Next time your preschooler is playing on the phone or iPad, have him or her do something useful: like making challah.
A new app called “Let’s Bake Challah!” won’t produce anything you can actually eat, but it will teach your children how the traditional Shabbat loaf is prepared, while exposing them to the relevant blessings recited over it.
Sarah Lefton, the executive director of G-dcast, a San Francisco-based nonprofit producing Jewish educational animated videos and games, said she came up with the idea for the free app while watching her 3-year-old son “spend hours on my phone during long plane flights and car trips decorating everything from balloons to cupcakes.”
The popularity of children’s apps like Cupcake Maker “made it obvious that we needed to make a Jewish contribution to the early childhood mobile space,” Lefton added. “We knew that if we designed something to be as fun as it is educational, then kids would embrace it.”
The challah app lets users virtually mix dough, braid it, bake it, decorate it (toppings include colored sprinkles, raisins, cinnamon, sesame seeds and za’atar), bless it and eat it.
G-dcast’s first offering for the preschool set, “Let’s Bake Challah!” is designed to be easy for a pre-literate child to use, and claims to build “not only Jewish literacy but also fine motor skills as kids swipe to knead bread, shake salt on top and sprinkle on sesame, poppy and more exotic toppings to their hearts’ delight.” Activities are narrated by the parent’s choice of a female or male voice.
Available for free on the iTunes store, the app was developed with funding from Upstart Bay Area and the Covenant Foundation.
“Let’s Bake Challah!” comes on the heels of two other G-dcast games: Leviticus!, a “Biblical sacrifice game” for ages 13 and up, and “Let’s Get Ready for Passover!, a hidden object game for 5- to 8-year-olds.
Could “Let’s Make Chicken Soup!” be next?