Havdalah: How to Sew a Spice Pouch and a Sensory Activity for Children

Havdalah: How to Sew a Spice Pouch and a Sensory Activity for Children

When you think of your childhood, are there any scents that remind you of something?

Whether it’s your favorite dish your Bubbe used to make or the perfume your Mom used to wear?

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love baking Challah. My entire home smells like freshly baked bread most Friday mornings. I hope my children grow up remembering the smell of Mom’s challah.

More importantly, I hope my children grow up remembering the smell of Shabbat.

Erev Shabbat smells like freshly baked bread. But Havdalah, which is the end of Shabbat, smells like wonderful spices!

What is Havdalah?

Havdalah is Hebrew for “separation” and it marks the end of Shabbat after you see three stars in the night sky. Just like we light Shabbat candles and sing the blessings to start Shabbat, there are blessings to end Shabbat as well. It is a tradition to separate the “holy” from the “mundane” i.e. Shabbat from the rest of the week. The three things used for this tradition is a glass of wine or grape juice, some fragrant spices to smell, and a Havdalah candle.

Shabbat in its entirety is a multi sensory experience.

The Havdalah blessings are located in the back of this Bible.

Sensory Activity for Children

Would you like to learn how to craft your own spice pouch? Better yet, let’s turn it into a sensory learning activity with your children!

I’m always thinking of fun ways to help my daughter explore her new world through her senses in a way that is meaningful. I came across some fun fabric that was marked down in the clearance aisle in Wal-Mart and decided to sew a b’samim pouch. B’samim means spices in Hebrew. The spices that are a part of the Havdalah set come in a decorated box or pouch and smelling the mixture every week is a reminder that Shabbat is over and a new week begins.

I sewed the b’samim pouch, put these fun beads on the drawstring and me, my husband and our daughter made our way to the herb store. We had our baby smell all kinds of different herbs and spices. Of course, whenever we held the glass jar near her face she reached out to touch it and try to put her mouth on it, LOL. She started kicking her feet and licking her gums when she smelled lavender. It was so cute.

We decided to go with the traditional spices for Havdalah which are cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, rosebuds, and orange peel. I thought it was important that wherever we attend a Havdalah service, she smells the same spices to equate it with the end of Shabbat. When I was picking out the spices and herbs I thought that there was no way this mixture was going to smell nice – but I was surprised how much I liked it!

Have you ever smelled Havdalah? What do you think?

Pin now – make later!

To help you make your own b’samim, or spice pouch, with your children and family I made these simple instructions for you to download! The instructions do require a sewing machine to sew the pouch. If you don’t know how to sew or don’t have a machine, you can purchase Herb pouches and personalize them with fun beads and have your kids decorate them with fabric paint!

The goal of this activity is to make it special, make it meaningful, and make it a memory to enjoy together every week when you say farewell to Shabbat.

If you make a b’samim pouch, I’d love to see it! Send me a picture on Instagram so I can share it with our blogging community!

Are there any unique sensory activities you’ve done with your babes?

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