by Julie Snyder
Chanukah is about an unlikely victory, and how resources can last longer than expected. Although the miracle happened 2000 years ago, families today still celebrate the Festival of Lights.
You'll be lighting the Menorah and saying the blessings. You may sing songs like "Maoz Zur," "Mi Y'mallel" and "I have a Little Dreidle." You might have a competitive game of dreidel.
What else can you do as a family? Let one of these Chanukah activities light a flame for you.
• Empty toilet paper tube
• Construction paper
• Tissue paper in yellow and orange
• Tape or glue
• Scissors, ruler and pencil
Treats like candy, little toys or crayons
Lay the toilet paper tube on your construction paper. Use the ruler to draw a line the width of the roll and cut along the line.
Tape one end of the construction paper to the roll. Turn it carefully until you run out of construction paper. Tape or glue the paper together. Allow the glue to dry.
Layer the two colors of tissue at an angle. Both colors will show up nicely in your finished project. With the spoon, gently push the tissue into the tube. Add the treats. Now tie off the end. Form the extra tissue to look like a candle flame.
Spinning tops are a traditional Chanukah toy. This easy activity engages the kids as they make their own brigade of spinning tops.
• Plastic bottle caps from regular soda, juice or vinegar bottles
• Toothpicks or wooden skewers
• A thick needle or sharp item
• Colorful electrical tape, optional
• Quick drying glue, optional
Make or have an adult make a hole exactly in the middle of the bottle cap. An off center hole results in an out-of-balanced top.
Insert tooth pick or skewer through hole. Enlarge it if necessary Trim second point off the toothpick or shorten the skewer. You can secure the toothpick with a few dabs of glue and decorate with small pieces of electric tape. Get spinning and have fun!
You'll need a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, and some gelt. Usually the gelt refers to chocolate coins wrapped in either gold or silver foil but you can play with pennies.
At the beginning of your turn, put two coins in the pot. Give the driedel a spin and do what it says:
ן -- Nun means the player does nothing
ג -- Gimel means to take everything in the pot
ה -- Hay means to take half
ש -- Shin means to add a penny
In the Chanukah story, the oil miraculously burned for eight days when it should have lasted just one. It only makes sense that fried foods are traditional fare. Head to the kitchen and whips up a batch of latkes or sufganiyot or both.
No matter how old your child, they can join in the preparations. Toddlers can add pre-measured ingredients to a bowl. Preschoolers can stir and form the latkes or knead sufganiyot dough. Older children can help a lot more. Maybe they can even wash some dishes.
What are your family's favorite Chanukah activities? Do you play music, volunteer in the community, take pictures, or make crafts to document the year's celebration? May you have a joyous and meaningful Chanukah!
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.