Hanukkah Activities and Fun Ideas for Kids

Hanukkah


Chanukah is a Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of lights. Chanukah is a Hebrew word meaning “dedication”. It is also spelled Chanuka, Chanukkah, Hannukah or Hanukkah. The first evening of Chanukah (called Erev Chanukah) starts after the sunset of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.

Hanukkah 2012 begins in the evening of Saturday, December 8 and ends in the evening of Sunday, December 16

Hanukkah Arts and Crafts

arts
Playdough Menorah
playdough, birthday candles, large candles
Roll out piece of playdough and press to form base. Place large candle in center and four small candles on each side of large.

Wrapping Paper
blue paint, large pieces of white paper, plastic margarine lids, small Hanukkah cookies cutters (or basic shapes)
Pour small amount of paint into margarine lids. Dip a cookie cutter into paint, stamp on paper, and then let paint dry.

Candle puppets
Toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks, foil, glue, scissors, markers, yellow construction paper Cover toilet paper roll with foil. Cut a flame shape out of paper and draw a face on it. Glue flame on end of the popsicle stick. Insert stick in roll, hold roll with one hand, make flame dance with other.

Tasty Menorahs
Bread, cream cheese or butter, carrot sticks, pretzel sticks, raisins
Spread bread with cream cheese or butter, arrange 8 pretzels as candles and carrot stick as large candle in center. Use raisins as flames at ends of carrot and pretzel sticks.

Dreidels
pencils, glue, paint and paintbrushes, small milk cartons or boxes
Fold tops of milk cartons down to make boxes. Mix a little glue with paint and let children paint boxes. Poke pencil through box from top downward so point is on bottom. Poem:

I have a little dreidel,
I made it out of clay.
And when it’s dry and ready,
A dreidel game I’ll play.

 

Hanukkah Recipes and Snacks

food

Potato Latkes
6-8 medium potatoes
1/2 medium onion
3 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a cheese grater or food processor, grate 6-8 potatoes to yield 6 cups. Drain off the extra liquid. Grate 1/2 onion. Mix the grated potatoes and onion with the eggs and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat oil in a skillet and drop your batter by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry until brown on the edges, then flip and fry the other side. Serve while still warm. Warm latkes and cold milk will satisfy the vegetable and milk requirements at snack time. This recipe will serve 8 school children or 12 preschool children.

LATKES (potato pancakes)
4 large potatoes
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
2 t. matzoh meal
1 t. salt dash of pepper cooking oil
Grate the potatoes & press out as much of the liquid as you can. Mix in the onion, egg, seasoning, & matzoh meal. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with cooking oil. Heat. Carefully drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Fry each side until crisp & brown.

THE LATKES ARE FRYING IN THE PAN
(Sung to: When Johnny Comes Marching Home)
The latkes are frying in the pan, hurrah, hurrah!
The latkes are frying in the pan, hurrah, hurrah!
And when they have cooked up nice and brown,
We’ll take them out and sit right down
And we’ll eat those yummy latkes this Hannukkah night!

LIGHT THE CANDLES BRIGHT
(sung to: “The Farmer In The Dell”)
Oh, light the candles bright,
And dance around the light.
Heigh-ho the derry-oh,
It’s Hanukkah tonight.

Spin the dreidel round,
And watch it falling down.
Heigh-ho the derry-oh,
It’s Hanukkah tonight.

Latke treats to eat,
And family to greet.
Heigh-ho the derry-oh,
It’s Hanukkah tonight.

* I make a menorah felt board. Then the children say the verse below. I say a line & they repeat after me. I also call one child to come up to the felt board & pretend to light the menorah. I have also made a menorah using candles & balls of clay for the stands. I have actually allowed the children to light the candles with my hand helping them. They really enjoy this. They will take the helper candle & light another candle.

The Menorah Felt Board
Cut out a menorah shape that will hold nine candles. The middle or fifth holder is taller then the rest. Cut out 9 candle shapes out of white or blue felt. Cut out 9 candle flames out of yellow felt. Place the menorah with the 9 candles standing in it on the flannelboard. Put a flame on the top of the middle candle. Explain that with the real menorah the candle in the center (the shammash) would be used to light the other candles. Then let the children take turns placing the flames on the eight remaining candles as you read the verse below. Remove all the flames after each verse so that the next child can “light” the appropriate number of candles.

Eight little candles in a row,
Waiting to join the holiday glow.
The first night we light candle number one.
Hanukkah time has now begun.
The second night we light candles one & two.
Hanukkah’s here–there’s lots to do.
The third night we light up to three.
Hanukkah’s here—there’s lots to see.
The fourth night we light all up to four,
Each now a part of the Hanukkah lore.
The fifth night we light all up to five,
Helping our Hanukkah come alive.
The sixth night we light all up to six.
Happy candles—happy wicks.
The seventh night we light all up to seven.
The glow of each candle reaches to heaven.
The eight night we light all up to eight.
Hanukkah’s here—-let’s celebrate!

Menorah Candle Handprints
Let one child at a time place both hands in dark colored paint and make a Menorah print on construction paper by placing fingers of each hand spread and together with thumbs over-lapping. When the menorah is finished have the children dip a finger into yellow point and make a “flame” at the top of each candle.

Hanukkah Gelt Hunt
Tell the children that one of the games played by Jewish families during Hanukkah involves something called gelt. The gelt are real coins hidden by parents that the children must find. Have a gelt hunt, but substituting gold- foil chocolate coins for real coins. Hide the coins around a room for the children to find.

 

Hanukkah Songs, Stories and Finger Plays

story
Finger Play
Hanukkah Candles
Eight little candles in a row,
Waiting to join the holiday glow.
The first night we light candle number one.
Hanukkah time has now begun.
The second night we light candles on and two.
Hanukkah’s here there’s lots to do.
The third night we light all up to three.
Hanukkah’s here there’s lots to see.
The fourth night we light all up to four.
Each now a part of the Hanukkah lore.
The fifth night we light all up to five.
Helping our Hanukkah come alive.
The sixth night we light all up to six.
Hanukkah’s here there’s food to fix.
The seventh night we light all up to seven.
The glow of each candle reaches to Heaven.
The eight night we light all up to eight.
Hanukkah’s here, let’s celebrate!

Science Experiment
Candle Clock
You will need:
2 tapered candles that are the same length
Ruler
Permanent marker

To make a candle clock, burn one candle for 30 minutes. Measure the difference
in length between the 2 candles. This length now represents a half-hour. With
the permanent marker, make half-hour marks on both candles. Burn one of the
candles for several hours. Have your children tell you how much time has
passed by counting the number of marks down the candle has burned.

Tasty Menorahs
-bread
-cream cheese or butter
-carrot sticks
-pretzel sticks
-raisins
Help each child:
1. spread bread with cream cheese or butter
2. arrange 8 pretzels as candles and carrot stick as large candle in center
3. use raisins as flames at ends of carrot and pretzel sticks

Dreidels
-pencils
-glue
-paint
-paintbrushes
-small milk cartons or boxes
1. fold tops of milk cartons down to make boxes
2. mix a little glue with paint
3. let children paint boxes
4. poke pencil through box from top downward so point is on bottom
Poem: I have a little dreidel,
I made it out of clay.
And when it’s dry and ready,
A dreidel game I’ll play.
(ideas from “Get Ready, Set, Grow!”)

Playdough Menorah
-playdough
-birthday candles
-large candles
Let each child:
1. roll out piece of playdough and press to form base
2. place large candle in center and four small candles on each side of large

Here is the Christmas/Hanukkah story.
Props:
Hanukkah Candle Puppet
Christmas Star Puppet
Ordinary glove, sequins, glitter, glue
Allow the children to decorate an ordinary glove with sequins and glitter, creating a sparkling effect. Put the glove on and use as a Christmas star.

Story: When the Hanukkah Candle Met the Christmas Star
by Holly McDonough-Abunassar *copyright 1996 Child Care Provider Magazine

The cold winds were beginning to blow, nipping at the heels of shoppers filling the streets in search of the perfect gift. There seemed to be a certain joy in the air – the holiday season was here.

The clerk at the corner gift shop was putting the final touches on the window decorations. She placed a Hanukkah candle in the Menorah and lit the Christmas star atop the tree. She stood back for a moment, admiring her handiwork. Then she hurried off to tend to her chores.

All was quiet in the front window, but not for long. “Excuse me,” said a voice. “Huh?” said another. “It’s me – over here.” It was the Hanukkah candle. “Why are you always here?” he asked the Christmas star. “I was just about to ask you the same question!” replied the star. “Every year it’s the same thing. They unpack us from the box and put us in this window,” continued the star. “Some stop to look at me and others admire you. But you can’t hang from a tree like the other ornaments. You don’t sparkle like tinsel. And I don’t see how you could sit atop this tree – like me.”

“Of course not,” chuckled the candle. “I don’t belong on your tree. I am a candle – a symbol of hope. People sing songs and celebrate when they light me each evening. You see, many, many years ago, a frightening King ruled the land. He wouldn’t allow the people to pray and he put out the candle burning in their temple. One family used the last of their oil – just one day’s supply – to keep that light aglow. Much to everyone’s surprise, the candle stayed lit for 8 days until more oil arrived. Now people light me every year as a symbol of hope – remembering those who fought to keep me lit all throughout the year.”

“I see,” said the star. “And why do you sit perched on top of that tree year after year?” asked the candle. “As it turns out,” replied the star in surprise, “I too am a symbol of hope to all who light me. Many, many years ago, a baby was born and laid in a manger in a stable. This baby brought eternal hope to the people who traveled from far-off lands to visit him, bringing gifts. A star was shining bright in the sky, leading them to where the baby lay. Now, I am a symbol of hope, reminding people of the baby’s birth. Every year, people place me on the tree and celebrate with songs and gifts and the most delicious smelling foods.”

The two were quiet for a moment, both deep in thought. Just then, a man stopped to admire the Hanukkah candle and the Menorah. All at once the star stretched out its points as wide as he could to shine a little extra light on the candle. The man moved on. A few minutes later, a child ran to the window to point to the star perched on the tree. Without even thinking, the Hanukkah candle straightened up as tall as he could and cast a glow over the star.

From that day on, the star and the candle had a new understanding of each other. Different, but alike, each bring celebration to the season. Now when the candle and the star sit side by side in the gift shop window, each works hard to help the other shine a little brighter – bringing hope to all who stop to visit.

* Cut out on white paper the shape of an Oil jug….Have the children take colored chalk and draw anything they want…. Then brush the entire piece with cooking oil…. Let dry. The texture is lovely and the oil relates to the Hannukah story….. This can also be done as a crayon resist…. Take crayons and color as hard as possible. Then take a wash of any color tempra you choose…. The crayon stands out and the background is painted……

*The most simple idea is to cut dreidle shapes and Star of David shapes and have the children glitter them or get bow tie pasta had have them collage with that on the shapes….. Sponge paint with blue and white using Chanukah symbols….. get some good books and you are on your way….. Hope you have fun with the unit…..Oh, cut out a big menorah out of poster board… Have the kids glitter it or decorate it anyway you would like…. Then add a candle to it(paper of course) each day… Lots of fun.

Related Links
123 Greeting Hanukkah Page
Not Just for Kids Hanukkah Page

 

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