• Devora Piha

A Trio of Chanuka Party Activities

You are more creative than you know! If you are Jewish, creativity is part of your soul (neshama). This is a great time to use it. It is also a time to review Jewish history and put it together with a Chanuka party everyone will remember.


Keep children occupied and excited

The Chanuka party is an opportunity to combine a series of creative projects and activities for the children and grandchildren to keep them occupied and excited. Involve the children with the preparations with adult supervision.


1. Maccabee puppet show

On the top of the list is the Chanuka theatre and puppet show with a historical script, amusing vocals and sound effects. Before you write the script, research the story of Chanuka. Explain in the introduction for anyone who may not know the history, why we light candles and are reminded of the Nes (Miracle) of the oil light for 8 days.


Materials

(Note: break up the info into lists. Lists and bullet pointsare easier for the eye to scan and absorb info online.)

The puppet play is acted out with cardboard puppets of the Maccabees.


Characters

Matisyahu

His five sons:

Yochanan

Yonatan

Elazar

Yehuda

Shimon

Syrian-Greek general Nikanor

Greek soldiers on elephants with swords and shields


Building the puppet theater

Use a large grocery store packing box.

Cut out an opening for the stage and one of the sides of the box.

Prepare 3 or 4 drawings of removable background scenes that are put in and out on the side of the box as you change scenes.


Making the puppets

Draw the puppets on white cardboard.

Attach craft sticks at the bottom.


Before the show

Add music and humorous sound effects to the script.

Set up the theatre and put around chairs for all to see.


Showtime!

Turn off the lights and focus a flashlight on the “stage”.

Turn on the Chanuka music and start the show!


2. Pin the flame on the menorah


Game materials

Tape on a wall or window a large drawing of a menorah drawn with a dark thick marker.

Draw each candle or oil holder (except the shamash) on a straight line and the same size so each can be seen equally.

The shamash can be higher.

On separate small pieces of paper draw individual flames.

Attach double sided tape on the back.


Playing the game

Blind-fold the child.

Spin him/her around and point him in the direction of the menorah.

He puts his flame where he thinks the shamash or a flame should be.

Give out prizes to everyone who participates.


3. Decorating dreidels


Materials

Dreidels

Flat Balsa wood

3-dimensional Styrofoam

Thick brightly colored markers

Glitter paint (optional, since this needs drying time)

Gold or silver plastic pins with knobs (for the Styrofoam dreidels)


Enjoy your Chanuka party!

Complete the Chanuka party with lots of fresh donut-like sufgoneot, latkes (potato pancakes) with sour cream and apple sauce, a big salad and a hot winter soup. Enjoy!

Detailed instructions on creativity options and the Chanukah puppet theater and shows can be found in The Joy of Jewish Art for Children: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Mosaica Press.

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