Do you wish every year that you had made counting the Omer more fun or significant for your family? Well, make your count count today! Here are 7 ways that you can celebrate keeping the commandment to count the Omer:
1. Make a paper chain.
We all made these chains at school to count down to special occasions or to decorate a classroom. Instead of counting down though, count up by starting with one chain and adding a link every day until you reach Shavuot. Use different colors to teach your children about patterns. Preschool and early-elementary aged children can learn about counting and how to write numbers. Don’t forget to use your numbered chains to decorate on Shavuot!
2. Create and decorate an Omer calendar
Make an Omer calendar or use the one provided to remind yourself and your kids to count and pray each day. Mark off the day with a sticker, a drawing, the number in Hebrew letters, or whatever you want. Children can practice writing their numbers by copying the number for the day. Don’t forget to print it off on brightly colored paper to make it really stand out!
3. Take or post pictures each day that contain the Omer count
Take pictures of your kids holding numbers or make foods into the shape of numbers to mark the day. You can also find fun number pictures online. Make it more fun by posting these to you social media page each day. You can also watch fun number movies with your kids like the sesame street shorts on the internet.
4. Create a Omer-count collage
Each day cut a picture out of an old magazine or off a cereal box. Glue it onto a piece of paper and write the number of the day on it. Maybe pick pictures with a harvest theme or some other Shavuot theme. Hang it up and use it to decorate on Shavuot!
5. Make the harvesting and tithing connection with coins
Do a special chore with your child’s help and pay your child 10 pennies each day. Have your child put one of the pennies into a tzedakah box each day. And the rest of the pennies into their own jar or bag. On Shavuot, have the child put 10% (45 cents) from their jar into the tzedakah box and donate it to your local congregation or favorite charity. You could also use the 45 cents to help buy something special to eat and share at your Shavuot celebration.
6. Have a treasure or scavenger hunt
The Omer season is about harvesting and Shavuot is about God giving the 10 commandments and Holy Spirit, so why not remember it by finding things and receiving gifts? Each day hide a small gift for your children, even something like a small bag of pistachios, pennies or candies. Alternately, give them a list of things to find and see who finishes first, On day 1, 1 thing. Day 2, 2 things and so on. The winner gets a prize or gets to make the scavenger list for the next day. Or just give your child 1 tiny gift on day 1, 2 on day 2, and so on. This can be something small like sunflower seeds or other healthy treats they enjoy!
7. Read through Genesis
Genesis has 50 chapters – the perfect number for you to read one each day together as a family. After reciting the blessing and counting the Omer, read a chapter of Genesis and talk about it as a family. By Shavuot, you’ll have read all the way from creation to the death of Joseph in Egypt.
Even though the Omer count is half over, you can still start one of these activities today! Begin your paper chain with 27 links and add one more link each day. Or start your collage today! And if you begin the Genesis readings, you can still catch Jacob and Joseph’s amazing stories of faith and forgiveness. Let us know how it went. Or comment below with your favorite First-fruits, Omer or Shavuot tradition!