Conservation is not just for spring time chats on Earth Day--Hanukkah is also a great time to talk about protecting the environment. After all, Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of a tiny bit of oil lasting for days, a perfect segue into helping your family learn more about conservation. Here are twelve fun activities to help you enjoy a sustainable and earth-friendly Hanukkah.
LEARN A NEW SONG
Instead of “The Wheels on the Bus” try the equally-catchy “The Lights in the House," where lights "go on and off." Read Canfei Nesharim's lyrics. Joanie Leeds' Tikkun Olam gives practical everyday tips like, "Turn out the lights, when you leave the room. Turn the water off when your brush your teeth. Throw your trash away in the garbage can. Use a fabric bag, recycle," in a beautiful melody.
THINK ABOUT DISPOSAL
Use meal cleanup as a time to learn about garbage and recycling. Think about creative ways to use leftovers or food scraps. You can start an indoor compost pile, make stock together, or, If your family loves pickles--and really, who doesn't--you can use the brine to make your own batch!
TELL 'ENERGIZING' RIDDLES
How did Benjamin Franklin feel when he discovered electricity? Find out the answer and more riddles from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
LOOK FOR CLUES
Seek out answers with the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life's complete Hanukkah Energy Scavenger Hunt
DOWNLOAD AN APP OR PLAY A GAME
The PJ Library app Make It Grow gets your kids practicing making the earth green by planting parsley and trees. You can also play the game, Hog and Seek. Help "Energy Hogs" learn to fix their bad habits in this online game.
Snuggle up during a snowy, chilly, night and watch something with an environmentally friendly message. Looking for a place to start? Try Shalom Sesame or the Shaboom! episode, Waste Not!.
GET ACTIVE OUTSIDE
There's nothing more Earth-friendly than going outdoors (even in the winter). Research shows a strong correlation between the enjoyment of outdoor activities and a desire to preserve the natural world.
'TAKE TIME' FOR CONSERVATION
Get a timer and set a contest to reduce resources. See who can guess how much time it takes to brush teeth (and then think about the water that can be wasted if it runs during that time). Time how long the refrigerator door remains open when someone hunts for a snack. Time how long the doors stay open when people travel in and out of the house.
GIVE EARTH-FRIENDLY GIFTS
Wrap gifts creatively using recycled materials, like newspapers or junk mail, for example. You can use stamps or paint to decorate the paper. Make decorations or gifts for friends and family by repurposing materials you already have. Old tshirts can be turned into pillows, a quilt, or reusable grocery bags. You can also take old crayons and make new art supplies. Take something that seems like trash and turn it into treasure!
Explore seasonal ingredients at your local market and pick out some new things to try in your latkes or sufganiyot. Eating seasonally has many nutritional benefits and it helps the environment too! Learn more with this guide from Lifehacker. Signups for many farmshares also begin in the winter time. By joining a farmshare you'll help preserve local agriculture and have lots of yummy veggies to look forward to once the weather is warm!
MAKE AN UPCYCLED MENORAH
Use this tutorial from CreativeJewishMom to make a new menorah from old cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tubes.
READ A BOOK
Start with a story like Pearl Moskowitz's Last Stand about a girl who protests when the city tries to cut down the trees in her neighborhood. Visit our full list of books about caring for the earth.
Do you have any tips to share with us? Any favorite eco-conscious family activities? Start a conversation with us on Facebook.
Find Hanukkah activities, recipes, story ideas, and more on the PJ Library Hanukkah hub.
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November 3, 2016