Hanukkah Activities Theme for Preschool

This Hanukkah Activities Preschool Theme page is all about this Jewish holiday which is celebrated for eight days.  This celebration of the Festival of Lights is the time of recalling the miracle in Jerusalem when a small amount of purified oil lasted eight days.  This celebration time is one for giving and sharing with others.  Some of the symbols of this holiday are the menorah and the dreidel.  

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Hanukkah Activities Preschool Theme

A Hanukkah Activities Theme for Preschool that includes Hanukkah songs, games and activities!  This  page includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!

Let the Hanukkah Activities Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Hanukkah Activities Theme Art

Hanukkah Activities Preschool Theme Menorah Activity

Make a Menorah

Materials needed:  poster board, birthday candles (9 per child), nuts (as in the kind that go with screws or bolts) to fit candles in (10 per child), craft glue (not school glue) and a hot glue gun.

The holder that holds the candles is called the Menorah.  There are 9 lights on it, with the middle one called the shammash.  This is the helper candle and is a little taller than the others.

Each night, the shammash is lit and used to light the other candles.  

So on day 3 of Hanukkah, 3 candles AND the shammesh are lit that evening.

Give each child a strip of poster board or sturdy tag board.  Have them print their name on it as best they can.

Squeeze a line of glue down the center of the strip.

The children place nine nuts next to each other.  With a hot glue gun--the teacher or adult glues a second nut on top of the middle one (or the 5th nut in the row).

The children squeeze a little glue in the hole of each nut and place a birthday candle in.

My Dreidel Top

Materials needed: either 1/2 pint milk containers (one per child) or a small, square gift box with cover (again, 1 per child); construction paper squares, markers, glue sticks, sharpened pencils.

If using milk cartons, fold and tape the tops down to make a square.  If using boxes, glue the cover in place with a glue gun.

Either trace squares on construction paper for the children to cut out (great scissor practice!) or precut the squares.

The children decorate each square with markers and crayons.

The children glue a square on each side of the carton or box.

Insert a sharpened pencil into the box (short pencils) to be the spinner so they can spin it like a top!

Star of David

Materials needed:  Triangle stencils (I made them from a manila folder); markers; scissors; construction paper; white paper; glue sticks

Have the children trace and cut out 2 triangles from the color of construction paper they choose (or, we provided yellow paper).

The children then move the 2 triangles around to make the star.  Teach them what the word "invert" means as you tell them to "invert" one star on top of the other.

They glue them into place.

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Block Center Ideas

Build a Menorah  (Thank you, Amber, for this idea!)

Provide a picture or poster of a menorah in the block area and at least 8 cylinder shaped blocks or containers wrapped to symbolize candles.  Encourage students to build a menorah using a variety of wooden shaped blocks and the "candles" provided.

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Circle Time

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!

What is a Menorah?

Bring a Menorah and candles to Circle Time.

Explain what a menorah is.  Choose 9 children to be a live menorah!

The child in the middle is the shammesh, the helper candle.  He/she stands up tall, with arms in the air.

The other children stand next to the shammesh (4 on one side and 4 on the right).

Teach them the following poem and act it out.  Continue until all children have had a turn.

A Dreidel

Dreidels have Hebrew letters on each of the four sides.  The letters mean take nothing; take everything, take half, put one in.

Bring some manipulatives to circle as well, such as a collection of marbles, milk caps, beans, etc.

Bring several dreidels to circle.  Show the children how they work and let them all have turns using them.  

If your circle time is on a carpet, bring a sturdy box cover for the children to spin them in.  Teach them the following fingerplay!

My Dreidel

I have a little dreidel (make index fingers and thumbs into a square)

I made it out of clay (pretend to be using clay with hands).

And when it's dry and ready (flatten hands to pretend to hold it).

Then with it I will play (pretend to spin the dreidel on the floor).

Hanukkah Lights

Materials needed:  In advance, make 9 candles and a menorah shape for your flannel boards.

Teach the children the following fingerplay.  

Once you've done it a few times together, hand out the flannel candles and have the children place a candle on the flannel board as you all say the poem again.

Continue until all the children have had a turn putting a flannel candle on the board.

One light, two lights, three lights then four (hold up fingers one at a time).

Five lights, six lights, and then three more.

Twinkle, twinkle night pretty lights (wiggle fingers)

In a golden menorah so bright!  


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Hanukkah Activities Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Gift Wrapping Station

Provide bows, paper, tape and boxes for the children to wrap presents.

You can also add a Hanukkah set to your housekeeping are.

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Hanukkah Theme Ideas for your Easel--

Hanukkah Activities Preschool Theme Dreidel Activity

More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Dreidel Letters

Hang up the Hebrew letters from the dreidel on the wall near your easel.

Your children can try to create them!

Provide large and small brushes!

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Large Group Games 

To Help Preschoolers Build Their Muscles While Having Fun Together!

Hot Latkes

Bring a potato to the area.  Have the children sit in a circle.

Play some music.  The children pass the "hot" potato latke around.

When the music stops everyone freezes.  The child holding the potato yells "Hot Latke!".

Continue until all the children have had a turn.

Find the Gelt

Gelt (pronounced with a hard "g" sound) is Yiddish for money.  

Hide some coins (silver dollars or pieces of large cardboard covered in aluminum foil) around the area for the children to find.

When they find one, they bring it back and place it in a bowl and sit and wait for their friends to find one.

The children will want to take the Gelt outside to play hide and seek with it at outside time as well!

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Ideas for Your Library

Book Suggestions for the Library

(I LOVE Amazon, and some of the links below will take you to the Amazon website.  If you do choose to purchase yours through Amazon, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit! )

Arielle and the Hanukkah Surprise (Read With Me) by Devra Speregen and Shirley Newberger

The Chanukkah Guest by Eric Kimmel

Grandma's Latkes by Malka Drucker

Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter

The Hanukkah Mice by Ronne Randall

Latkes And Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story by Fran Manushkin

The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle by Jacqueline Jules

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Activities to Help Your Preschoolers Develop Their Math Skills and the Small (Fine) Muscles In Their Hands!

Hanukkah Activities Preschool Theme Matching Game

Themed Puzzles

Provide themed puzzles for the children to use.

Create Your Own Themed Puzzles

Create large shapes on poster board to represent the holiday such as a large dreidel, menorah, candle, Star of David, etc.

Color and laminate.

Cut into pieces for the children to put together as puzzles.

Star Sort

Make Stars of David in different colors, patterns and sizes for the children to sort, make patterns with or seriate (small to large)

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Frying Donuts

Oil is significant in cooking for the holiday.  Have the children pretend to be donuts frying in oil, acting out each part as you sing the following together!

Sung to the tune of I Had a Little Turtle 

I had a little donut (children curl up in a ball).

It is so nice and light (they hop gently up and down)

And when it's all done cooking (get on floor and hop in the "oil")

I'm going to take a bit (jump out of the "oil").

Here are some music suggestions.  You might be able to find the CD's at the local library.  If not, click the links below to see what Amazon has to offer for prices.

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Hanukkah Activities Theme for Your Sand and Water Table!

Sand Temples

Spray your sand with water.  Provide cups and other items for the children to build a sand temple with. Provide rocks, sticks, etc. for them to build with.

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Hanukkah Activities Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Shadow Puppets

Provide flashlights and holiday shapes (dreidel shape, menorah shape, star of David shape) cut out of cardboard and glued onto craft sticks.

The children flash the light onto the shapes to see their shadows on the wall.

Oil Scientists

Provide different items for the children to experiment with.

Provide clear cups, spoons and pipettes and any of the following:

Water, liquid soap, juice, milk, vegetable oil, etc.  

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Writing Activity Ideas for Your Hanukkah Activities Theme!

Donation Station

Provide magazines, scissors, glue sticks and paper.

Have the children print their names on the paper.

Have them find and cut out canned goods from the magazines and glue onto the paper.

These papers will be the flyers that you will send home for the donation idea below under "Miscellaneous".

Have the children write a note to their parents about what they are doing with the donations.  

Hang word cards at the writing center.  Some of your children will want to print their own words on their papers such as:

Help others.  Love.  Hanukkah.

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Miscellaneous Hanukkah Activities

Help your preschoolers to help others.

Use the letters the children make in the Writing Center activity to either sent home or hang in your school.

Take up a collection of items needed by your local food bank to help others.

EXTENSION:  Before donating the items, have the children help you to count the items, sort them by food type and talk about how these items will be helpful to others.

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Go to MAIN THEMES Page for more theme ideas!

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