Hanukkah Activities for Kids

Hanukkah is about more than lighting candles and getting presents. It’s about honoring and celebrating the miracle of Judah Maccabee and the revolt that led to the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. But how do you explain that to kids without taking all the fun out of Hanukkah? Here are three fun things you can do with your kids that will also teach them about the meaning of this sacred festival of lights.

Make Latkes

Latkes taste great and they’re symbolic. The oil used to cook them is a reminder of the miracle of the thimble full of oil lasting eight days. Make latkes with your kids using the recipe below. It’s a great way to have fun together and teach them about Hanukkah.


5 big potatoes
3 eggs
1/3 cup of flour
1 teaspoon salt
oil for frying


Grind the potatoes.
Add eggs, flour and salt.
Mix well.
Warm up oil in frying pan.
Pour batter onto the oil in spoonfuls.
Let fry for about five minutes on medium fire.
Turn over and let fry for another three minutes.
Take out your latkes and lay them on paper towel to cool.

Make a Menorah

Kids love crafts. This simple project is fun and gives you a great opportunity to explain all about the menorah and its significance. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 piece of wood, 12 inches long x 1 inch wide and ½ an inch high.
  • A second piece of wood, 1 inch long x 1 inch wide and ½ an inch high.
  • Glue
  • Colored paint and/or glitter
  • 9 miniature cupcake holders
  • Hanukkah candles

Here’s what to do:

  1. Pain both pieces of wood, or decorate them with glitter, or do both. Let then dry.
  2. Glue the small piece of wood on the left corner of the big piece of wood.
  3. Put eight dabs of glue on the long piece of wood and put a cupcake holder on each one. Let it dry.
  4. Glue the ninth cupcake holder onto the small piece of wood and let it dry.

Place the candle in each cupcake holder and, voilà, your own menorah.

Take a Trip to the Library

Your local library is a great resource for finding fun ways to teach your kids about Hanukkah. You’re sure to find books for kids of all ages that explain the meaning of Hanukkah, and many of them have lyrics to songs that you and your kids can sing together.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids

There’s no reason why celebrating New Year’s Eve with the kids in tow can’t be a fun time. Sure, you may not get to drink quite as much bubbly as you might have pre-kids, but that’s OK. New Year’s Eve can be an uplifting night of family fun. Here are some suggestions on how to ring in the New Year and keep the kiddos happy.

With kids on New Year’s Eve, timing is everything. If they have the willpower and stamina, letting them stay up until midnight with the adults is, in a kid’s eyes, really, really cool. It’ll definitely be a memory and tradition they will always have with them. If they’re too sleepy, you can put them to bed early, and then rouse them about an hour before midnight. And if the kids won’t make it until Midnight no matter what, have an early New Year’s Eve celebration. You can even set the clocks forward.

Kids love to celebrate and carry on New Year’s Eve is the perfect night to do so. You can encourage the kids to make their own New Year’s Eve costumes or pick up some inexpensive party supplies such as hats, noisemakers and decorations from the dollar store. There’s also the old-school route of taking some pots and pans outside at midnight and clanging them together, although be advised: the neighbors may not find this tradition very amusing.

Food. You are going to want lots of it for New Year’s Eve. Kid-friendly food such as popcorn and hot chocolate are sure to be enjoyed. And what kid doesn’t love snacks?! Let the kids help make some New Year’s Eve snacks of their own in the kitchen ahead of time. Or make some old-fashioned cookies and celebrate the New Year with a cookie (or maybe two) and a glass of milk once midnight arrives.

Gathering around the television and watching the celebration may be perfectly suitable for some kids, although others might get bored. Make sure you have lots of activities planned. It’s always easier to keep children entertained on New Year’s Eve if you invite another couple and their kids over. Having a dance party or dance-off competition can be a fun game for all ages. And if it’s snowy outside, doing some late night sledding (with adult supervision of course) can make for a memorable New Year’s Eve.

Celebrating Christmas with Sesame Street

Here are some family-friendly Christmas videos from the Sesame Street crew that you and your children can enjoy watching together this holiday season.

Oscar Hates Christmas – Even though this video stars Oscar the Grouch, you may notice appearances by Bob McGrath and Mr. Hooper.

Elmo’s Christmas Wish – Elmo is staying cool this Christmas, while a little elf that sounds a lot like Ben Stiller is panicking.

I Want a Snuffy for Christmas – Hopefully a Snuffleupagus isn’t on your child’s wish list Christmas. But if it is, you may as well embrace and enjoy this duet between Big Bird and Anne Hathaway who both want a Snuffy!

Elmo Saves Christmas – Elmo is just so wonderful, isn’t he? Of course he will save Christmas as well. Here are four clips from Elmo’s Christmas special.

Bert and Ernie’s Gift of the Magi – Here’s a classic clip with Bert and Ernie celebrating Christmas and getting to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Featuring Mr. Hooper.

Keeping your kids busy on Thanksgiving

Ah, it’s Thanksgiving, you’re celebrating with a family get together and uh-oh, how are you going to keep the kids out of your hair while you prepare the big meal? Here are some ways to keep the young ones distracted, if not entertained while you prepare all the Thanksgiving trimmings.

Take them to the Thanksgiving parade – Chances are there’s a local Thanksgiving parade near you. If so, taking the kids and letting them get their energy out may pay off later in the afternoon when they’re tuckered out.

Send the kids outside to play in the leaves – If you’re thinking ahead, you will have raked (or blown) all the leaves into a big pile. Point at the pile of leaves, tell the kids they can’t jump in it no matter what, and then walk away. Leaf play will ensue.

Stick them in front of the TV – This is really an easy way out, but sometimes firing up a DVD or Nickelodeon and letting the kids veg out in front of the boob tube is the only way to get stuff done on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving skit – Task the wee ones with putting on a Thanksgiving “play” in which they explain pilgrims, Indians and the meaning of Thanksgiving. Encourage the kids to dress up as Thanksgiving characters.

Write down what you’re thankful for – Ask the kids (and adults too) to write down what they’re thankful for. After dinner, read the notes and try to match up the note with the family member. If the kids are really creative, ask them to draw the things they are thankful for and then have your own Thanksgiving art show.

Make decorations – For the creative types, some construction paper, scissors, glue and crayons may be all that is needed to fire up some homemade Thanksgiving decorations that can be stored away and brought out every Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving word games – See how many words the kids can make out of the word “Thanksgiving.” Also, spell out Thanksgiving and underneath each letter, have the kids try to name as many things as they’re thankful for that start with each letter.

Create an indoor scavenger hunt – This can be a really fun game for kids, plus you can suggest to them that they’ll find most of what they’re looking for away from the kitchen so you can keep them out of your hair and your eye on the turkey or ham.

Jobs in the kitchen – If they’re ready for the responsibility, give the little ones some jobs to do in the kitchen. Just make sure it’s not something they can easily make a mess of, because, well, you know how kids are …

Let them help set table – If you haven’t already set your Thanksgiving dinner table, it might be a good job for the kids. Just don’t be surprised if they get the forks, knives and spoons mixed and they end up on the wrong side of the table setting!