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Hanukkah Lesson Plan Theme

Songs, Finger Plays, and Group time Information:

Background Information…

Nightly lighting of the Menorah (nine brached Jewish candelabra.  Family members take turns lighting the candles.  The first candle is called the helper (shammash).  Eighth night all candles are lit up.  Why?  In a temple long ago there was a lamp that only had enough oil for one night, yet it burned for eight.  What foods are served? Latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) served with applesauce and sufganiyot which are doughnuts,   Games? Spin the dreidel (a top like toy)  Other things families do? Exchange gifts, sing songs, read the story of the miracle in the temple.

Tell the children that one of the games played by Jewish families during Hanukkah involves something called gelt. The gelt are real coins hidden by parents that the children must find. Have a gelt hunt, but substituting gold-foil chocolate coins for real coins. Hide the coins around a room for the children to find.

Pass One Dreidel Sung to Mary Had a Little Lamb…
Pass one dreidel round and round
Round and round, round and round
Pass one dreidel round and round
Round the circle.
Pass two dreidel’s…
Pass three dreidel’s…
Pass four dreidel’s..
So on…

Hanukkah Candles…
Eight little candles in a row,
Waiting to join the holiday glow.
The first night we light candle number one.
Hanukkah time has now begun.
The second night we light candles on and two.
Hanukkah’s here there’s lots to do.
The third night we light all up to three.
Hanukkah’s here there’s lots to see.
The fourth night we light all up to four.
Each now a part of the Hanukkah lore.
The fifth night we light all up to five.
Helping our Hanukkah come alive.
The sixth night we light all up to six.
Hanukkah’s here there’s food to fix.
The seventh night we light all up to seven.
The glow of each candle reaches to Heaven.
The eight night we light all up to eight.
Hanukkah’s here, let’s celebrate!

Hanukkah Story…
Hanukkah Candle Puppet
Christmas Star Puppet
Ordinary glove, sequins, glitter, glue
Allow the children to decorate an ordinary glove with sequins and glitter,
creating a sparkling effect. Put the glove on and use as a Christmas star.
When the Hanukkah Candle Met the Christmas Star by Holly McDonough-Abunassar 

The cold winds were beginning to blow, nipping at the heels of shoppers filling the streets in search of the perfect gift. There seemed to be a certain joy in the air – the holiday season was here.

The clerk at the corner gift shop was putting the final touches on the window decorations. She placed a Hanukkah candle in the Menorah and lit the Christmas star atop the tree. She stood back for a moment, admiring her handiwork. Then she hurried off to tend to her chores.

All was quiet in the front window, but not for long. “Excuse me,” said a voice. “Huh?” said another. “It’s me – over here.” It was the Hanukkah candle. “Why are you always here?” he asked the Christmas star. “I was just about to ask you the same question!” replied the star. “Every year it’s the same thing. They unpack us from the box and put us in this window,” continued the star. “Some stop to look at me and others admire you. But you can’t hang from a tree like the other ornaments. You don’t sparkle like tinsel. And I don’t see how you could sit atop this tree – like me.”

“Of course not,” chuckled the candle. “I don’t belong on your tree. I am a candle – a symbol of hope. People sing songs and celebrate when they light me each evening. You see, many, many years ago, a frightening King ruled the land. He wouldn’t allow the people to pray and he put out the candle burning in their temple. One family used the last of their oil – just one day’s supply – to keep that light aglow. Much to every one’s surprise, the candle stayed lit for 8 days until more oil arrived. Now people light me every year as a symbol of hope – remembering those who fought to keep me lit all throughout the year.”

“I see,” said the star. “And why do you sit perched on top of that tree year after year?” asked the candle. “As it turns out,” replied the star in surprise, “I too am a symbol of hope to all who light me. Many, many years ago, a baby was born and laid in a manger in a stable. This baby brought eternal hope to the people who traveled from far-off lands to visit him, bringing gifts. A star was shining bright in the sky, leading them to where the baby lay. Now, I am a symbol of hope, reminding people of the baby’s birth. Every year, people place me on the tree and celebrate with songs and gifts and the most delicious smelling foods.”

The two were quiet for a moment, both deep in thought. Just then, a man stopped to admire the Hanukkah candle and the Menorah. All at once the star stretched out its points as wide as he could to shine a little extra light on the candle. The man moved on. A few minutes later, a child ran to the window to point to the star perched on the tree. Without even thinking, the Hanukkah candle straightened up as tall as he could and cast a glow over the star.

From that day on, the star and the candle had a new understanding of each other. Different, but alike, each bring celebration to the season. Now when the candle and the star sit side by side in the gift shop window, each works hard to help the other shine a little brighter – bringing hope to all who stop to visit.


Handmade Hanukkah Creativity Kit


Herman the Hanukkah Candle…
(Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
Herman the Hanukkah Candle
Had a very Shiny Light
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it was bright
All of the other candles
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Herman
Join in any Hanukkah Games
Then one foggy Hanukkah eve
The Rabbi came to say
“Herman with your Light so bright
Won’t you lead our service tonight”
Then all the candles loved him
As they shouted out with Glee
Herman the Hanukkah candle
You’ll go down in History!

I’m Dreaming of a Bright Menorah…
White Christmas
I’m dreaming of a bright menorah
With nine small candles all a-glow
With the flames all flick’ring
And bright wax dripping
And dreidels lined up in a row
I’m dreaming of a bright Chanukah
With every e-mail that I write
For a year that’s peaceful
And virtually easeful
And lots of surfing yiddishkeit
I’m dreaming of a bright menorah
So I can watch the candles flame
And the children vying
For latkes frying
While they play that merry dreidel game.

Yingelehs, Maidelehs…
(Jingle Bells)
Yingelehs, maidelehs,
it is Chanukah,
Oh what fun it is to light
the 8-branched menorah!

Yingelehs, maidelehs,
dreidel we shall play,
Oh what fun – where will it land?
On Nun? Shin? Gimmel? Hay?

Taste those latkes hot,
delicious as a dream,
Great with applesauce
or even sour cream!


Play the game of Dreidel…
You can find the instructions here.

Art Projects

Oil Jars…
Cut out pattern of an oil jar (representing the found oil) Color the jar with crayon or markers Take cooking oil and spread all over the jar. Let dry. It gives a great finish to the markers and or crayons. Using the oil brings to the attention of the children the miracle of the oil.

Hanukkah Banner…
Use blue and white (colors of Israel) paper to cut out the letters spelling out Hanukkah to use as a banner.

Star of David Picture Frame…
Have the children paint popcicle/craft sticks.  When dry, help them assemble it like the star of David. Glue a picture of the child in the center. This makes a great gift for parents to open one of the nights of Hanukkah.

Potato Prints…
I like to make potato prints. Cut your star into a half of potato. You will end up with the star section sticking out from the potato. You will trim off the area around the star. Let the children dip the potatoes into blue paint press onto yellow paper.

Hanukkah Prints…
Use Hanukkah cookie cutter shapes and dip into paint to make designs on paper.


Potatoe Latkes…
6 large potatoes
2 eggs
1 medium onion
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour

Directions- Grate the potatoes.  Squeeze out excess liquid and pat dry with paper toweling.  Mix in additional ingredients.  Fry small spoonfuls, resembling pancakes until golden brown.  Drain and serve hot.




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