Tag Archives: chanukah

Kid-decorated dreidels DIY

My Earnest Sunday School Teacher hat is on:

Kindergarten dreidels

Kindergarten dreidels

Dreidels are great teaching tools. To paint and decorate a dreidel means a kid learns the 4 Hebrew letters and how to form them, and the Hebrew acronym that points to the reason for the season: Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there.)  And, there’s the dreidel game, of course, which Continue reading

Printable Dreidel rules, letter names and meanings

print this JPEC or click on the pdf link below

print this JPEG or click on the pdf link below

Need a quick visual to remind players of dreidel game rules?  Or to show kids the shapes of nun, gimmel, hey and shin for dreidel crafts?  Or what the letters on a dreidel stand for? Click this link to print the pdf: Dreidel Letter Cheat Sheet Continue reading

Dollar Store Menurkey hack (and Talmudic quandary)

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Some folks are still looking for a cheap turkey to repurpose as a Hanukkah menorah, so here’s one for a buck.  If your once-in-a-lifetime Hanukkah/Thanksgiving needs will be satisfied with a cheap plastic Menurkey, get thee to a Dollar Tree before all the $1 solar-powered turkeys are gone.  Then, pimp that bird with a jumbo craft stick and super-glued birthday candleholders. I added glow-in-the-dark bday candles and Continue reading

Edible Menorah in a Window

The ol’ Pretzel Stick Menorah is a quick and easy activity for a class or party. It’s educational, it’s fun, and you can eat it.

Lighting the menorah in a window

Lighting the menorah in a window

I did this last year with K through 3rd grade, and everyone loved it, which is a boast I wish I could make about all my lesson plans.  First, we turned off the lights and lit a real oil menorah, with blessings.  This put everyone in a receptive mood and gave a heads-up that there are such things as menorah blessings.  It also provided a real, working model of an object we were about to recreate with food, WHICH IS Continue reading

Instant goodie bags for Hanukkah Classroom visits

re-used gelt bags

re-used gelt bags

Here’s a quick, cheap way to make teeny goody bags for your Hanukkah classroom visit.  IF you do gelt.
These are very, very simple.  I could go all Target Dollar Spot and use fancy bags and woven ribbon and include more gelt and hand-lettered name tags, but this particular goody baglet is meant to be a token gift for a minor holiday: a good-will gesture from the token Jews in the room. Continue reading

Hanukkah Parent classroom visits

Super cheap, in-your-face oil menorah

tin oil menorah with glass or plastic cups

Here’s a link to my buffet of options for Hanukkah Parent School Visits: what to bring, what to read, what might happen.  Please add your experiences below or on that page. We can learn from each other.

And here’s what I’ve chosen from the buffet for my own classroom visit this time:

After last year’s fizzle of a oil menorah demo (where none of the homemade wicks worked), Continue reading

Dreidel Arenas: easy, instant

giant Hot Wheels track dreidel arena

If you get crabby when dreidels fall off the table or roll under the sofa, a dreidel arena is key to a happy Hanukkah.  An arena corrals the dreidels and (says the Montessori in me) defines the play space.  And, if your dreidel play includes battles, an arena is a must: the sides keep dreidels in action longer and coax them back toward each other.

A purposely-marketed dreidel arena is hard to find—with one notable exception below—but you can convert something from junk at home.  For example, a laminate-topped breakfast tray with legs is ideal: mine has seen about 18 years of dreidel action at home and at Hanukkah Parent school visits.  My all-time favorite is a clean train table: it’s big enough for a crowd and it stands Continue reading

LEGO dreidel kit: giveaway

LEGO dreidel kit giveaway

Would you like to win a LEGO dreidel kit?  Ideally, you’ve all got enough parts at home to make a whole battalion of unique, custom dreidel models, but in case you don’t, take some of mine.  The more LEGO dreidels in the world, the better. Continue reading

DIY LEGO dreidel kits

DIY LEGO dreidels in progress

I am in search of the perfect LEGO dreidel. In this case, perfection means cheap, easy and fun. The model will need to attract Chanukah carnival go-ers between the ages of four and eleven, each of whom will be offered a chance to make and take said ideal dreidel.  Thus, above all, it’s going to have to spin.  Really spin.

My search might benefit you, too: you, the grownup with a LEGO lover at home or in the classroom. The act of building a LEGO dreidel is chock full o’ educational benefits.  So many elements to consider: you’ve got to have four balanced sides; a low center of gravity; a minimum of friction; a smooth, wide contact point and a design that doesn’t fling itself to bits when it bashes into another dreidel. Figuring all this out with your kid is more than half the fun. Continue reading

Swim Noodle Dreidel

Swim Noodle Dreidel, spins

spinning Swim Noodle Dreidel

I couldn’t resist.  What better accompaniment to a Swim Noodle Menorah than a Swim Noodle Dreidel?  Besides, I had noodle waste.

When one trims a swim noodle to the appropriate Menorah candle length, one generates noodle waste.

How I made it:
As a complete afterthought, believe me. It ain’t pretty, but it SPINS. Continue reading

Hanukkah Connect-4: the Gelt Edition

Connect 4: Gelt edition

Games and crafts should say, “touch me.”   Whether in a whisper or a scream, they should entice.  And what screams “touch me” like chocolate?

Here’s a variation on a classic board game perfect for Hanukkah parties, carnivals or just fun at home:

Connect 4 with real chocolate gelt.

Simple, yes?  You’d think.  But size matters.  We all know gelt brands vary in palatability, but they also vary in diameter and width. And successive generations of Connect Four frames vary in inner dimensions.  The old yellow and blue frames—some with tab and slot assembly, some with pin and hole assembly—are not created equal, and the snazzy new dark blue versions are totally different.  (Any of these will do, but not the new Launchers incarnation or the travel size game.)

Continue reading

Review: Jewish Holidays in a Box (Hanukkah Kit)

photo courtesy of JewishHolidaysinaBox.com

Jewish Holidays in a Box is a nifty concept: one kit per holiday with how-tos, whys and whats tucked neatly inside.

This post is a review of the newly-released Hanukkah Kit, which is the first in a series of kits from Jewish Holidays in a Box. The kit is aimed at children ages 4-10, Continue reading

Dreidel Cookies

Dreidel cookies, chocolate letters

Dreidel cookies, chocolate letters

If I’d known royal icing was so easy, I’d have made it long before now. Two ingredients (plus color) make a gloppy paste easily scooped and squirted onto the baked good of choice, and later, after it dries, it becomes a beautifully smooth concrete.  The perfect medium with which to anchor these little Hebrew letters made from a candy mold.  The mold is a sheet of the entire aleph-bet, which means I have to make each nun, gimmel, hey and shin one at a time.  Time is the operative word. Continue reading