together the length of your child’s head so that it fits snug (felt can stretch slightly).
Brooke Leiberman of Farmington Hills is a mom and wife, educator and artist who enjoys sharing her skills and inspiring others to make art. She runs the Ravitz Art Center at Tamarack Camps and teaches art at Dolsen Elementary/ SLEHS in South Lyon.