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Chanukah: Engaging Your Children

Renee Eder on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights that lasts eight fun-filled nights, is next week! Besides the presents and chocolate gelt, what are some ways to get children excited about the holiday?

For young children especially, crafts, cooking, and decorating are always fun ways to engage them. Sometimes, however, with the hustle and bustle of daily life, there isn't a lot of time. Below are some quick and easy ideas to do with your children to emphasize how much fun Chanukah can be!

  • Felt Dreidel Banner for Railing and Mantle: Outline the shape of a dreidel on blue felt with a pen and cut it out. Use this shape as a template for other dreidels, cutting eight in all. Snip circles, squares and triangles from the yellow and white felt and then glue these shapes to the blue dreidels. Cut an eight-foot piece of string, glue the dreidels to it and then allow them to dry. Use the tape to hang the banner.
  • Chanukah Collage Cards: Why not make your own chanukah cards this year? Cut strips from magazine pages into shapes of skinny rectangles and flames. Glue the shapes into a menorah design on the face of the card and voila! You have cool DIY invitations or thank-you notes!

  • Acorn Dreidels: Pull off a small chunk of the clay and shape it to an elongated ball. Stuff the clay into the acorn shell, and mold it to a point at the top. Stick a lollipop stick into the center of the clay. That's it! Now it's time to give it a spin.

  • Grilled Cheese Latkes: On Hanukkah, we eat foods fried in oil to symbolize the oil that lasted eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Greeks. Grilled cheese latkes are a great way to combine traditional latkes with an American favorite, grilled cheese. Check out this easy recipe that is fun to make with/for children on My Jewish Learning.

For some other ways to celebrate Chanukah with children, you've come to the right place. The following are JCCNV and community Chanukah happenings this month. We hope to see you there!

  • Hands on Chanukah. Sunday, December 14, 2014, noon-3pm. Get ready for Chanukah with a day of music, arts and crafts, face painting, story time and more! Everyone is welcome.

  • Gainesville Community Menorah Lighting. Tuesday, December 16, 6pm. Location: Gainesville Atlas Walk at Virginia Gateway. Music, dancing, dreidels, latkes and oil pressing demonstration.
  • Growing Jewish Families: Menorahs, Dreidels and Miracles! Wednesday, December 17, 4pm–5pm. Have some Chanukah fun — enjoy PJ Library® stories, get crafty, and spin a dreidel (spinning top) or two!
  • Light Up The Night: Community Menorah Lighting at Mosaic. Sunday, December 21, 4:30pm-6:30pm. It’s Chanukah and we’re bringing the celebration to you! Join the community as we celebrate the holiday together by lighting candles, singing songs, enjoying entertainment, eating sufganiyot(donuts)and gelt (chocolates) and spinning the dreidel (top)!

For more details visit the Events Calendar on our Website.



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