We feel it’s important to teach our children about holidays and traditions which we don’t necessarily celebrate ourselves but might be a part of our friends and neighbours lives. To give you an opportunity to talk about Hanukkah with your children; we prepared a couple of activities which you might find fun to do.
This time of year is not only famous for Christmas but for many people all over the world; Hanukkah. It’s also known as Chanukah and is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It lasts for 8 days and most often falls at the end of November or December - this year it starts on December 10th. It commemorates the Miracle of the Oil and the most popular custom is to light one candle every night for 8 days in a special candlestick called Menorah. Traditionally, families often exchange gifts and give to the poor and needy - every night for 8 days!! Children also play a game by spinning a Dreidel, a cube shaped dice with Hebrew letters on each side.
Talking to children about different cultures and beliefs help them to develop empathy and understanding of others. Most people importantly, it teaches them that regardless of any differences we have things such as family, respect and love in common.
Activity 1: Let’s light up that Menorah
You will need:
- A paper plate
- Paper (white or coloured)
- Markers/crayons or if you feel like getting a bit messy:paint
- String or a piece of a ribbon
- Cut the paper plate in half and colour in or paint one half in a colour of your choice.
- Take the other half of the plate and cut it into a pizza slice shape. Colour in/paint it in the same colour as the first half.
- Once it is ready attach the pizza shaped piece to the bottom of the other piece of plate to make it look like a candle holder.
- To make candles, take a piece of paper and cut it into 8 stripes (approximately 10x2cm) and 1 stripe longer than the others.
- If you were using white paper, colour in/paint in one colour or make each candle in a different colour. Then cut out flame shapes and glue it to the top of each candle.
- Glue the candles to the Menorah candle holder with the long candle in the middle.
- Make a hole in each side of the plate and attach the ribbon/string to be able to hang your Menorah.
Fun fact: You might wonder why there are 9 candles when there are 8 days of Hanukkah….Well, the longer candle is called shamash (a servator) and it is usually placed in the middle as a source of light for the other 8.
Activity 2: Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, I made it out of clay…
As the words of a famous children’s song say… but don’t worry, we will not use clay only paper. It’s still perfect for playing the game afterwards.
To make the Driedel you will need:
- A piece of thin cardboard - a cereal box is perfect
- A short pencil
- Cut a 8cm/3 inch square of thin cardboard and divide it into equal triangles
- Write one Hebrew letter נ,ג,ה,ש in each triangle
- Poke the short pencil through the middle to allow it to spin
Now let’s spin that Dreidel
To play the game you need:
- Gelt (pennies, chocolate coins, beans or any other small objects)
- Your Dreidel
To play each player puts one piece of 'gelt' in the centre or in the 'pot'. Each player take turns to spin the Dreidel.
Then the player does what the letter on the Dreidel indicates (see the chart at the bottom).
If the “pot” gets empty each player adds one piece of gelt to the pot. If a player runs out of gelt, they lose. The winner is the player that ends up with all the gelt.
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- Tags: celebrations, early years, empathy, fine motor skills, Hanukkah, learn through play, mess free, play, play together, preschooler, toddler, traditions