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Purim 2024 begins Saturday at sundown, March 23 and ends Sunday night, March 24, and you can create some of the fun right at home with these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas. Do you remember the sights and sounds of a carnival when you were a kid? Read on to see how you can create that for those you care about.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

What is Purim and how is it celebrated? 

Purim is usually a community wide event celebrated with food, fun, games and entertainment. Whether in local synagogues or at other venues, you can hear joyous music, see creative costumes and hear the traditional greeting, “Chag Purim Sa’me’ach!”

Listen to the pronunciation of the Purim greeting here.

Why is Purim So Important?

Purim commemorates a 14-year dark saga for the Jews of Ancient Persia.  Queen Esther saved her people from the evil royal official, Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people.  

What Happens on Purim?

To remember the series of hidden miracles of Purim, we have four mitzvahs (commandments).  You can read more about the four mitzvahs of Purim here.

Host Your Own Purim Celebration!

You can make your own Purim Carnival.  Whether you actually have a backyard or not isn’t important.  These carnival ideas can even be done inside a small apartment like mine. (Keep a mop handy! JK 😃). 

The typical Purim festivities may not be happening as they usually would be.  But, the essential parts of the holiday (the mitzvahs) are happening and we all can create a wonderful Purim for ourselves.  

Young and Young at Heart Will Love These Purim Carnival Ideas

You can make the carnival games as simple or as detailed as you wish.  You don’t need to break the bank.  With a little bit of planning and some inexpensive supplies, you’ll be good to go!  

1. Sack Race

All you need is a starting point, a finish line and some large garbage bags.  This is probably one of my favorites.  It’s quite hysterical watching people of all ages jump, jump, jump their way to the finish line.

2. Bean Bag Toss

Place 3 colored bowls (they can be different sizes) in a line, each worth different points, with the bowl worth the most points furthest from the player.  Each player gets 3 tries to toss a ball into a bowl to accumulate points.  Player receives one ticket per point received or one ticket for each successful toss.

3. Three in A Row

Draw a tic tac toe pattern on a large poster board.  Using 5 bean bags, the player needs to get three in a row in any direction.

 

4. Pin the Hat on Haman

This is a take on the traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but Purim style! Draw Haman on a large poster board and cut out some triangles for his hat.  Write each player’s name on a hat and add a piece of masking tape to the back so it will adhere to the posterboard.  Blindfold the player, give him a few gentle spins and watch the dizzy fun begin as he aims to put the hat on Haman’s head!  

5. Egg and Spoon Race

Just like the Sack Race, all you need is a starting point, a finish line, eggs and spoons.  Holding the egg in the spoon, each player races the other to the finish line.  It’s funniest if the eggs are raw.  If it’s too messy, use hard boiled eggs.

6. Ring Toss

Place 12 full water bottles standing in three rows of four.  The player tosses the rings trying to land them on the bottle spout. Or, you can use this cone and rings set.

7. Ladder Toss

Open a ladder.  Decorate with some streamers.  Mark each step with an amount of points.  The higher the step, the greater the amount of points. The player uses tennis balls to accumulate points by tossing them through the corresponding steps.

8. Flying Ducks

On a large poster board, cut out 5 circles that a rubber duckie will fit through.  Assign each hole a different point value: 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100.  Each player gets three throws.

9. Skee Ball

Cut 4 large poster boards of different colors into strips and staple them together to form circles.  Each colored circle should nest within the others, just like a skee ball game.  Each ring has progressively increasing point values.  Instead of rolling, the player tosses ping pong balls into the rings to accumulate points.

10. Ping Pong Toss

Place large disposable cups, each with a different hidden value written on the bottom, in random order.  The player tries to toss ping pong balls into the cups.  When he is finished with the balls, the points are added up. Mix up the order of the cups (and their point values) between players.

(Here’s An Extra Carnival Game)! Knock ‘Em Down

Using more of the large disposable cups, stack them face-down in the shape of a triangle (in a 1-2-3-4 pattern). Using tennis balls or something of similar weight, the player tries to knock all the cups over.


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Added Fun For Your Purim Carnival

Set up a photo booth! Use an easily made backdrop or one that is ready-made like this photo frame complete with a variety of party photo props.

A little decorating goes a long way.  Some colorful balloons and crepe paper streamers really can set the tone.  It’s super easy with this balloon pump set, complete with an electric air balloon blower pump.  And, I love these carnival style tickets that can be used for raffles and for the carnival games winnings.  Then, everyone can trade in their tickets for prizes.  Perhaps most important, don’t forget some delicious Hamantaschen on your prize table.  They are easy and fun to make.  Click here for my GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant Hamantaschen recipe!

Have Fun and Make Memories

Purim will come and go, and hopefully these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas will help you add some happiness to your holiday. We can take a lesson from Queen Esther.  Even under dire circumstances, she kept her Jewish traditions.  This gave her the strength to get through the challenges, even during some of her loneliest times.  As it is written in the Megillah, “For the Jews there was light, gladness, joy and honor.” So may it be for each of us!

If you need help arranging a Megillah reading or have any other Purim questions, please let me know at RebbetzinUnplugged@gmail.com. What’s your favorite of these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas? Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below! 🎉 

Purim 2024 is coming right up (beginning Saturday evening, March 23 and ending Sunday evening, March 24) and you can recreate some of the fun right at home with these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas. Do you remember the sights and sounds of a carnival when you were a kid? Read on to see how you can create that for those you care about.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

What is Purim and how is it celebrated? 

Purim is usually a community wide event celebrated with food, fun, games and entertainment. Whether in local synagogues or at other venues, you can hear joyous music, see creative costumes and hear the traditional greeting, “Chag Purim Sa’me’ach!”

Listen to the pronunciation of the Purim greeting here.

Why is Purim So Important?

Purim commemorates a 14-year dark saga for the Jews of Ancient Persia.  Queen Esther saved her people from the evil royal official, Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people.  

What Happens on Purim?

To remember the series of hidden miracles of Purim, we have four mitzvahs (commandments).  You can read more about the four mitzvahs of Purim here.

You Can Host the Purim Activities!

Make your own Purim Carnival!  Whether you actually have a backyard or not isn’t important.  These carnival ideas can even be done inside a small apartment like mine. (Keep a mop handy! JK 😃). 

Young and Young at Heart Will Love These Purim Carnival Ideas

You can make the carnival games as simple or as detailed as you wish.  You don’t need to break the bank.  With a little bit of planning and some inexpensive supplies, you’ll be good to go!  

1. Sack Race

All you need is a starting point, a finish line and some large garbage bags.  This is probably one of my favorites.  It’s quite hysterical watching people of all ages jump, jump, jump their way to the finish line.

2. Bean Bag Toss

Place 3 colored bowls (they can be different sizes) in a line, each worth different points, with the bowl worth the most points furthest from the player.  Each player gets 3 tries to toss a ball into a bowl to accumulate points.  Player receives one ticket per point received or one ticket for each successful toss.

3. Three in A Row

Draw a tic tac toe pattern on a large poster board.  Using 5 bean bags, the player needs to get three in a row in any direction.

 

4. Pin the Hat on Haman

This is a take on the traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but Purim style! Draw Haman on a large poster board and cut out some triangles for his hat.  Write each player’s name on a hat and add a piece of masking tape to the back so it will adhere to the posterboard.  Blindfold the player, give him a few gentle spins and watch the dizzy fun begin as he aims to put the hat on Haman’s head!  

5. Egg and Spoon Race

Just like the Sack Race, all you need is a starting point, a finish line, eggs and spoons.  Holding the egg in the spoon, each player races the other to the finish line.  It’s funniest if the eggs are raw.  If it’s too messy, use hard boiled eggs.

6. Ring Toss

Place 12 full water bottles standing in three rows of four.  The player tosses the rings trying to land them on the bottle spout. Or, you can use this cone and rings set.

7. Ladder Toss

Open a ladder.  Decorate with some streamers.  Mark each step with an amount of points.  The higher the step, the greater the amount of points. The player uses tennis balls to accumulate points by tossing them through the corresponding steps.

8. Flying Ducks

On a large poster board, cut out 5 circles that a rubber duckie will fit through.  Assign each hole a different point value: 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100.  Each player gets three throws.

9. Skee Ball

Cut 4 large poster boards of different colors into strips and staple them together to form circles.  Each colored circle should nest within the others, just like a skee ball game.  Each ring has progressively increasing point values.  Instead of rolling, the player tosses ping pong balls into the rings to accumulate points.

10. Ping Pong Toss

Place large disposable cups, each with a different hidden value written on the bottom, in random order.  The player tries to toss ping pong balls into the cups.  When he is finished with the balls, the points are added up. Mix up the order of the cups (and their point values) between players.

(Here’s An Extra Carnival Game)! Knock ‘Em Down

Using more of the large disposable cups, stack them face-down in the shape of a triangle (in a 1-2-3-4 pattern). Using tennis balls or something of similar weight, the player tries to knock all the cups over.


LIKE THIS BLOG POST? I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST AND PIN IT FOR LATER!

Added Fun For Your Purim Carnival

Set up a photo booth! Use an easily made backdrop or one that is ready-made like this photo frame complete with a variety of party photo props.

A little decorating goes a long way.  Some colorful balloons and crepe paper streamers really can set the tone.  It’s super easy with this balloon pump set, complete with an electric air balloon blower pump.  And, I love these carnival style tickets that can be used for raffles and for the carnival games winnings.  Then, everyone can trade in their tickets for prizes.  Perhaps most important, don’t forget some delicious Hamantaschen on your prize table.  They are easy and fun to make.  Click here for my GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant Hamantaschen recipe!

Have Fun and Make Memories

Purim will come and go, and hopefully these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas will help you add some happiness to your holiday. We can take a lesson from Queen Esther.  Even under dire circumstances, she kept her Jewish traditions.  This gave her the strength to get through the challenges, even during some of her loneliest times.  As it is written in the Megillah, “For the Jews there was light, gladness, joy and honor.” So may it be for each of us!

If you need help arranging a Megillah reading or have any other Purim questions, please let me know at RebbetzinUnplugged@gmail.com. What’s your favorite of these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas? Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below! 🎉 

What are the 4 mitzvahs of Purim? It is customary to learn and review about a holiday 30 days before it begins.  Purim 2024 begins Saturday evening, March 23 and continues through Sunday evening, March 24. As the miraculous holiday of Purim is fast approaching, let’s go over some details.  Not only does reviewing the ins and outs of the holiday keep us knowledgeable, it also can get you in the mood for the festivities.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Being that the Jewish world is still going through the challenges that began October 7th, Purim may feel a bit different than we have enjoyed it in years past.  However, the most important parts of the holiday remain the same, and that is where our focus should be.  By concentrating on the aspects that are truly the most significant, we each can experience a wonderful Purim.

Kabbalah explains that when a Jewish holiday occurs, it isn’t just an auspicious date on the calendar.  Nor is it just a time of remembrance of our history.  Rather, the actual spiritual power that was present at that time, comes down and is again present with us today. This is, in part, why we add the special prayer, Al HaNissim (For the Miracles), to our daily prayers and grace after meals on Purim. 

Prayer book open to the special Al Hanissim prayer added to the daily prayers and grace after meals during Purim (and Hanukkah).
Prayer Book – Al Hanissim Prayer

Let’s take a closer look inside the prayer book.  It says:

Al hanissim v’al hapurkan

V’al hagvurot V’al hat’shuot

V’al hanifla’ot she’asita la’avoteinu

Bayamim hahem bizman hazeh.

And (we thank You) for the miracles, for the redemption, 

for the mighty deeds, for the saving acts, 

and for the wonders which You have wrought for our ancestors

in those days, at this time.

Miracles Before & During Purim

Before we jump into the 4 mitzvahs of Purim, let’s take a quick look at what got us here in the first place. The Babylonian King Nebuchadnetzar destroyed the Beit HaMikdash, the First Temple in Jerusalem, in 3338 (423BCE).  His son Meradoch took over the throne, followed by his grandson, Balshezzar (Balthazar). 

In his arrogance, Balshezzar drank from the vessels of the Beit HaMikdash, plundered by his grandfather.  This is when the well-known “Writing on the Wall” occurred. The Jewish Prophet Daniel interpreted the divine message, explaining Balshezzar’s reign and the Babylonian Empire would end. They were soon defeated by the Persians, led by Darius.

Daniel is Appointed Top Minister

For the Jews, King Darius was a great improvement over the previous rulers.  But, his officials were jealous of Daniel’s position. He was a pious man who prayed three times a day, facing Jerusalem. They convinced King Darius to enact a law that no one could pray for one month.  Daniel continued to pray and as punishment, was thrown into the lion’s den.  We learn in the Book of Daniel, he miraculously emerged unharmed. 

Darius’ rule was short-lived and Cyrus the Great took his place at the throne in 3390.  He allowed the Jews to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, 52 years after its destruction.  

Construction is Brought to a Halt 

“By whom?,” you ask.  I’ll give you a hint.  Every year we read about him in the Megillah of Esther.  It was none other than the anti-semitic Persian king Achashverosh, who ruled during the 14-year Purim saga in the city of Shushan. 

In the Megillah, it says that King Achashverosh ruled over 127 lands.  After doing away with Queen Vashti for her refusal to obey his command, the king held a beauty contest to find a new wife. Against her wishes, Esther is forced to participate and becomes queen.  At the counsel of her wise cousin Mordechai, Esther keeps her Judaism a secret.  

Meanwhile, the king’s evil advisor, Haman became infuriated with Mordechai for not bowing to him.  Haman, with the king’s approval, plots to have the Jews killed.  To save her people, Esther reveals her identity to the king, but it’s too late. Once Achashverosh makes a decree, it can’t be nullified.  But, the king recalls that Mordechai once saved his life and decides to allow the Jews to defend themselves.

Mordechai and Esther Make a Plan

They gather all the Jews to fast and pray for three days.  Hidden miracles abound throughout the Purim saga, and the Jews are saved.  Each year since, we celebrate the miraculous events with four mitzvahs. 

Breakdown of the 4 Mitzvahs of Purim

  • Hear the Megillah by night and by day
  • Send food gifts to friends 
  • Give gifts to the needy
  • Celebrate with a feast

1. Hear the Megillah by night and by day.

Hand-written Megillah Scroll (The Book of Esther)
Hand-Written Megillah Scroll (The Book of Esther – One of the Five Megillahs of the Torah)

It is important to hear every word of the Megillah, and it must be in person.  Listening to a recording or over the phone may be good if you are studying before the holiday, but it does not satisfy the mitzvah requirement.  In these particular times during the health challenges of covid, there will be outdoor readings available.  And for those who can not go outside, home visits can be arranged to listen through a window.  

2. Send food gifts to friends.

The mitzvah is to give Mishloach Manot (also called Shalach Manos), a gift of two ready-to-eat foods to one friend.  Sending to two friends is said to be praiseworthy. When possible, it’s best to send it through a third person. Although all Jewish holidays begin in the evening, we wait until Purim day to do this mitzvah, so that we can do it after hearing the blessing of “Shehechiyanu” on the Megillah.  When we listen to this blessing, in addition to the reading of the Megillah, we also keep in mind all the other mitzvahs of the day.

Haman tried to convince King Achashverosh that he should be concerned about the Jews, because as is written in the Megillah, the Jews were “scattered and divided amongst the nations,” yet they worked hard to maintain their Jewish customs. The mitzvah of Mishloach Manot is therefore done to show the unity and friendship amongst the Jewish people.  

3. Give gifts to the needy. 

Tzedakah (Charity) Box – The Hebrew word “tzedakah” literally means righteousness.

Now it’s easier than ever to give tzedakah (charity) through an online charitable fund.  Ask your local rabbi or rebbetzin, who will have something set up specifically for the mitzvah of Matanot Levyonim, or be able to guide you otherwise. The mitzva is to give tzedakah to two people.

4. Celebrate with a feast.

In remembrance of the victory against the evil Haman, Mordechai declared Purim to be an annual celebration, marked by a feast.


Purim Background with party costume and hamantasch

Enjoy this delicious Hamantaschen recipe!


Special Things Before Purim Begins

There are some significant things we do in preparation of the holiday.  They include:

  • The reading of Zachor
  • The Fast of Esther – Her greatness and a role model for all
  • Giving of a Half Shekel (Machatzit HaShekel)

Ask your local rabbi or rebbetzin for details.  

Dressed Up for Purim!

Purim is known as the most joyous Jewish holiday of the year. 

And, we can always add in joy, so now is the perfect time to prepare to do just that!  Do the 4 mitzvahs of Purim. Bake some delicious Hamantaschen (recipe here) for your Mishloach Manot and make your arrangements to hear both readings of the Megillah. Dress up and make a special meal! Most importantly, celebrate that we were not only saved more than 2000 years ago in Shushan, but by uniting in friendship and charity, we will continue moving forward.

If you need any assistance making arrangements for Purim, let me know! Which is your favorite of the 4 mitzvahs of Purim? Scroll down and let me know in the comments.

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