KidsSoup KidsSoup Membership ABC Twiggles

Hanukkah Celebration and Activities

Activities and Crafts

Hanukkah Activities
Hanukkah activities


Children will listen to a story.
Children will learn about Hanukkah.



To introduce children to the meaning of Hanukkah, read The Festival of Lights: The Story of Hanukkah by Maida Silverman and Carolyn Ewing or another book about Hanukkah. Tell children the following story about how Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah), the Jewish Festival of Lights, first began.

A long time ago, over 2000 years, people called Jews who were from a country called Judea fought against the people of a country called Syria. The Jews were angry because Antiochus, a Greek who ruled Syria, said that all the Jewish people had to worship Greek gods instead of the one God they worshipped. The Jews refused to this. So, to punish the Jews, Syrian soldiers wrecked the Jews’ Temple, a special place to worship God in Jerusalem. The soldiers also stole the sacred lamp, called the Menorah, and the lamp’s flame went out. This had never happened before. They poured the special oil used to keep the flame alive all over the floor.
After three years of fighting, the Jews beat the Syrians. To celebrate their victory, the Jews took back their temple. They lit an oil lamp, but they could only find enough oil to keep it burning for one night. They needed more oil so that the lamp could keep burning. But a miracle happened. The oil lamp stayed lit for eight days, which was the time it took to make new oil for the lamp. This was the Miracle of the Oil. Since then, Jews remember that time with an eight-day celebration called the Festival of Light by placing eight candles in a Menorah (a special candlestick) and lighting one candle for each evening of the celebration. During Hanukkah, people also exchange gifts and give to the poor and needy.

Hanukkah celebration and traditions:


The Menorah
Is a nine-branched candelabrum. The ninth branch is for a so-called "helper" candle, called the Shamash. Each of the eight candles represent one of the eight nights of Chanukah, which in turn represent the miracle of Chanukah. Each night one candle is lit, until on the eighth night of Hanukkah all eight candles, plus the shamash, are lit.

Lighting the Chanukah Menorah


Cardboard Tube Menorah
Cover eight toilet paper tubes and one paper towel tube with holiday wrapping paper. Decorate with glitter if desired. Glue tubes together, side by side, with the taller one in the middle. Cut nine six-inch squares of yellow tissue paper. To “light” the menorah, bunch up each piece of tissue paper and place one in the top of each cardboard tube.

Bunch up one piece of tissue paper and place in the taller candlestick. On each day of Hanukkah, let children pretend to light a candle by holding the middle candlestick to it and adding another bunched up piece of tissue paper.


The Dreidel
A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The dreidel is used to play a fun game of chance played during Hanukkah. The letters on the dreidel, Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, stand for the Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which means A Great Miracle Happened There.

Make a Chanukah Dreidel

Poems and Songs

The Dreidel
Author Unknown

Nun, gimel, heh, and shin,
See the wooden dreidel spin.
Nes gadol hayah shin,
If I’m lucky I will win!

I play with my new dreidel
upon the shiny floor.
I ask some friends to play with me—
we must have two or more.

I give the players pennies—
the same amount to each.
We sit down in a circle,
the pennies within reach.
Each player puts a penny
in the proper spot.
The middle of the circle
is what we call the pot.

Next, I take the dreidel
and spin it round and round.
Which letter does it land on?
What fortune have I found?

I read the letter facing up—
it tells me how to play.
The letters are in Hebrew,
and here is what they say.

“Nun” means I do nothing—
I neither give nor take.
“Heh” means I take half the pot—
what a lucky break!

“Gimel” means I take it all.
It looks as if I’ll win!
But I must put a penny back
when it lands on “shin.”

We go around the circle—
it’s lots and lots of fun,
till one has all the pennies.
Then the game is done!

Nun, gimel, heh, and shin,
See the wooden dreidel spin.
Nes gadol hayah sham,
If I’m lucky I will win!


Click here to print this page

Additional Resources

For our Newsletter Subscribers:

Hanukkah coloring page

Coloring Page

Hanukkah Felt story

5 Latkes
Felt Story Pictures












KidsSoup Membership


picture of Lilly jumping rope

12 Days of Christmas

Sing this popular Christmas song with your children with the help of felt story pictures. Or make up new verses to the “12 Days of Christmas” song.

Twiggle Magazine Newsletter Sign Up




Here’s a Little Candle
(Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)

Here’s a little candle dressed in white,
Wearing a hat of yellow light.
When the night is dark, then you will see
Just how bright this light can be.
Here’s a little candle straight and tall,
Shining its light upon us all.
When the night is dark, then you will see
Just how bright this light can be.
Here’s a little candle burning bright.
Keeping us safe all through the night.
When the night is dark, then you will see
Just how bright this light can be!



Shamash Pretzel

Explain to children that the tallest candle, which is located in the middle of the menorah, is used to light the other candles each night. Have children dip a pretzel in melted white chocolate to represent the shamash candle. Dip the tip in yellow sprinkles to represent the flame. Allow to harden.


Highlights Catalog