Looking for fun ways to celebrate the Festival of Lights with your kids? Have a blast celebrating the holiday with all these creative Hanukkah activities and crafts that will keep toddlers and preschoolers happily entertained!
A blast of Hanukkah activities for kids.
Kids loved movement, play and running around, building and destroying stuff and getting messy. Sometimes, it’s just difficult to get them concentrated doing a specific activity or just stay quiet for a few minutes while parents organize their daily duties or rest a bit.
We know all that struggling.
That’s why we organize and bring for parents like you these easy Hanukkah preschool activities.
Basically, kids will get concentrated and parents can get into the activities too. Additionally, these activities for Hanukkah creates the perfect opportunity to introduce the learn through fun” to them, once each activity is related to a specific Hanukkah tradition.
And the best part is that they can do the things they love too: Build something and play with it or just get messy.
From games and songs to recipes and handmade Hanukkah decor, we cover it all! Get ready to have some Hanukkah fun with this list of Hanukkah crafts and activities for kids:
1. Hanukkah Games
I Spy 8 Hanukkah Symbols Sensory Bin
Eight is a meaningful number to the holiday of Hanukkah.
The holiday is celebrated for 8 nights to commemorate the miracle of a tiny amount of ritual oil for lighting the Temple menorah lasting for 8 days.
Engage your children in a fun game of I Spy at the sensory table, having them practise their counting skills as they search for 8 of each Hanukkah-themed item hidden under sand and glitter.
Some ideas for objects and symbols to include in this Hanukkah activities for kids are dreidels, candles, jugs of oil, latkes, donuts, and coins for gelt.
You can get a little more ambitious and explain to them the significance of each object.
2. Cooking with kids for Hanukkah: Recipes
Another great Hanukkah activity to do with your tots is cooking.
Therefore, we present here two super simple and quick recipes related to Hanukkah so you can bring them all together within the holiday spirit. And with taste!
2.1 Potato Laktes
These Classic Potato Latkes are Jewish style potato pancakes.
They are absolutely delicious. Even kids can’t resist a crispy, salty latke with a fluffy potato center. And they really can’t wait any longer to get a bite.
Although you will need to be a little careful when supervising the activity, this is a must-have Hanukkah activity for kids.
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (3 to 4 potatoes)
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 large egg
2 tablespoons matzo meal or unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz, or a combination of both
Applesauce and sour cream, for serving
- Heat the oven and fit one baking sheet with paper towels and another with a cooling rack. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200°F. Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Fit a wire cooling rack into another baking sheet. Set both aside.
- Prepare the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes well, but do not peel. Cut each potato in half crosswise.
- Grate potatoes and onion with a food processor. Grate the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor.
- Make a cheesecloth tourniquet and squeeze liquid from potato and onion. Transfer the grated potato and onion onto a large triple layer of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and tie around the handle of a wooden spoon. Dangle the bundle over a large bowl, then twist and squeeze the potatoes and onion as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out of the potatoes and onion shreds.
- Pour off the liquid, but keep the potato starch. Give the liquid a few minutes to allow the potato starch to settle and then pour off and discard the liquid but leave the potato starch.
- Toss the latke ingredients together with your fingers. Add the potatoes, onion, eggs, matzo meal or breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper to the bowl of starch. Mix with your fingers, making sure that the potato starch breaks up and is evenly distributed with the rest of the ingredients. Set batter aside for 10 minutes.
- Heat the oil. Place the oil or schmaltz (or a combination of the two) in a large skillet so that when melted there is a depth of 1/4 inch (for a 10-inch skillet you’ll need 1 cup of melted oil/schmaltz). Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.
- Form latkes one at a time. Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a fish or flat spatula. Flatten with your fingers to a 4-inch patty.
- Fry the latkes until golden on both sides. Slide the latke into the hot oil, using a fork to nudge the latke into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full but the latkes aren’t crowded. Cook until deeply golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.
- Drain the latkes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain for 2 minutes.
- Serve with applesauce and sour cream or keep warm in the oven. Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream, or transfer the latkes to the wire cooling rack set in the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you continue cooking the rest of the latkes.
Adapted recipe from The Kitchn.
2.2 Colorful Chanukah “Paint-Splatter” Cookies
These cookies are fun to make for a Hanukkah party or to do as an activity at said party.
That’s why this could be a perfect Hanukkah activity for preschoolers or older kids.
You can use a graffiti-esque look or, if you’re artsy and nifty, with a paintbrush you can paint actual images/designs using this same technique.
Keep in mind, the “paint-splatter” technique is quite messy, so you’ll want to set up your work area accordingly.
We recommend you wait for each color to dry before adding the next. Or stick with colors that won’t go brown if they run.
For instance: Blues, greens, and yellows together. Reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges together. Pinks and purples. Purples and blues.
Bring all together for this colorful Hanukkah activity for kids, and check below what you need:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
- Mix the sugar and butter/margarine.
- Add the egg and vanilla, and mix again.
- Add the salt, baking powder, and 2½ cups of flour.
- Mix until it starts to come together as a ball of dough.
- Add the last ½ cup of flour slowly, a little at a time, until the dough is not sticky. Stop when you get the right consistency. You might not need all the flour, or you might need a little more.
- Roll the dough and cut your shapes. Gently transfer the cut-outs to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
- Bake at 350° for 8 minutes.
- Wait for the cookies to cool before removing them from the pan.
1 lb. confectioners sugar (approximately 3 cups)
5 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. lemon extract
optional: white food coloring
NOTE: You’ll need a mixer for the icing. Handheld or standing will both work. Do not try to make it by hand; you will end up with lumps which will lead to a lot of frustration when you’re ready to decorate.
- Put the confectioner’s sugar, water, corn syrup, and lemon extract in a bowl.
- Mix on a low speed for a couple of minutes, then turn it up to medium-high for another minute or two.
- When the icing is smooth with no lumps, add in a few drops of white food coloring and mix until incorporated.
- Only begin decorating when the cookies are fully cooled.
- Ice the cookies and set them aside to dry for 12-24 hours.
- Use a palette or ice cube tray for the paint.
- Place 1-2 drops of gel food coloring into each section.
- Add a couple of drops of water or clear vanilla extract.
- Now use the food coloring as if it actually painted. For the paint-splatter look, dip your paintbrush in the food coloring and flick it at the cookies. For a lighter splatter, flick it in the air over the cookies.
- To paint designs or pictures on the cookies, you’ll want smaller paintbrushes that give you more control. Rinse brushes between colors.
- Let the food coloring dry for a few minutes, and they are ready to eat.
Recipe adapted from Chabad
3. Singing Hanukkah with kids
The most important of all Hanukkah traditions is the lighting of the menorah each evening.
After lighting the menorah, it’s customary to sing “Maoz Tzur” (Rock of Ages), the timeless song of the Maccabees’ fight for freedom.
Nevertheless, there are so many songs you can teach to and sing with your little ones so they can better understand the traditions.
Below you can find 6 of the most popular Hanukkah songs that your kids will love to sing and watch.
Usually, kids until 4 years old loved songs and dance. It helps for the development of their cognitive skill and creativity. Therefore, this singing Hanukkah activity for toddlers really engaging for them.
Chanuka, Oh Chanukah!
Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah Song for Kids
Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
4. Hanukkah DIY for Kids
Kids love crafts, especially the little ones.
In the same vein, parents love it too even when they’re not handly at crafting. So, that’s why we collected these 3 amazing preschool crafts for Hanukkah that will help you spend a great family time together.
The plus is that you can teach them all about the Holiday while you doing it.
In short, is another great, fun and educational Hanukkah activity for kids. Let’s get fun and learn.
4.1 Hanukkah craft for kids: Masking Tape Menorah
This kids activity for Hanukkah is all about fine motor skills and learning traditions.
Children really get concentrated when they are playing with stickable materials. Also, they get a lot of self-confidence when they realize what they achieve when they see the final project comes to life.
We get really inspired by this super simple and easy Hanukkah craft for kids. After all, less is more.
What you’ll need for making the menorah craft
Paper (you can use 8 1/2 by 11, but longer paper might be easier to fit all the candles in)
Yellow stamp pad or washable paint (for the flames)
Crayons or stickers (optional: to decorate the candles and the menorah)
Depending on how familiar the kids are with the tradition, especially if you do not celebrate Hanukkah, we recommend you first show your kids a few menorahs.
Take the opportunity to talk with them about the longer part where the candles are, how there needs to be space for a candle for each night of Hanukkah, and the shamash, which is used to light the candles.
This is perfect to prepare them for the activity.
Now, you get your hands on it:
- Cut or tear a long strip of tape as the menorah base, and put that down horizontally across the paper.
- Then cut or tear nine smaller pieces (the candles) to site vertically on top of the base.
- Then decorate the candles and the base.
- Talk about how the candles are placed into the menorah from right to left. But you light them from left to right (you light the current day’s candle first).
- Then “light” the candles with your fingers.
Adapted from Simple Play Ideas
4.2 Hanukkah craft for kids: Make a Hanukkah Menorah
A Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Eight of the nine branches hold lights (candles or oil lamps) that symbolize the eight nights of the holiday.
On each night, one more light is lit, until, on the final night, all eight branches are ignited. The ninth branch holds a candle, called the shamash (“helper” or “servant”), which is used to light the other eight.
So, how exciting could be to build your own family Hanukkah Menorah to decorate your living room or your windows?
Three benefits about this fantastic Kids Hanukkah craft:
- You will have a Menorah with lots of significance, something that you can’t get from a purchased one;
- This is a memorable activity to strengthen family-bonds
- Help kids development on fine motor skills, memory and cognitive skills.
Go and gather these materials you will need:
Egg carton box
Carton or wood table base
Acrylic or watercolors
Tea lights (min. 9)
- Cut the egg carton into 12 individual cups.
- Paint the inside and outside of 10 of the cups as well as a base on which you will glue them (you can use a strip from a cardboard box, for example).
- Once your paint has dried, glue the cups onto your base, 4 cups on the left, 4 cups on the right, and 1 cup raised above all others in the middle. To raise the middle candle (the shamash) use the tenth cup turned upside down (or any other object).
- Fill each cup with a flameless tea candle.
- Place your menorah in your window.
- On the first night of Hanukkah, light (or turn on) the Shamash (middle candle), and then the leftmost candle. NOTE: When lighting a real menorah, you light the rightmost candle, but because your electric menorah will be viewed from the outside, you will have to reverse this so the rightmost candle is from the viewpoint of passersby. Therefore, you will be lighting the leftmost candle.
- Continue this each night, adding one more candle each time, lighting the Shamash, then the last candle added (the newest one) first.
Once this is truly recycled art, therefore, is another teaching activity to your little ones. Plus, it probably will turn out to be more special than any other menorah you could purchase.
Adapted from Kids Activities Blog.
4.3 Easy kids Hanukkah Crafts: Popsicle Stick Star of David
By playing this super fun and educational Hanukkah activity for kids with your little ones you will not just create a good moment.
You will strengthen the relationship between parent to child and child to parent. In addition, you will be helping your children develop important skills like counting, learning shapes, and fine motor skills.
Therefore, even for those who do not celebrate Hanukkah, this activity is worth it for family bonding and child development, so give it a try!
- Gather your materials. You will need 6 popsicle sticks per star, glue, blue paint, wax paper, and a paintbrush.
- You can make popsicle stick triangles previously if you have kids until 3 years. Older kids can do this by themselves. Actually, we recommend it. Add glue to both ends of one stick, the right end of the bottom one and using a third make a triangle. Repeat and let dry.
- Pour a few colors of blue paint into a container.
- Paint the triangles. We recommend helping kids until 3. If you have older ones, just let them get dirty! Usually, kids love painting activities, especially when they are doing it for such a relevant occasion. This is great practice for their fine motor skills.
- Let dry.
- Glue one triangle on top of the other.
And there you have it: a beautiful Star of David.
Adapted from: No Time for Flash Cards.
4.4 Hanukkah Craft for kids: Light Table Sensory Play
This one can get messy, but it’s so so fun! You can set this up at a light table or using a tabletop light panel.
In short, is an easy and simple science experiment. The real stuff is that kids always love to do this kind of exercise. That is to say, this Hanukkah activity for kids will create a fantastic good feeling for them.
This is our “last but not the least” Hanukkah activities and crafts for the whole family for you to enjoy.
Here is what you need:
A clear plastic basin to work in. A shallow file box for instance.
Oil (vegetable or canola are fine).
Food coloring or liquid watercolors in your color(s) of choice.
Squeeze bottles (you can recycle condiment bottles for this) or pipettes if you happen to have them.
Any plastic containers, test tubes, or recycled containers you happen to have on hand for filling, pouring, squirting, and exploring.
You may want to cover your space with a drop cloth and provide a smock for your children. Be careful in particular of oil spills on the floor as this can make the area slippery. For this we recommend using an old towel or sheet to cover and protect the area.
It is so exciting to observe colors mixing (or not mixing) as children mix, pour and explore with the colorful water and oil.
The element of light adds a whole new level of excitement while incorporating one of the most important themes of the holiday.
If you’re feeling super ambitious, you might even add in some glitter–hey, you’re getting messy anyway, right?
Adapted from: Fantastic Learn and Fun
Before you go, we wanted to suggest a great children’s Hanukkah book:
“Chanukah Lights Everywhere” by Michael J. Rosen.
It goes through traditions that the family does together each night, but there is an underlying theme of “lights” and also how people of all religions share the holiday season together in the same neighbourhood.
We hope you enjoy doing these amazing Hannukah activities with your kids.
Additionally, if you want to discover some new ones that you can adapt to the Hanukkah spirit, don’t forget to check out our affordable and fun kids Christmas games.
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