12 Hanukkah Activities We Love

and not a single one involves glitter!

We’ve all been there – your child walks through the door and says: “We talked about Hanukkah at school today. Look what I made!” and before you can even turn your head to look at their handiwork, there’s a cloud of glitter floating across your living room. While the shiny dust makes beautiful decorations and is wildly fun for little ones to play with, it’s a cleaning nightmare for parents.

Never fear, the staff at PJ Library and our program professionals from around the country have come together to offer parents our favorite Hanukkah crafts and activity ideas – and not a single one involves glitter. While some of these may be a little messy, we promise they’ll be totally cleaned up by Purim.

CD DREIDEL


image via Minds in Bloom
 
PJ Library in Greater Washington gave new life to old, scratched CDs when they tried these out last year. These are pretty easy to make and appealing to kids of a variety of age groups. Lay down some white paper or butcher paper and kids can also create collaborative "spin art" as they play with their dreidels. 
 

SHAMASH HOLDER


Image via PJ Library in Los Angeles

Head to your local hardware store to grab some supplies like wooden paint stirrers and clothes pins. Decorate your holders with paint or stickers or anything non-glittery that you have on hand. For younger kids, grownups will need to help with attaching the clothespins, but older kids can handle using craft glue on their own. (Leave the hot gluing to the adults though).

DIY DREIDEL GIFT SETS


Image via Pretty Prudent

Do you have old baby food jars piling up at home? Transform them into these gift sets to hand out to friends and family. Pair these with a book like Is it Hanukkah Yet? or Eight Winter Nights.

CANDLE MAKING

PJ Library in Minneapolis suggests making your own candles. Rolling the candles is a great fine motor skill activity for younger children and a fantastic way to keep older kids focused for a few minutes. You can buy your own kit at ModernTribe.com.

TISSUE PAPER STAINED GLASS


image via Life's A Craft Project

This project is a craft and science experiment all in one. Use the Festival of Lights to explore light and colors with your children. Encourage children to look at the different ways light reacts to the various colors of the tissue paper. 

DECORATE A DREIDEL

This is pretty self-explanatory. Order some plain dreidels, break out the markers, paint, or stickers, and decorate away. (Don't forget to ban glitter from the decorating supplies). You can order plain wooden dreidels for decorating from an online craft catalog such as S&S.

LOOK FOR LIGHTS

This activity is inspired by our selection, Chanukah Lights Everywhere!, and is a wonderful activity for toddlers and young children. Walk or drive around your neighborhood and spot the many sources and types of light you see. Make a list or keep count together. You can do this activity during the day or at night time. You'll be building your child's observation and memorization skills. 

UPCYCLED ART


image via Meri Cherry 

Transform a year's worth of school art projects into a special Hanukkah decoration. If you're looking to clear some space at home this is a great way to upcycle your child's projects. Plus going through the projects creates an opportunity to walk down memory lane together.

PRINTING WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS


image via Creative Jewish Mom

This neat idea takes trash and turns it into treasure. Use styrofoam trays to create stamps and make your own cards, decorations, and more. If you're short on ideas for Hanukkah gifts, have children stamp customized stationary for friends and family.

LEGO DREIDELS


image via Bible Belt Balabusta

Who doesn't love legos? Big kids, little kids, and adults, will have a blast constructing dreidels. While you're at it, why not make a menorah or a temple for the Maccabees too?

COOKING

It's no secret that kids love to cook. In addition to making your own Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles, you can also try one of the following easy, kid-friendly recipes. Don't forget to stay posted to this blog and our PJ Library Facebook page where we'll continue sharing recipes and doing live video cooking demos throughout December.

Oven-fried Latkes from Once Upon a Chef
Since these latkes fry on a cookie sheet in the oven you don't have to worry about a pot of hot oil boiling away on your stove. You may find yourself in the mood for latkes after reading The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes.

Easy Hanukkah Recipes via Aish.com

Simple Roast Chicken from Real Simple
This dish is great for time pressed parents as it only takes 10 minutes of prep time! Kids can help by sprinkling the salt and pepper and tossing the potatoes into the pan.

Rugelach – from 92 Y’s Kids in the Kitchen program
Parents will need to help with the cutting and taking the rugelach in and out of the oven but the rest of the recipes kids can handle on their own.

Stained Glass Hanukkah Cookies from Living Sweet Moments.

READ A STORY

In addition to the books suggested with some of the activities here, we also recommend It's Hanukkah! for children two and under, Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah for ages 3-5, and Nathan Blows out the Hanukkah Candles, a wonderful book about respecting differences, for older children. The award-winning The Parakeet Named Dreidel is usually a hit with family members big and small. You can see the full list of PJ Library Hanukkah selections here.

How does your family get ready for Hanukkah? Share your favorite activities with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.