Every year when it is time for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, I like to shop for special craft items for my class to use to make gifts and cards for their families. Over the years, there has been marked improvement in the choices available. With my older daughter, when I wanted to make Hanukkah crafts at home, it was hard to find anything in the stores, and the internet was in it’s infancy. It was the 1990’s and online shopping was not a big thing and the stores has a very limited selection of Judaic items that I could turn into crafts with her. Basically, I was left to create what I could out of household items and teaching templates.
Now the world is a whole lot different than they were in the 1990’s. As a Hebrew School teacher, there are so many Jewish craft kits and Hanukkah craft items that I can buy for my students so they can make a keepsake treasure during the holiday season. I could spend a small fortune if I did reign myself in.! My younger children have also benefited from the plethora of Jewish craft supplies that are now available for them to use. When they were younger, we spent many days together making personal gifts for members of our family.
Here are some of the craft kits that you can use during the holiday season.
Why Make Hanukkah Crafts?
One of my favorite book series is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. In the sixth book of the series, The Long Winter, Laura manages to make Christmas presents for her family from the yarn and fabric scraps they have around the house where they live. At the end of the book, when the Christmas barrel arrives many months after the holiday has passed, Ma gave Laura all of the beautiful crafting materials inside, as she used all of her things up to make presents for the family.
This is how it used to be. Gifts were made by hand and were given from the heart. Even today, when we can easily purchase a gift card or ready made item, crafting serves many purposes.
Crafting saves money! When you sit down to make something, you are not in the stores or online shopping and spending money that you do not have.
Busy hands also are not eating because they are bored. How many times have you caught yourself mindlessly eating in front of the computer screen or television? Doing something with your hands is a great way to save calories!
Sitting down and crafting is quality time with your child. They won’t remember that toy your bought them and then got bored with it, but they will remember the times you spent together doing something they wanted to do. My children still have some of the things we made together when they were younger and we spent time in what I called “Mommy School”.
Making something by hand also teaches children the valuable lesson that love doesn’t come from a big box store…it can come from their own two hands. Many grandparents already have enough stuff in their house and do not need anything more. But a keepsake made from their grandchild is priceless.
Hanukkah is known as “the Festival of Lights”. We light a Hanukkah menorah or chanukiyah each night at sundown for eight consecutive nights. This is to remind Jews of the miracle of the oil, when one night lasted for eight.
Here are some Hanukkah craft kits that children would love to receive.
DIY Hanukkah Menorah
There is nothing more magical than the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah each night. It is a tradition that even the most non-religious family participate in. The glow of the candles and remembering of the miracle of the oil is written in the souls of Jews around the world.
Older children who can handle a screwdriver can easily put this Hanukkah craft together. What a sense of pride and accomplishment your child will feel when s/he lights it on the first night!
Magic Color Scratch Dreidels
Kids have always loved doing scratch art, and this set of 12 scratch off dreidels is an easy craft for kids to do in their own. It comes with the dreidel, the wooden scratch tools and 24 ribbons.
Hanukkah Foam Shape Stickers
This box of Hanukkah foam shapes are so easy for kids to use. They are peel and stick-no messy glue to use! My preschool and first grade classes use these each year for an assortment of cards an other projects that I do with them.
Baking is Crafting, Too!
Unleash your child’s creativity with this cupcake baking kit. Not only is baking a great way to gently introduce math skills, children can make any kind of cupcake flavor they want. They can also create their own icing and make each sweet treat stand or can make any kind of cupcake flavor they want. They can also create their own icing and make each sweet treat stand on its own with different decorations.
For older kids, this ugly Hanukkah sweater cookie kit contains everything you need to create really tacky, but edible, Hanukkah sweaters.
Do You Have a Little Dreidel?
If you want to make the music director of my synagogue meshugana (crazy) during the Hanukkah season, just hum the Dreidel Song near him or her. It drives them nuts because non-Jews think that this is the only Hanukkah song around, and there is nothing further from the truth! Contemporary Jewish music is filled with pop songs and beautiful ballads that tell the tale of this holiday in a meaningful way that kids and adults can appreciate. The Maccabeats, Adam Sandler and a host of others have created beautiful Hanukkah music that is much better than the old dreidel song.
The Dreidel Song is popular because this is one of the iconic symbols of the holiday. The dreidel is a top that has four sides, each with a Hebrew letter, Nun, Gimmel, Hay and Shin. The letters stand for the Hebrew phrase Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which means in English “A great miracle happened there.” In Israel, the Shin is replaced with the letter Po (the Hebrew letter Pay) because the miracle happened in Israel, and Po means “here” in English.
The dreidel game is easy to play. Everyone starts off with a bunch of coins or other small objects to be used to put into the “pot” (middle). Everyone puts on item in the pot and then the person spins the dreidel. Depending on the letter, the person has to do the following:
Nun-You get nothing
Gimmel-You get everything in the pot
Hay-The player gets half the pot. If in the case of an odd number, the player gets the greater amount.
Shin-Every player puts one item in the pot.
When you are out of coins or chips, then you are out of the game. The winner is the person who has all of the coins from everyone!
Hanukkah craft kits for kids is one way to make the holiday more fun.
Photo from Pixabay and altered by the author in Picmonkey.