Gelt just for playing, Prize Draw for big winner later
The word “quiz” is instant Carnival buzzkill, ain’t it? Hardly the sort of catchy title to entice kids to a Chanukah Carnival station. But really, it is a quiz, my activity, not a game. And if it’s facilitated in the right spirit, it will be fun. And educational. And memorable. I promise.
The goal is not to be the Kosher Police, nor to shame a child who last week crafted an exquisite chanukiyah that, according to this quiz, is not “kosher,” nor to cast aspersions upon Bubbe’s electric menorah Continue reading
Olive Crushing Installation
This year, instead of a Chanukah carnival, I envisioned something new, or rather, something very, very old. Our synagogue Religious School held a Chanukah “Oil Crush” program. In a nutshell, we made olive oil—shemen zayit—just like the Maccabees, with a commissioned replica of a Hellenistic-era olive crushing installation: crushing wheel, pivot pole (power shaft) and crushing basin. Students from Pre-K to 7th grade took turns pushing the pole to rotate the crushing wheel over fresh olives straight from the tree (ordered from California). Continue reading
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
Nine hexnuts glued inside an empty Altoids tin = Travel Menorah. Or, a Curiously Tiny Menorah. You can’t get much easier. Or smaller for that matter. Mine is the classic Altoids size, and it holds—just barely—a row of birthday candles with the Shammash nearby.
I might have to name this a Mint-orah, although my gag reflex is already on the alert. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a Menorah-saur Continue reading
An upcycled menorah for a dorm room, made of an old yardstick and plastic Easter eggs. My cost was zero, because I happened to have eggs left over from the seder plate lesson plan wherein I tried to convince 3rd graders that the brightly-colored, hinged and apparently hilarious objects were, in fact, “beitzim” and not Easter Eggs. The eggs ended up as projectiles, as talking eggs (what with the handy hinge) and as unintended take-home favors. Continue reading
PVC and pine Menorah
A “Man-orah.” 100% hardware, rough and ready. Instant. Cheap. Uncomplicated. Just hacksaw 18.5″ off the end of a pine 1×3, slap some glue on 9 PVC fittings and you’re done. No need to sand the splinters or remove the printed SKU# with acetone. That’s for sissies. LED tealights mean this bad boy is safe for the strictest dorm rooms (“no naked flames”), but Continue reading
The subset of people who love Marmite and who celebrate Hanukkah must be infinitesimal, so I do not expect a ton of hits on this project. Still, it begged to be created: a Marmite Menorah. Mmmmmm. The name sounds delicious, so warm and yeasty, like Marmite on challah toast. My 6 year-old saw this in the window after school today and declared it a “Men-armite.” (Such a genius.) Whatever the name, I love the look of flames licking up from the open jars, as if by some miracle Marmite is transformed into fire. Continue reading
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
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
Menorasaur, Menorahsaur, Menorah-saur, Menorah-saurus? Where is the Library of Congress standardized spelling?
I made this little menorah for a friend.
WHY: “Menorah-saurus” was the punchline during a post-prandial chat at Carnegie Deli last month. Someone—his wits dulled by a surfeit of latkes—remarked that this was the first time “in thousands of years” that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided. And then my husband snarked an even more egregious anachronism, “Yeah, in the age of the dinosaurs, they used to light a menorah-saurus.”
My latke friend’s gaffe was funny because he happens to be one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, but even so, it wasn’t enough to compel me to unpack the power drill and actually make a menorah-saurus. What was enough was the fact that he and his wife recently lost their real menorah—along with the rest of the house—in a Colorado wildfire. Latke Man needed a menorah-saurus pronto, well in time for this year’s untimely Hanukkah.
Speaking of fire, it may not be terribly wise to add lit candles to a plastic toy, so Continue reading
Mmmmmmm, a menorah made of meat, in honor of the Shabbat during Hanukkah.
Actually, I made two:
1) a free-standing meatloaf menorah, and
2) a flat, branched meatloaf menorah (see below). Continue reading
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
Swim Noodle Menorah
The Swim Noodle Menorah. Google all you want, but it won’t be there unless it’s here, because I’ve just invented it. I am ridiculously pleased. It signals my complete recovery from a summer illness that left no room for aggressively thematic, Jewy frivolity.
Foam flames in a foam candle in a foam candleholder
My goal was to make a practice menorah irresistible to young children. Everybody likes swim noodles, don’t they? Swim noodle candles are fun to hold, are big, lightweight, and easy to slide in and out of foam drink-holders. Foam-against-foam friction is far more satisfying than, say, foam against cardboard tubes or metal cans. The craft foam flames are easy for little hands to poke into Continue reading
I should’ve had a V8. Oh wait, I did.
A hanukkah menorah made out of a repurposed V8 distributor cap might not be kosher, I’ll admit. But it sure is cute, and if you live with a car freak, satisfyingly thematic. The function of a distributor cap is all about fire—or at least sparks: it’s part of the ignition system and it helps distribute or control the path of the current.
And Hanukkah is all about fire, right? The miraculous distribution of that wee bit of fuel? Continue reading
LEGO minifig menorah
Couldn’t help myself.
Happy 8th night, y’all.
When Hanukkah and Shabbat coincide, the challah deserves a thematic tweak. The preschooler and I made a big Menorah Challah and a few little Dreidels.
We learned that using food dye to color the “flames” orange is not worth the trouble. After the challah is baked, the food color merges with the golden egg wash. But it was fun to try, and now we have orange palms for the rest of the day. Continue reading
Squirt the Menorah
I live in Nashville, so I’m not so much in touch with the rest of the Hanukkah carnivalling world. Is “Squirt the Menorah” a popular Hanukkah game? The only Google hits seem to be my own.
I should say “Squirt the Hanukkiyah,” but it doesn’t have the right ring to it. Menorah works fine in this case.
Now, usually, when we light Hanukkah candles, they stay lit until they go out by themselves. It’s a no-no to blow them out or extinguish them in any way. Squirt the Menorah involves shooting water pistols at a lit menorah, which sounds pretty treyf to me. But we don’t play it during Hanukkah on the really real candles, the candles upon which we’ve said the commanded blessings and all. No, we play Squirt the Menorah ahead of time, when it’s okay to extinquish the candles with a squirt gun. Odd, but okay. Continue reading
PVC Menorah, ready to disassemble and reassemble
The finished PVC menorah worked beautifully at the Chanukah Carnival. The volunteer who staffed that station devised a great ploy to generate interest: he left it half-assembled and then asked kids if they would like to “help finish it.” They sure did. Boys and girls, I am pleased to report, in seemingly even numbers. Leaving it half-built was a wise move. This left just enough of the structure up to entice would-be builders, yet not enough to look finished (and therefore not as alluring). If he had disassembled the whole thing between turns, the kids would have seen nothing to draw them to the table.
Setup: I put everything on a huge baking tray on a card table. The tray was the working surface, and the raised sides (like a jellyroll pan) kept pieces from Continue reading
my DIY PVC menorah, so far
Addendum: Please see the finished version at PVC Menorah Kit for kids, revised.
For the synagogue’s Chanukah Carnival this year, I want to add a Build a Menorah station for kids. The goal: to assemble a menorah from bits of PVC pipe. They don’t get to keep the menorah and it won’t actually work (as in, it isn’t wired and it isn’t fire-safe for candles). No, the real goal is the process: for kids to figure out how all the pieces can fit together properly, and then to take them apart for the next person to try. They can choose to make a 7-branch Temple Menorah or a 9-branch Hanukkah Menorah (Hanukkiyah).
The new station should give the older kids something else fun to do while the little ones are busy with Dreidel Fishing and Squirt the Menorah and so forth. It will appeal to the types that love to build anything out of anything.
I bought the pipes, fittings and an awesome cutting tool that—Hallelujah—makes my hacksaw obsolete. The tool wasn’t my only surprise, as evidenced by my facebook status: Continue reading