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I have two young children, one of whom (aged six) loves drawing. Sadly, she often professed to hate Shabbes, given that she cannot draw for the entire day, and I have been looking for a kosher alternative.

One of the things that we have been using is a booklet with pictures that only reveal their colours under water. Using a special applicator, she ‘paints’ the pages with water and the images come to life, but fade back to obscurity as they dry. It’s cute, but it’s not really satisfying her urge to draw.

Are there halakhically permitted products that we can use? Something using light, or iron filings, or sand - with the understanding that it will be for pictures and not for writing. Sources please for the legitimacy of anything; it needs to be 100% kosher for Shabbes.

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    the alternative you mentioned (the booklet with water) still sounds like it would be ossur under tzevo
    – ezra
    Aug 7 at 12:38
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    You should ask a rav about your case. Since this is a question of chinuch, there might be room for leniency in certain cases even if something would not be permitted for an adult (like with lego for boys according to Rav Moshe).
    – N.T.
    Aug 8 at 4:26
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    @Aaron oh, so the difference is the lines, then. I see the difference, but I'm not convinced it matters. You might want to ask a knowledgeable rabbi to be sure.
    – Esther
    Aug 8 at 17:16
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    קטן אוכל נבלות אין בית דין מצווים להפרישו
    – kouty
    Aug 8 at 17:34
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    You have to make shabbos fun for her, so she doesn't hate it. Do other stuff she enjoys. Maybe get her a special shabbos toy she would really like. Give her extra treats. Etc. You want to make her love shabbos, not to make her not hate it.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Aug 9 at 6:35

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First of all, @Kovy Jacob's comment deserves to be highlighted:

"You have to make shabbos fun for her, so she doesn't hate it. Do other stuff she enjoys. Maybe get her a special shabbos toy she would really like. Give her extra treats. Etc. You want to make her love shabbos, not to make her not hate it."

As to the substantive issue: A game such as Bananagrams is mutar (https://outorah.org/p/51876/) - i.e., there's no problem putting letters together to form a word, as long as they're not attached to each other or to a board. So it would seem that the same could apply to, say, beads or small blocks: let her put them together, on the table or the floor or whatever (again, not attached to each other or to anything), to form a picture. (And if you can provide her a space to do so where it won't be disarranged until after Shabbos, then you'll be able to take a photo of it and thus preserve it for the future.)

To be sure, as N.T. mentioned in a comment, ask a rav, to make sure this comparison is correct, and to see if there are still better alternatives.

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