This fun, old-fashioned High Holiday craft is also a wonderful fine motor activity! Feel free to read on below, or click here to download the fully illustrated version of this activity packet.
In the past, people made pomanders, also known as clove apples, to bring to synagogue on Yom Kippur. Pomanders are made by inserting cloves into a piece of fruit. The fragrance of the apple and cloves together helped to appease hunger during the fast. Pomanders were also used to revive people who were feeling faint.
Making pomanders is an excellent opportunity for children to practice their fine motor skills. Children practice their pincer grasp, using the thumb and index fingers to pick up whole cloves. Then they practice eye-hand coordination as they line up the clove to a target in the apple. Additionally, pushing the clove into the apple helps children strengthen the muscles in their hands used for fine motor activities.
A Note of Caution: The fragrance of cloves may tempt children to eat them. While cloves are safe to eat, the consumption of large quantities of cloves may be harmful. Use your judgement before beginning this craft and supervise your children to make sure they do not eat too many cloves. Additionally, cloves may cause mild skin irritation in children who have sensitive skin.
1. Apples (oranges, lemons, or etrogs may be substituted)
2. Whole cloves
3. Toothpick (a pencil, knitting needle, or small skewer may be substituted)
1. Use the toothpick to poke a design into the apple. If you have trouble thinking of a design, look at the design ideas page.
2. Pick up a clove
3. Press the clove into one of the toothpick holes. If it is too difficult to press the clove in, use a larger skewer to make the hole bigger.
4. Repeat until you have completed the design.
This activity was created by Rebecca Redner for Gateways.
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