Now that A. is four, she is really into the holidays in a way she wasn’t at three. So she has been helping with preparations for Passover, hunting for chametz, memorizing the four questions, and looking forward to two seders, one at the home of friends, and the other at our house, with her best friend invited.
Because we didn’t have enough to do, she and I embarked on a project: finger puppets! We had already made a whole fleet of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends felt finger puppets, so it wasn’t hard to adapt the idea to Moses, Pharaoh, and the Israelites.
Start with sheets of felt from the craft store, fabric tack, googly eyes (or use bits of felt), and scissors. Depending on your child’s skill level, you can cut out the felt, or they can help. Same with the glue. You might also want to cover the table with newspaper.
Next, create a cardboard template for yourself in the shape of the puppet. Fold the felt so both sides are cut at the same time, outline the puppet’s body, and cut. Glue the two pieces together.
Next, decide on the color of hair, beard, clothes, etc. I have no crafting skills at all, so I used rectangles for the clothes, with scoop or V-necks, random scraps for lips, and whatever worked for hair and beard. We also made everyone in random colors, a sort of homage to the idea of a mixed multitude. The people who left Egypt could be beige or brown or black or blue or purple. Whoever they were when they left, they would be different before their journey was over. Obviously, we weren’t going for realism, though A. decided that Moses should be off-white, so that he would be as distinct as Pharaoh. Similarly, he is the only one dressed in purple.
We decided to make Pharaoh -and only Pharaoh–green, so he would really stand out. He’s also the only one with eyebrows, which was also A.’s choice. I suggested she use something sparkly on Pharaoh’s clothes or crown, but A. decided against it. He is, she said, a bad guy, and she didn’t want to make him pretty at all. No decorations for you, Pharaoh!
And so, after a couple of hours of work, discussing the Exodus story as we went, A. and I had created, together, a slightly raggedy, but completely respectable Mixed Multitude: a minyan of Israelites, and one mean Pharaoh. And A. came up with a really brilliant idea: she remembered some ribbon left over from Hanukkah, and snipped bits for the Israelites’ belts: it is now abundantly clear who is who in this grouping!