How to Build a Sukkah With Your Family

The sukkah outside of PJ Library headquarters

One of the most fun, family-friendly, holidays in the Jewish calendar is just around the corner—Sukkot!

The name Sukkot comes from sukkah, the temporary structure that families build—and sometimes live in—during the holiday. Sukkot is actually the plural of sukkah and other names for the holiday include “Feast of Booths” or the “Feast of Tabernacles.”

Why Do People Build a Sukkah?

During Sukkot, families remember the flimsy houses that people lived in more than 2000 years ago, as they traveled through the desert heading towards Israel. While making and decorating a sukkah is a blast, spending time living in a temporary structure like this also reminds us to think about our priorities. Part of the holiday reminds everyone that being together is more important than how many toys, gadgets, and cool things we have.

You can help your family get ready for Sukkot by reading a story, making a harvest treat to share, and by building and decorating a sukkah. Short on space? Don’t worry—we've included activities for big back yards, courtyards, and apartment living as well.

Building a Backyard Sukkah

You’ve been to friends’ houses for Sukkot and you’re ready to make your own. The internet is full of Ikea-style prefab “sukkah kits” as well as fantastic tutorials for making a simple sukkah. You can grab some PVC pipes and canvas drop cloths from your local hardware store to make a sukkah on the cheap. Not sure where to start? The blog Kosher on a Budget has a tutorial here. You can also find a how-to on MyJewishLearning.

Grownups may be interested in this blog post that talks about customizing a prefab sukkah-kit and building on the structure each year with your family.

The "Instant" Sukkah

Not feeling very handy? Need a "sukkah solution" that's easy to put up, take down, or move from place to place? Try this instant sukkah "hack" from PJ Library staff member Amy.

Sukkot in a Small Space

Ideas for apartment-dwelling families

image via Bible Belt Balabusta

In the story, A House on the Roof, a grandfather builds a sukkah on the roof of his apartment building. If this option isn’t accessible—or safe—for your family, you can join together with friends to create a community sukkah in an open space, or build a model sukkah for your living room. Here are some fun mini-sukkah models your children can make on their own or with a little assistance from a grownup:

For more ideas about celebrating Sukkot as a city dweller, check out this post.


One of the best parts of building a sukkah is decorating it! If you’re not building your own, you can make embellishments to share with a friend or to give to your community’s sukkah. Here are three fun, easy, projects you can make with kids:

For more ideas, head over to our blog post, 12 Fall Activities With a Jewish Twist