10 Best Ways to Get Kids Excited about Israel

Arky Staiman

Getting your kids excited and educated before your trip can completely transform your time in Israel. Here are some tips to getting them excited!


True story, my first time in Israel was for my Bar Mitzvah. I get called to the history teacher’s office one day in school before my trip. She told me I was failing class and I needed to do extra credit to get my grades up. She gave me a Jewish history book called Sand and Stars by Yaffa Ganz and Berel Wein and said read this and do a report on it.

At first, I was bummed, but then I got into it and did the report. My Bar Mitzvah trip was a transformative event in my life and partially because as I was hearing the stories I could connect it all to what I had just recently read.

It was only until a few years later that I learned that my parents “schemed” with my teacher to prepare me for my Israel trip and I wasn’t failing history class at all…. Well played parents, well played.

1) Read Some Books Beforehand:

There are a lot of different options for books and reading materials that can help with getting ready for the trip. I would start with a phone call to the tour guide, 

“What stories will we be covering on our tour?

What books or Chapters of Tanach should we read before we come to be more prepared?

Ask yourself these questions:

Do you and your kids know what special places you are going to be visiting?”

Do they know the stories?

Has it been a while since they learned some of these stories?

Do they know the basic Jewish History that connects to everything that they are going to see?

Top 3 books:

Tanach– Ok obviously, but choose specific Perakim (Chapters) that are covering the stories you will see

Sand and Stars:

Like Dreamers:

Best topics to review before your trip:

• A timeline of Dovid Hamelechs life

• A detailed diagram of the 2nd Temple

• A short timeline of Israel’s wars

• A map of the Avos+Imahos journeys

• Stories of their favorite Tzaddik who lived or is buried in Israel

• Basic timeline of Yehoshua, Shoftim, Melachim

I promise when your son/daughter is standing in the exact place where the stories they have just learned about, a few weeks earlier, it will be a whole different experience.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this excuse from kids after not knowing some basic questions: “oh I learned this a while ago, I don’t remember”.

If you are very chinuch-oriented call your guide and make a source sheet for your kids so they can literally see the pesukim and Mishnayos in front of their eyes when going to the places they actually happened.

2) Buy A Map:

Buy them a paper road map, preferably laminated. You can draw the route you will be taking. Play a game with them: give them the itinerary and have them try and find and circle the different sites they will be going. Bring the map with all the drawings on it with you in Israel. Have them follow it and try and find us during the drives.

3) Show them Pictures/Diagrams:

How long was the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) in Yerushalayim? How long after the destruction of the 1rst was the 2nd built? When was the last time the Jewish people had an army? When was the last time Jews ruled in Eretz Yisrael? How many times did Eretz Yisrael change hands?

Show them pictures of where you will be going and what you will be doing there. Show them diagrams of how the Kotel was part of the Second Bet Hamikdash, or maps of where Avraham Avinu walked.

Top 5 diagrams for your Israel trip:

• Kotel and the second Beit Hamikdash

• Map of Avraham travels

• 3D pop out map of Israel

• Israel divided into tribes

• A physical Timeline of Israel

4) Review the Itinerary With Them:

Go through each day with your kids. Ask them what they are confused about, what they are most excited about. Pique their interest by asking them questions: “What do you think we are going to see in the City of David?” If you don’t have answers that’s ok, talk to your guide about your trip so they can prepare you.

6) Choose a Soldier

One special thing to do for older kids (12 and up) is to have each one learn about one soldier who was killed in a war. See their pictures and learn about them. You can take an hour out of your trip to visit that soldier’s grave and have them tell the family about their soldier. You can choose multiple soldiers from the same cemetery. For a list of inspiring soldiers to learn about: (all on Mt. Herzl in the same general area):

Roi Klien z’l

Chana Senesh

Max Stienberg

Avi Lanir

Michael Levine

Yoni Netanyahu

Click here for a unique interactive Mt. Herzl experience.

7) Draw pictures of Israeli sites:

For the younger ones you can have them color in pictures of places you will be going. Grab a picture of the Kotel or the stringed-bridge in Jerusalem and have them draw it in.

8) Prepare a Siyum in a Special Location:

Does your child learn Torah? Think about how special it would be to make a siyum on Mesechet Sukkah in the place of the Simcha Bet Hashoeva, or a siyum on Shmuel at the spot of the Mishkan, or any Mishna in the place where Rebbe compiled the Mishna. Plan your learning so that you can have a special siyum in a holy place! Contact your tour guide to help you plan this (happy to help).

9) Have them prepare a story:

Sooo many amazing sites and stories to hear in Israel but what do you think your kids will remember more? The stories they heard or the stories they told? Work with your guide to prepare a special place where your kid will tell everyone else the story!

10) Practice basic Hebrew phrases:

I’ve seen the embarrassment on kids’ faces when they have learned in Hebrew class for 10 years and they walk up to the pizza counter and have no idea how to order a pizza. Make them proud of the Hebrew they know and teach them basic phrases so that they feel proud of the Hebrew they know.

Best Hebrew phrases to learn:

אפשר להזמין בבקשה: Can I order please

כמה זה עולה

סבבה: Awesome!

איזה כיף: This is so fun!

11) Make Israeli foods together: 

Get the kids in the kitchen and try and make some Israeli dishes and then compare yours food to what you ate on the trip!

Best foods to prepare before your Israel trip:




Baba Ganush



Israeli Salad

12) Review expectations of behavior on tours and in general

“How many times do I have to tell you, you don’t have to raise your hand to ask questions on my tour,” I say often to kids. Are they expected to sit quietly and learn like in class, ask questions, jump on ancient ruins, run away when they see something cool, follow the guide, even when he goes to the bathroom (yup that’s happened a few times) allowed to eat? They won’t know what the proper behaviors are unless you tell them. This whole learning while not in school thing is new to them. Everything about Israel is new to them. Have a gentle and loving conversation with them about what is and isn’t expected of them.


If you are stressed about the trip, your kids will be stressed. If you show your excitement about the trip, your kids will get excited. This trip is a once in a lifetime oppurtunity, take advantage of it. Your kids will never come to Israel at this age again, make sure they feel the excitement and the importance of this trip!