I love our sukkah decorations!

Building Our Sukkah in Modi'in

Putting up the sukkah, 2007

I’m not a cute and crafty mom. I want to be, but I’m just not. Even if I have the cute ideas, I generally lack the crafty proficiency to implement them. Very, very occasionally, however, I manage to make something with or for my kids that I am really proud of. And our sukkah decorations top that list.

It’s started back when we bought our sukkah. I think it was our first year of marriage and we were living Jerusalem. Initially, we just used the walls that came with the set. They were made out of that crinkly plastic tarp stuff. In America — where Sukkot nights can require sweaters and even winter coats — I can see how these walls might be a good thing. But in Israel — where Sukkot is just more of the same beastly hot summer you’ve been suffering through for five months already — plastic tarp = hot house.

Which we realized about 4 seconds into dinner on the first night of Sukkot. We suffered through (some of us more bravely than others), but at the end of the chag, we tossed the tarps and bought the upgraded version: Thin, white cotton sheets.

As we were hanging up those pristine white walls, I was struck with a rare (see above) cute idea: I was going to turn one of those walls into a through-the-years art gallery. Instead of pinning up pictures the kids had made in school, I would have the kids create their pictures right on the wall with fabric paint, fabric markers, glue, sequins, whatever floated their boat that particular year.

Putting up Sukkah

Putting up the sukkah, 2010

I visually divvied up the wall and decided on approximately 1 foot x 1 foot squares. I figured if we ran out of room, we could always use another sheet. That first year, our then two-year old son finger painted with non-toxic fabric paint. The next year, he used stencils — of a horse, which will forever remind me of his equestrian obsession — and my one year-old stamped his hand and foot prints.

We had one more year of artistic creativity before we had to put the sukkah and its walls away for two years, during which we lived in a balcony-less apartment and relied on the generosity of others to host us.

But this year… we live in a  house. With a big back yard and plenty of room to put up our sukkah. As my husband started schlepping out the base last night, I went scrounging through our art supplies for all the gear. Once breakfast is over, I’m super psyched to let my three kids have at that wall. It’s been a while and our gallery’s eager for some new inspiration!

sukkah decorations

{Update} Done! All three kiddos used fabric markers this year, which definitely makes for easy clean up. My 7 year old illustrated a scene from a baseball game, my 5 year old “copied” a picture of Dora, Boots and Diego that he printed off the computer, and my 16 month old scrawled a few lines and then had a temper tantrum over not being able to put the lids on the markers by herself. I couldn’t be happier!

Do you have a sukkah decoration that you especially love? Something that gets lovingly packed away every year and puts a huge smile on your face when you unearth it the following Sukkot? I can’t wait to hear all about it!


  1. Lovely picture – was it taken here in JC or in Israel? I can’t tell if that is a younger A or M Nice post in any case.

    • Thanks, Mom. I edited your post to delete the kids’ names (Internet paranoia!). It’s a young A – taken in Modi’in!

  2. Leslie Chinn says

    I love this idea and when my children were little I let them do the paint on sheets. At the time we lived in Illinois and the rain soaked and knocked over our Sukkah. I then went to shower curtains. We moved to Arizona and the palm branches destroy the shower curtains. My trouble is trying to construct a sukkah that would with stand the elements of heat, rain, wind and only being able to use palm branches with thorns and are really heavy. Our sukkah attempts have been not so good. I found a design on the internet to construct one out of wood for $40 dollars it has worked for us 4 times out of the 5 years we have been in Arizona.. I like the idea with the sheets. What kind of design do you use? Do you create one yourself or do you buy the premade sukkah and add your own walls? I am always looking for new ways if I am able. I am on a budget since we live on one income so I can homeschool. I am open to any suggestions, links, or websites that would help. ~Shalom

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