Hanukkah activities for early years
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Hanukkah activities for early years

23 November 2021 By The YPO Team

Hanukkah activity

Hanukkah or Chanukah means “dedication” in Hebrew, and the Jewish holiday, also known as The Festival of Lights, represents joy and celebrates one of the greatest miracles in Jewish history.

We’ve got some activities to help you teach little ones about Hanukkah and celebrate. But first, here’s the story of Hanukkah that you can use for story time…

The Story of Hanukkah

A long time ago, before even our great, great, great grandparents were alive, the Jews won a battle against the Greeks to practise their religion freely.

A wicked man, King Antiochus, did not like the Jewish people and had banned all Jewish rituals and celebrations. He tried to make the Jewish people bow down in front a statue of him that he had put in the Jewish temple, and pray to the Greek Gods, but they refused.

A small, brave group of Jews called the Maccabees were so unhappy that they decided to rise up and fight against the Greeks. After a three-year long battle, the Maccabees eventually defeated the King and his army.

The Jews were overjoyed with victory and reclaimed their temple, which had been destroyed. Together, they repaired the temple and to celebrate, an oil lamp was lit.

Unfortunately, there was only enough oil to burn the candle for one day, but to their amazement the candle stayed lit for eight days until more oil arrived.

"It's a miracle," the Jewish people shouted as they danced.

Since then, the festival of lights has been celebrated every year to remember the occasion. Candles are lit for eight nights, and families eat foods cooked with oil and exchange presents.


Star of David with Sticks

Star of David

The Star of David is the most common and universally recognised symbol of Judaism. You can make your own using sticks – fasten together with elastic bands and add a splash of paint and some string to tie up or take home.

What you’ll need:

800160 Natural Tea Branches
739678  Washable Ready Mixed Paint
713368  Washable PVA Glue
753688 Elastic Rubber Bands
759082 Junior Chubby Brushes


Sensory Hanukkah Bottle

sensory bottle

A sensory bottle is such a versatile activity that can be used across many different themes. For our Hanukkah themed bottle, we’ve added food colouring, beads and all things shiny to celebrate the festival of lights.

What you’ll need:

85123x  Red Food Colouring
851213  Blue Food Colouring
731236  Holographic Glitter
309864  Wooden Bead Mix


Menorah Tracing


A menorah is a multi-branched candlestick holder. It has spots for nine candles – one for each night of Hanukkah and the extra candle, called the Shamash, is used to light all of the others. The menorah is associated with miracles, such as the miracle of Hanukkah.

They are usually made of gold with different jewels, symbols, and patterns on them, which makes them great for tracing. You’ll find an abundance of different menorahs to choose from online, just print out your favourites and you’re ready to go. We’ve used a lightbox to make the experience even more fun!

What you’ll need:

11636x  A4 Tracing Paper
427670  A2 Colour Changing Light Panel
735107  Jumbo Colouring Crayons


These activities have been taken from Little Learners, a FREE magazine full of early years resources and activities. Click here to read our latest issue and enter our exclusive competition.

Categories: Early Years , Education

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