The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (JFSNJ)’s PJ Library program is teaming up with Courtney Cohen, local business owner of That Little Extra Design, to bring fun and engaging Jewish crafts kits to children ages 2-10.
PJ Library is a program that sends high-quality, age-appropriate Jewish books to families as a gift each month to help them connect with their Jewish identities early on in life. Thanks to the partnership with That Little Extra Design, parents, grandparents, and family members can purchase crafts kits for their young loved ones. Each kit contains three arts and crafts projects representing the major Jewish holidays in the fall, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. One kit order contains enough materials for two children to complete the projects for a total of $60.
Cohen herself has been connected with PJ Library for the last four years, having signed up her own son to receive books. “Judaism has always held a high place in my heart, especially for its traditions and values. I grew up going to JCC camp every summer and then sleepaway camp at Camp Harlam.” So, when Iris Snyder, JFSNJ’s engagement & donor specialist, reached out to Cohen to collaborate, she said she “jumped at the opportunity to partner with PJ Library and the Jewish Federation.”
“As a mom with two toddlers, I knew these activity kits needed to be a lot of things in order to be convenient and easy for parents, yet independently engaging for kids. Using the included materials, children work on their tactile learning and fine motor skills. The activity guided instructions and diagrams are designed to inspire kids to create and play independently while using their imaginations rather than following step by step instructions,” said Cohen.
Cohen, who is a creative director by trade and freelances with advertising agencies and companies throughout the city, explained she started her business on a group family ski trip with neighborhood friends.
“As moms, we all brought our best bag of tricks to entertain a houseful of kids for a weekend. For me, I brought art stuff because that’s what is easy for me, I love it, and I have a home studio full of fun things. It was during a strangely quiet time in a ski house filled with eight kids all working on an art project that one mom said, ‘This should be your business. Wrap this up and box it for parents everywhere.’ And so, it began. I set out to create a cool, easy, all-inclusive activity box parents would love as much as their kids,” said Cohen.
Cohen said that one of the benefits of the crafts kits is that they can be taken anywhere. She called it a “babysitter in a box” that is “giving parents time to make dinner, take a shower, have a warm coffee or glass of wine—all while feeling good because their kids are playing with an educational toy, containing only high quality materials, and creating an awesome masterpiece.”
She also explained, “This is an educational resource. There are no wrong ways to create here. As a parent, art lover, and designer, I built in all the little extras that elevate the experience for the kids while making it easier for the parents.”
Extras include reusable faux leather splat mats that wipe clean for kids to create their projects on, extra materials in case a child loses an item in the kit, Elmer’s glues, left/right-handed safety scissors, and a bonus activity. Children can sit down and complete the project from start to finish without needing any additional items— everything they need is included.
“Working with Courtney, who values both Judaism and educational, creative outlets for children, is a natural fit for PJ Library. We’re so excited to bring these elevated, unique Jewish fall holiday crafts to families,” said Stacey Unterlack, education & engagement specialist.
Kits can be purchased to be picked up at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, or for an additional fee can be shipped to a loved one directly. Orders of more than one will receive a 10 percent discount. Proceeds will support the PJ Library program in Southern New Jersey to bring more books to more families.
To buy a crafts kit, visit jewishsouthjersey.org/pjholidaykits
To learn more about PJ Library visit jewishsouthjersey.org/pjlibrary