How to Celebrate Yom Kippur with Kids

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that yearly, I post about our family Yom Kippur ritual with my kids.

Having grown up in a conservative synagogue, I’ve always taken this holiday seriously—fasting (even before I was 13), asking others for forgiveness, and thumping my fist over my heart (IYKYK). Yom Kippur felt so tangible to me…I understood what was being asked of me and I did the rituals. I liked the inter-personal nature of it, and if it got me forgiveness for crashing the car, then sign me up!

But the one person I never asked forgiveness from was myself, then and actually, even now. My therapist often reflects back how I *talk* to myself, asking me if my child came to me with the same troubles and feelings, would I speak to them the same way I *speak* to myself? Never. It’s so enlightening every dang time, and I want my kids to start valuing the building opportunities from mistakes and offering themselves grace and kindness NOW!

In the early days, we used to go to the park on Yom Kippur, discuss what it meant to be a part of this family unit and then write down our goals for the year. Last year I shared a fun fill-in-the-blank worksheet that I made for my family, but now, as my kids are entering their teen years and have a pretty good grasp on our family values and goals, I wanted to steer this year’s message a bit more inward. I did some reading (mostly on my favorite Jewish media sites like Hey Alma, Tablet, and Kveller) to put together this *equally* fun, and I hope meaningful, exercise.

yom kippur tshuvah worksheet for kids and teens

Every year we look back at the Yom Kippurs past and the kids get so much entertainment seeing their handwriting and adorable spelling mistakes!

To end on a high, happy note, I always add a drawing prompt at the bottom (last year it was to draw Hugg McHuggster—see our drawings below!). You’ll have to download this year’s to see who you get to create!

yom kippur for kids

I say this every year…this exercise is rather agnostic—there is a little mention of the holiday but it’s useful for anyone of any belief set.


Some of the things I read and listened to:

  • This article by Helen Plotkin on Tablet.
  • This article by Shelly Jay Shore on Hey Alma. (TW: there is talk of disordered eating.)
  • This podcast episode from Unorthodox. If you listen to the conversation with Rabbi David Bashevkin, you’ll hear the origin story of my new worksheet, The Beauty of Broken Pieces. In a nutshell, he talks about how the Ark of the Covenant held both the broken tablets and the second “do-over” set. The broken set became a reminder of Moses’ mistake—how he smashed the 10 Commandments in anger over the Jewish people’s worshipping of the Golden Calf. In order to grow and learn, we can’t erase or hide the mistakes, but rather find a place for them to exist and teach in our own lived experiences.


Until next year…Rabbi Kingloff out!

September 23, 2023| Activities, Early Elementary, Family Bonding, Holidays, Older Elementary, Tween to Teen, Unplugged Time