Keep a Shabbos Stash on hand so you are always ready to make Parsha Nosh. The Shabbos Stash consists of a limited number of basic components you can use without last-minute preparation. Most Shabbos Stash Parsha Noshes contain less than 15 grams of sugar.
Gingerbread men, any size. Can be decorated to represent any character. A must for just about any lesson!
Small bear-shaped cookies. Used like gingerbread men but better if you want a crowd of people. Be careful: these can be found with a hechsher, but the most common brand has a hechsher only in some areas.
Animal crackers. To represent animals. Sometimes you will need a ram but have only lion animal crackers in your pantry, or need a bird and have only a parakeet. That’s ok. Kids have excellent imaginations.
Graham crackers. Any other cracker can be substituted but I have found it convenient to have a single cracker that can be used as large rectangular sheets, large squares, or small individual rectangular crackers.
Pretzel sticks, both large and small. Make good walking sticks, swords, flag poles, etc. If the snack needs to be more substantial but I don’t want the kids to have another cookie, I simply give each character a walking stick.
Ice cream cones, both with the pointy tip and with the flat bottom. Make good shofarot, whale bodies, towers/mountains, and pits or wells.
Jelly beans. Used to decorate just about everything, and less than 1 gram of sugar per bean (you don’t usually need more than 2 jelly beans per decorated gingerbread man). They are hard on the outside, but cut easily with children’s scissors (allowed on Shabbat as it is food) to reveal a sticky inside that will adhere to cookies or crackers. If you buy the giant Jelly Belly jars, they last quite a while. I have found, however, that jelly beans tend to lose their inner stickiness if the jar has been opened for a long time. If this happens to you, you can stick pieces on with sugar glue (below).
Fruit leather, assorted colors (make sure it is thin enough to be pliable but not so thin you cannot remove the backing paper). Can be used as cloth, leather, or sliced thinly for ropes or ribbons. I have not found the natural type that is most often found to be pliable or sticky enough, but you can use it especially if you soak it in water for a bit. Unused portions are saved in plastic storage bags. Fruit leather will usually stick to whatever it touches, but you can use sugar glue to aid in sticking if needed.
Marshmallows (kosher of course), large and mini. Like jelly beans, these are sticky only on the inside, so can be cut to reveal only as much of a sticky side as you wish. Make sure to put unused ones in a plastic storage container. If you don’t they will get hard. If you cannot find kosher marshmallows in your area, sugar cubes or white jelly beans can be substituted in almost every project, and instructions are provided for both methods.
Confectioner’s sugar, AKA powdered sugar. Mix about a tablespoon with the smallest amount of water you can add to make it spreadable. Makes edible glue, but can also be used as white paint.
Chocolate coins. Not used often, but invaluable when needed. Available year-round in some places, but I stock up before Hanukkah.
Chocolate milk powder. The chocolate milk powder can be mixed with a minimal amount of water to make brown paint. Icing can be used to decorate as appropriate. Caution: this will stain, so only use under supervision, with carful or older children, or wearing old clothes or smocks.
Black sesame seeds. Can be used to make eyes, adhering to most fruits and vegetables simply due to the moisture. Proper positioning can even create a variety of expressions. Work well with fruits, vegetables, and even the Shabbos Stash.
Colored sugar in various colors (the color needed for a particular parsha nosh is stated therein). Ration it; kids will dump an entire jar on one project if allowed. Do not buy the colored sugar that comes in bead-sized pieces; they will not stick properly, and putting them in a blender will not yield the desired result. Believe me; I tried.
Mini chocolate chips. Can be used to make eyes and otherwise decorate if you are tired of cutting black jelly beans into tiny pieces.
Shaped sprinkles. A fun treat when the shape is appropriate to the lesson. Available in the baking aisle everywhere.
Unless you are working with a huge crowd, I suggest getting smaller packages whenever possible, as opened containers of cookies, crackers, and marshmallows tend to lose their quality after being opened.