Sure, the High Holidays mark the beginning of the Jewish new year and are a time of introspection, but for many children, the themes behind Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur simply soar over their heads. Some grow bored during long prayer services and many feel that these holidays of atonement are just for adults.

But children are never too young to learn the valuable lessons of forgiveness and transformation.

The best way to inspire children to love a holiday is through tangible experiences that will connect all of their senses to the traditions. Parents can show children that the High Holy Days are not only important, but fun.

Here's a list of creative activities you can implement to help bring home to your children the valuable lessons of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

  1. Make a list of resolutions for the Jewish New Year. Encourage your children to write their list on a decorative poster and hang it up. That way, they can check it throughout the year to see how they are keeping up with the list.
  2. Write all the bad habits you and your children hope to lose in the coming year on scraps of paper. Then cast them out like you are throwing away your sins during the tashlich service.
  3. Create Rosh Hashanah cards for relatives and friends. Include the words L'shanah Tovah – to wish them a "good year" – and allow your children to deliver them or put them in the mailbox.
  4. Visit an orchard where your children can pick apples that they will dip in honey at the Rosh Hashanah festive meal.
  5. Take your children to a fruit market where they can pick out "first fruits." On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it's customary to recite a blessing on a fruit you haven't eaten that season. Many people eat pomegranates, which is symbolic because it contains numerous seeds (reminding people of the numerous good deeds they should perform).
  6. Encourage your children to help you bake challahs for the festive meal. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur eve, the breads we eat are traditionally round to remind us that the year, like the Jewish life cycle, goes round and round.
  7. Help your children create an Apple and Honey Dish to be used at the festival meal, or tzedakah boxes, so you can explain how charity is a mitzvah we must focus on during this time of year.
  8. Ask your children if there were things during the past year that they wish they had done differently. Create a list of all the things they would like to do better in the coming year. Have them think of the people to whom they would want to show a kindness to, such as a parent, grandparent or teacher.
  9. Write letters to yourselves that talk about your hopes for the coming year. List all the ways in which you hope to improve yourself and discuss your vision for who you hope to become. Seal the letter in an envelope until next year.
  10. Have a birthday party for the world: Frost a round cake with blue for the oceans and green for the land. Let the children decorate it with animal crackers, flower sprinkles and fish shaped candy. Instead of bringing gifts, let everyone think of a present to give to the world that will make it a better place.
  11. Use horns or kazoos to learn about the various blasts of the shofar that are blown on Rosh Hashanah:
    Tekiah–one long blast _____________
    Shevarim–three medium blasts _____ ____ ____
    Teruah–(at least) nine short blasts __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
    Tekiah Gedolah–a final very long blast—as long as you can hold your breath.

Involving the children also includes time spent discussing the ideas behind the holidays.

Rabbi Ephraim Simon, Rabbi and Executive Director of Friends of Lubavitch of Bergen County, Teaneck, New Jersey, a father of nine children, works hard to make Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur relevant for people of all ages.

Simon attempts to involve his children and the children who come to his Chabad House as much as possible. He prepares his young charges by discussing the concept of repentance way before any Jewish Martha Stewart has even concocted her Rosh Hashanah menu!

"During the weeks leading up to the holidays," Simon says, "we talk about the meaning behind it, why we do what we do, and what it means to us today. We build up an excitement about it and when it arrives they can't wait.

"For me," he continues, "the key is one word: Involvement. If the children feel that they are not on the outside looking in, and that it really isn't just an adult holiday, then it won't lose all meaning for them."