To teach my little ones about Hanukkah, I gathered up the simplest and most fun Hanukkah activities for preschoolers that touch on all the most important themes and items in Hanukkah: the menorah, dreidels, and the Star of David to represent the Macabees.
Growing up, I always felt left out of Christmas and it seemed for my family, Hanukkah was kind of an afterthought. Sometimes we would light the candles; sometimes we didn't. I wanted in on the festivities!
I'm hoping to build my children's excitement for the Festival of Lights while they're still young, so we can build family traditions for years to come. So to pump them up, we will be doing tons of Hanukkah preschool and pre-k activities. Join us!
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Nervous about your child lighting the candles on Hanukkah? With this simple toilet paper roll craft, kids can add and remove lights without any fire.
This was a great matching, fine motor planning activity for my little one, and a math opportunity with my older preschooler. For example, one can explore symmetry with the menorah with the "Shamash" candle being in the middle.
The twist? Before placing in the "lights," stick in a item like a sticker, mini dino, lollipop, or tattoo. Each night have your child reveal a little toy inside a candle as a treat!
Place contact paper sticky side out on the wall or on the floor. Then, tape it in place with blue painters tape. (Want a tutorial on how to do that? See my video here.)
Then cut and shape a dreidel onto the paper.
Choose one of the Hebrew letters: נ (nun), ג (gimmel), ה (hey), ש (shin) to put on your dreidel stained glass craft! We read Spin the Dreidel by Alexandra Cooper to refresh on what each letter meant in the game.
Important: If you plan to display your dreidels on a wall, you'll need to make your Hebrew letter reversed for decorating. If you plan to display it on the window, make the letter you choose, in its normal orientation so it can be seen properly on the other side of the window.
The kids chose hei (ה) because it means you get to take half the tokens in the pot and gimmel (ג) because it means you get to take all the tokens in the pot!
Kids can use tissue paper, glitter, or ripped paper scraps to place onto the dreidel shape.
The Star of David is generally recognized as a symbol of Judaism and is most often recognized from the Israeli flag.
Though it is not a Hanukkah symbol, learning about Hanukkah with my preschoolers is also a good time to learn about other culturally relevant symbols.
Using popsicle sticks, playdoh, and other decorative items, we make a Star of David for this hands-on shapes activity.
The kids each made two popsicle triangles and then tried to create the star shape by placing them one on top of another.
After creating our Stars of David we made our own Israeli flags by using white paper, two blue strips, and placing our Star of David right in the middle!
Got a dreidel and some washable paint? My favorite is Crayola washable, because they're actually washable like they say and also affordable!
Make sure to keep the paint in a shoebox so you don't get paint splattered all over the floor.
Spin that dreidel and create magical splatter art with your little one!
To play you'll need Hanukkah gelt, dreidels, and 2 or more players.
The letters on the dreidel stand for a Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there.) In Israel, instead of using a Shin for Sham (there), the dreidels have a Pey(פ) for Po (here).
With one simple Hanukkah activity, preschoolers learn about taking turns, counting, and even the beginning of dividing as we learn to take "half" when landing on Hey.
Will you be playing dreidel this year?
I just found this perfect free printable Hanukkah activity for my preschoolers to do this year! It's quick and simple and can be used in conjunction with talking about all the Hanukkah symbols: dreidel, menorah, Torah, Rabbi, Hamsa, and Israeli Flag. Thanks to Paper Trail Designs!