Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homeschool Hanukkah Unit

Here is a unit on Hanukkah that should last eight days as the holiday does. It is good for any age range and we also read alot of books from the library. There is a craft or game each day, and alot of Hanukkah recipes we cooked and ate.

Day 1: During the day we made a toilet paper roll menorah. It was rather easy as all you need is empty toilet paper rolls (although you'll need eight) and one empty paper towel tube (which is also nice that you're recycling), tissue paper and some paints or glitter glue to decorate with. It was an easy project and our son had alot of fun decorating the tubes with paint.

We learned how to properly light the menorah (which we did by placing yellow tissue paper into the tubes), "lit the candles" and said the Hanukkah prayers that are said while lighting the candles. If you don't know how to do that here is an easy to follow guide.

We also read Hanukkah books and I explained that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.

Day 2:  Make a Hanukkah wreath. All we used is some cardboard (cereal boxes work well), construction paper and tape or glue. We made blue and white chain links from the paper (but didn't link them!) and instead glued them onto a circle shape cut out of the cereal box. We then made a small Star of David (the symbol on the Israel flag) and attached it to the center of the wreath.

Cook traditional latkes which are a common food during Hanukkah and are easy to make and only take a few ingredients.

Day 3: Make a gelt bag and play dreidel. Gelt is traditionally given out to children during Hanukkah (or won during a game of dreidel) and is usually either coins or chocolate wrapped in candy coin wrappers (we used small tootsie rolls as they are a favorite here).

See How to make a gelt bag and How to play dreidel

Day 4: Make a paper dreidel decoration. We used this outline for ours although we made it out of construction paper, made it bigger and not a pin.

Cook loukoumathes honey puffs, a traditional Jewish snack or dessert. They taste like little donoughts.

Day 5: Make this Ten Commandments craft and cook cottage cheese latkes. We prefered the potato ones but these were easier to cook.

Day 6: To go along with the Ten Commandments craft from the day before make a toilet paper roll Moses craft.

We also cooked another traditional Jewish recipe, kugel. I have never ate kugel before, and it wasn't something I'd ever cook again, but it was interesting to try such a different food than I am used to.

Day 7: Make a Hanukkah crown and cook matzo ball soup. The soup was a hit with my son although he only ate the matzo balls.

Day 8: On day eight bake cupcakes and set them up as a menorah. At nightfall we lit candles on them (all eight this time since it was the last day of Hanukkah), then we were able to eat it! You could just make cupcakes and ice them, or you could decorate with white icing and put a blue Star of David icing design on them as well. Remember you need nine cupcakes for each menorah you make, one Shamash (helper) in the middle (this one should be raised a bit, just set it on top of a small cup or another cupcake) and four on both sides of the Shamash.

We also colored a Hanukkah coloring page.

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