So I love to get hands-on with them, creating activities that are joyous and boisterous and even a little messy.
Need to work out excess energy before family dinner? If you like happy noises, invite everyone to participate in a Hanukkah parade. Crank up some Hanukkah tunes, hand out kid-friendly instruments (e.g., drums, tambourines, castanets, maracas), and march around your home. Babes in arms love it, too. And you can probably convince most adults at your celebration to participate.
You can also plan an edible menorah-building event. You can make it super simple and just a little sticky with doughnut holes. Ask the kids to count out 10 holes. Line up eight of them on a platter. Then, stab a toothpick into two holes, one on top of the other, to make the shamash. (Just remember to take out the toothpick before you devour it!)
Or you can make a messier marshmallow menorah. For this version, you will need regular size (not mini) marshmallows, unwrapped chocolate gelt, and Nutella. Add a dab of Nutella to “glue” the marshmallow to the gelt as the base. For the shamash, use extra gelt or an extra marshmallow to make it higher. You can use colorful frosting instead of Nutella, if you like. If the kids are older (7 and up), you can turn over the entire activity to them and even make it a competition.
If the makers of these treats can wait until after candle lighting, you can eat up those menorahs while the candles are burning.
Still got energy to burn before PJ time? Play Hanukkah charades. Divide into two teams, so that there is at least one person older than seven on each team to provide guidance. To prepare for the game, have older kids or adults sketch pictures of nine Hanukkah symbols (the number of candles) on 3 x 5 cards.
Choose easy-to-draw symbols, like a candle, piece of gelt, menorah, doughnut, dreidel, Hanukkah cookie, olives (that turn into olive oil) or a cruet of olive oil, and wrapped present. Or, if you have our Hanukkah Bingo Game, just use the playing cards from that.
Turn the stack face down, so that each team cannot see what they are choosing. Give the easier clues to the younger kids, like a candle or dreidel. For adults, see what they can do for olive oil! (Having once chosen “Conway Twitty” as my charade, I have total compassion for the hard ones. Oy!)
For Hanukkah games for the whole family, check out our Hanukkah Games Box, Hanukkah Bingo Game, and Hanukkah Family Fun Kit. Free shipping for all of these for Amazon prime members. Need a refresher about Hanukkah? Get our Hanukkah Parent Pak. Or get our new Jewish Holidays Games Bundle and be ready for Hanukkah, Passover, and Rosh Hashanah.
Ellen Zimmerman, Jewish Holidays In A Box