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Fun Hanukkah Activities for the Entire Family


Also referred to as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for 8 days to commemorate the rededication of Jerusalem's Holy Temple. Known to be a fun and child-centered, Hanukkah, can be enhanced with activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Playing Dreidel

One of Hanukkah's oldest traditions, Dreidel, is a must during Hanukkah. Families can play this game by having a spinning top with four sides, known as the Dreidel, candies, beads or chocolate coins, and a pot. The game starts with each player having the same number of game objects (candies, beads or chocolate coins), usually 10 to 15 pieces. Each participant places a piece of his/her game objects into the pot at the start of every round. Taking turns, the first player spins the Dreidel and checks which side of the top faces up. If it's Nun, the player does not do anything. If it is Gimmel, the player takes everything inside the pot. Hey at the top means the player gets to have half of what is inside the pot; and Shin implies the player must add a piece of his/her game objects to the pot. The player who gains all the objects wins the game.

Lighting of the Menorah

A menorah is a candelabrum with eight branches. The family can enjoy this tradition by making their own menorah and lighting one new candle each night. Sundown is the best time of the day to light the menorah with all the members of the family present.

Blessing Book

Just a simple journal, the blessing book records the blessings that each member of the family has received throughout the year. The same book is used the following year and the next years to come. Pictures may be used for kids who cannot yet write.

Gelt Hunt

Gelt is Yiddish for money. Traditionally, it is given by older members of the family to child members to help them enjoy the holiday better. A fun innovation is for parents to hide the coins throughout the house and have children find them in a treasure hunt. Chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil can be a substituted for real gelt.

Theme Night

Instead of celebrating Hanukkah in just one way for the whole 8 days, families can incorporate a theme for each night. They can start with game night followed with charity night, a craft night, and any number of variations that would make each night unique.

Hanukkah Song Singing

Another Hanukkah tradition is the singing of festival related songs. Children and parents can sit in their living rooms to sing Hanukkah songs together.

There are a many things that the family can do together on Hanukkah. However, it is good to remember that Hanukkah is not just about festivity and celebration, it is also about being with the family and spending quality together no matter what the activity is.

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