Hanukkah Activities to Do with Kids

Hanukkah, also commonly referred to as Chanukkah, is the time to celebrate with family and friends, to eat delicious Hanukkah treats, to exchange gifts, and to enjoy the historical spirit of the season. Hanukkah is marked by a few characteristic symbols such as hannukiah or menorah, dreidels, and gelts. Here are some great ideas to engage the kids this Hanukkah and to make sure that this festival of lights is one to remember.

Hanukkah activities for kids
"the game of dreidel" by woodleywonderworks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Engaging Hanukkah Games and Activities for Kids

Play Dreidel

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. Arrange for some gelts, golden wrapped candies, to be distributed among the kids before the start of each dreidel game. Instruct every player to put one piece of gelt into the center "pot" of the dreidel. They take turns spinning the dreidel that has Hebrew words inscribed on them. If the dice rolls and falls on:

  • Nun (meaning nothing in Yiddish), the spinner gets nothing!
  • Gimmel (meaning everything in Yiddish), the spinner gets everything in the pot!
  • Haib (meaning half in Yiddish), the spinner gets half of the chocolates.
  • Shin (meaning “put in” in Yiddish), the spinner puts in a few more gelts from his or her personal gelt collection.
  • The first player to run out of gelts loses the game!

    Decorate Your Home

    Hanukkah is a colorful celebration, so do up your home with some traditional symbols of Hanukkah. Ask kids to decorate the dining table and the fireplace with randomly placed ornaments. Get construction papers in blue and white – the colors of Hanukkah – and ask kids to cut out seasonal symbols like the Star of David, Menorah, and a Hanukkah banner to welcome guests.

    Read Hanukkah Books Together

    Dedicate one night of Hanukkah to having a ‘Hanukkah Book Reading Night’. Invite your kids’ friends for a stay-over and read books on Hanukkah such as 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins', 'Hanukkah Lights', 'The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes', 'The Miracle Jar – A Hanukkah Story', and similar books for children. Prepare Hanukkah special treats such as plum spiced beef briskets, latkes, honey-roasted apple sauce, and broccoli and cheddar kugel for the kids before the book reading starts!

    Make a Hanukkah Calendar

    Hanukkah has many traditions attached to it. Making a calendar to list down the traditions is a good way to spend quality time with the kids. Choose a tradition from the calendar and let that be the Hanukkah family activity for the night!

    Indulge in some great Hanukkah activities with your family and make the happy festival bright and cheerful!

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