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100 Hanukkah activities for kids of all ages

A wide variety of creative, family-bonding activities are central to Jewish celebrations, especially Hanukkah. 

“Judaism is a fully experiential religion: We eat matzah, hear the shofar, smell spices at havdalah, light candles for Shabbat and holidays,” says Ruchi Koval, the co-founder and director of the Jewish Family Experience, the creator of Out of the Ortho Box and a certified parenting coach. “Crafts and other experiential activities, besides for being fun, imprint unforgettable memories in young children that are likely to remain positive associations long after and into adulthood.”

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, following the Maccabean Revolt. According to the Talmud, Maccabees found only enough olive oil to keep the Temple’s menorah’s candles burning for a single day, but the flames burned for eight nights. 

That’s why the holiday lasts, as Adam Sandler put it, eight crazy nights, says lifestyle blogger Tori Avey. 

“Throughout the years, we’ve found new and creative ways to keep the holiday spirit flowing all through those eight days and nights,” she says.

Interested in trying your hand at a variety of Hanukkah crafts, games, food and fun? Here are 101 cool, cute, creative and crafty Hanukkah activities kids and parents will love.

Hanukkah activities for Kids

1. Make a sensory menorah for toddlers, says author Aviva Brown.

2. Make recycled dreidel paper dolls.

3. Make an eight-night countdown calendar.

4. Create a menorah out of cardboard tubes.

5. Practice writing Hebrew letters.

6. Explore a DIY Hanukkah sensory bin, like this one shown on 3Dinosaurs.com

7. Play a color-matching game using different menorah candles.

8. Play with a toy cash register using Hanukkah gelt, says Melissa Kahn Wilkenfeld, of Little Kosher Lunch.  

9. Make a Hanukkah playdate kit, like one Wilkenfeld has used with her children.

10. Allow your little one to use real candles or a child’s wooden menorah for Hanukkah candle play and to work on fine motor skills, says Wilkenfeld. 

11. Use play dough to craft the four letters that appear on a dreidel. Marti Kerner, of Everyday Jewish Mom says, “The dreidel has four Hebrew letters on it. Rolling out play dough to make the letters of these shapes is a great way to play and talk about the letters.”

12. Wilkenfeld loves allowing her little ones to get imaginative and create menorahs and dreidels out of felt

13. Play a number recognition game. “Hanukkah gives us so many great opportunities to count to eight,” says Kerner. “For this activity, we have a numbered menorah with coordinating numbered popsicle sticks for matching. You can also put the correct number of small items climbing up each candle.”

14. Let your child make their own menorah out of play dough, says Wilkenfeld.

15. Play with a Lego menorah, like this one from ModernTribe.com.

16. The most classic Hanukkah game is, of course, spinning the dreidel. “It is great practice for taking turns, counting, trying out the math concept of one half when you spin a ‘hey,’ developing fine motor skills for spinning the dreidel and dealing with the disappointment of not always spinning a ‘gimel,’” says Kerner.

17. Create your own dreidel board game.

18. Play pin the candle on the menorah, says Brown.

19. Play Hanukkah tic-tac-toe.

20. Play a Hanukkah memory game.

Hanukkah crafts

21. Make your own Hanukkah wrapping paper, says Avey.

22. Create a Hanukkah silhouette using torn-up pieces of colorful craft paper, as explained by Sara Rivka, of Creative Jewish Mom

23. Make a clothespin menorah, like this colorful one on the blog Scrumdilly-do!

24. Make origami dreidels, following these directions from Bible Belt Balabusta

25. Make a cupcake menorah, like this adorable white and blue one from Avey. 

26. Build a menorah out of Legos.

27. Make Star of David sculptures out of popsicle sticks.

28. Hang those Star of David sculptures on a string to make a decorative garland.

29. Create a colorful hardware store menorah out of a block of wood, like this one created by blogger Sheri Silver.

30. Make a Hanukkah goodie bag, like the one shown by Rita on the blog Design Megillah.

31. Use materials like junk mail to make recycled Hanukkah crafts, like those shown by Wilkenfeld on her YouTube channel.  

32. Make a sparkling menorah garland.

33. Kerner says making a washi tape menorah and allowing kids’ creativity to run wild.

34. Let your kids paint a free-form menorah or dreidels on a canvas.

35. Use pipe cleaners to make a Star of David.

36. Avey says making a homemade cookies and hot cocoa gift bag

37. Turn a used egg carton into an upcycled menorah.

38. Make your own Hanukkah candles with a kit from ModernTribe.com.

39. Make festive finger puppets.

40. Organize a plate of fruit into the shape of a menorah.

41. Print out and fold a paper dreidel.

42. Make a dreidel out of a takeout box and cardboard tube.

43. Turn baby food jars into an upcycled menorah, as suggested by MomsandCrafters.com.

44. Mix your own blue play dough following this recipe from Tinker Lab.

45. Use Hanukkah-themed cookie cutters to mold your playdough into festive shapes.

46. Design a dreidel mobile.

47. Make a dreidel using cardboard and a pencil.

48. Make a menorah out of blocks and use tiny toys as “candles.”

49. Create Hanukkah cards using an array of art supplies.

50. Make Hanukkah snow globes.

51. Use an old container to make a tzedakah box to remember those in need during the holiday season.

52. Tape up paper chains in the shape of a menorah, like this one at Bible Belt Balabusta. 

53. Cut felt into dreidel shapes.

54. Make a banner out of those felt dreidels.

55. Decorate a Hanukkah bandana for your family pet using fabric pens.

Hanukkah recipes and cooking

56. Kerner loves following the tradition of making jelly doughnuts, or Sufganiyot. Her easy-to-follow recipe features store-bought pizza dough or refrigerator biscuit dough.

57. Make cookies with Hanukkah-themed expressions letter-stamped on them, like these adorable ones done by Brown.

58. Cook up a batch of delectable latkes, says Wilkenfeld. Along with other fried foods, latkes are traditionally served on Hanukkah, as we celebrate the miracle of the Temple’s lamp oil lasting eight nights. 

 

59. Make edible dreidels like these ones from Bible Belt Balabusta that use marshmallows. 

60. Dip-dye marshmallows blue, add to graham crackers and top with white chocolate to make Hanukkah s’mores.

61. Bake candle-shaped cookies.

62. Add the candle-shaped cookies to a menorah-shaped cake.

63. Whip up a batch of blue velvet cupcakes.

64. Bake sugar cookies in Hanukkah shapes, like the ones shown on Avey’s site.

65. Make Hanukkah lollipops, like the ones shown on Design Megillah.

66. Bake blue and white crinkle cookies.

67. Bake dreidel goodies with a sweet surprise (shhh, it’s gelt!) inside.

68. Push pretzel sticks through marshmallows to make another type of edible dreidels, demonstrated by Avey.

69. Make latke waffles (yes, waffles), like those shown on Smitten Kitchen.

70. Use tissue paper to make a stained glass menorah like the ones featured on Upper West Side Mom.

71. Make a Hanukkah bento box, like the ones on the Brass Paperclip Project.

72. Bake menorah-shaped bread — perhaps using Avey’s challah bread recipe.

73. Make homemade dried apricot gelt.

74. Try Living Sweet Moments’ stained glass cookies recipe.

75. Give Sufganiyot a New Orleans twist by baking Hanukkah beignets.

76. Make your own homemade gelt.

Hanukkah family activities 

77. Create a hopscotch court featuring different Hanukkah symbols.

78. Spend the fifth night of Hanukkah making a difference by donating a night of gifts to a chosen children’s charity, as suggested by the organization Fifth Night. The organization’s goal is to help the little ones better understand and appreciate the importance of their donations by learning about the charity and the families who will be benefiting from their gifts.

79. Write Hanukkah poems.

80. Put on a play about the story of Hanukkah.

81. Work your way through this Hanukkah in a Box kit from ModernTribe.com.

82. Put on a holiday puppet show.

83. Sing traditional songs, like “O Chanukah” and “The Dreidel Song.”

84. Pass out gelt and other Hanukkah goodies to neighbors.

85. Go to a menorah lighting ceremony.

86. Play Hanukkah-themed charades.

87. Spend time as a family creating a Hanukkah memory book.

88. Have a Hanukkah pajama party.

89. Play Hanukkah Bingo.

90. Have a treasure hunt for gelt.

91. Each family member can find a treat in this Hanukkah Punch Box for that particular night of the holiday. 

92. Draw cartoons of the Hanukkah story.

Hanukkah stories, books and movies

93. Write your own Hanukkah book.

94. Have the oldest person at the table — maybe bubbe or zayde — tell their first Hanukkah memory. Then, the second eldest, until the youngest shares theirs. 

95. Read this kid-friendly version of the Hanukkah story.

96. Watch Adam Sandler’s animated holiday movie “Eight Crazy Nights.”

97. Read a multicultural indie children’s book “Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas,” by Pamela Ehrenberg and Anjan Sarkar.

98. Read “Dreidel Day,” written and illustrated by Amalia Hoffman, in which a sweet and playful cat encourages the reader to count to eight to celebrate Hanukkah. 

99. Explore Hanukkah rituals with the help of whimsical bunnies in the charming, rhyming board book “Hanukkah Delight!,” written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Amy Husband.

100. Check out “Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor,” written by Ann Koffsky and illustrated by Talitha Shipman.

www.care.com

Kelly Preston lost fight against cancer

 

Kelly Preston, who appeared in films including “Mischief,” “Twins” and “Jerry Maguire,” has died after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57.

John Travolta, her husband of 29 years, confirmed her death on his Instagram account. 

“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer,” Travolta wrote. “She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal. All my love, JT.”

Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, she changed her name to Kelly Preston before securing her first film role in the 1985 romcom “Mischief,” then appeared in another teen comedy, “Secret Admirer.”

Applicants to nursing courses in England up 16% as NHS employs record number of nurses and midwives

A record number of nurses and midwives are employed in the NHS, as the Nursing and Midwifery’s Council reports its largest ever annual increase of registered nursing and midwifery professionals.

Around 18,370 more nurses, midwives and nursing associates are now on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s permanent register to work in the UK compared to a year ago, bringing the total number to 716,607 by 31 March 2020. The number of people trained in the UK leaving the register has also fallen to a five-year low.

The number of nursing and midwifery applicants to English universities has also risen for the second year running as the Government works towards delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of Parliament.

The latest UCAS stats show that applicant numbers for nursing and midwifery courses are up 16% year-on-year, reaching 47,320 by the end of June.

This is the second year in a row that applicant numbers have risen. In 2019 there was a 6.4% increase in people accepted onto nursing and midwifery courses in England compared to 2018.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

I’m delighted to see record numbers of nurses and midwives now working in our NHS as we work towards delivering 50,000 more nurses in this parliament.

As we continue our battle with this deadly disease, our world leading healthcare system has never been more important. We will continue to give it the support it needs today, as well as protecting it for generations to come.

Nurses have saved countless lives during the pandemic, and the NHS simply couldn’t function without them.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

This pandemic demonstrated just how talented and valued our brilliant nurses and midwives are, and it is fantastic to see an explosion of applications for nursing and midwifery courses.

As well as a hugely rewarding career in one of the world’s best healthcare systems, degree students will benefit from at least £5,000 a year from the Government in free additional support during their studies.

With over 12,000 more fully qualified nurses working in our NHS compared to last year, we are well on our way to delivering 50,000 more by the end of this Parliament.

The number of new applicants between January and June was 68% higher than the same period last year (11,360 in 2020, compared to 6,750 in 2019).

Nearly two thirds of nursing and midwifery applicants living in England are mature students aged 21 or over, a 24% increase on last year.

New applicants or those without an offer can still seek a place at university via the clearing process which runs from the 6th July to 20th October.

Student nurses and midwives starting courses from September will benefit from new guaranteed, additional support of at least £5,000 a year to help with their living costs, which they won’t have to pay back.

Booking.com

Best Jobs For Single Parents

When it comes to being a single mother, the two most important characteristics of a job are flexibility and salary. And while those elements are found on a company by company basis, there are certain industries that lend themselves to being more flexible than others.

The most flexible professions include sales, public relations, health care and real estate. As an added bonus, employees who work in those fields have the potential to make decent salaries. Education is also on the list. Although the hours are set, they’re likely to be the same as their school-age children’s.

Of course not all companies in those professions are ideal for single parents. That’s why single moms must do their research to find out how family friendly their potential employer is. Among the characteristics they should look for (aside from the ability to control their own schedule) are flex time, job sharing and on-site child care.

One place to start is Working Mother magazine’s annual list of 100 best companies for working mothers.

From there, moms shouldn’t be shy during the interview process. There are ways to tactfully learn if their potential employer allows its staff to work from home and adjust their schedule according to their child care needs. Of course it can’t be the first thing asked in a job interview. But it is reasonable during the second or third meeting to say things like: Tell me what it’s like to work here; how do you find working here personally?; tell me about the opportunities to make use of here in terms of flexible environment.

Another way to learn about family friendliness is to ask if there are any affinity groups, says Jennifer Owens, an editor for Working Mother. Those are groups of employees that meet regularly on specific topics. For instance, many companies have working parent’s affinity groups or parents of special needs children.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking the interviewer, ask someone else within the company. Also, check out the company’s Web site to see what it says about values and work culture.

Much of this depends on where a single mother is in her career. For instance, Margy Sweeney’s two daughters were 2 and 5 when she got divorced. Sweeney was age 29 and still wanted to explore different careers. She was a marketing manager at a real estate firm and wasn’t convinced she wanted to do it forever. It became clear when her boss yelled at her for coming into the office at 9:15 a.m. after staying up until 4 a.m. to finish a presentation. It was particularly frustrating because she left the office at 5 p.m. the previous day to pick up her children from school. She continued to work on the presentation after they went to bed so she could meet her deadline.

“A single mother should look at a company and say, ‘Do they appreciate the work I do outside of regular working hours?,’ ” says Sweeney, who, since then, worked as a freelance writer and is now happily settled in her job as a PR professional in Chicago. In other words, find out if they’re results-oriented or if they simply want employees at their desks.

Some jobs, like nursing, require employees to be on-site. But there are lots of shift options so they can work while the kids are at school–or sleeping. The average national salary of a registered nurse is $49,534, according to CareerBuilder.com. Another well paying and flexible job in health care is physical therapy. They set their hours according to patient need, and there are many offices that allow them to work part-time. Their average national salary is $53,508.

Still, single parents need to prioritize their needs. Companies that provide the most flexibility don’t necessarily offer the highest salaries. Think medical transcription. They listen to dictated recordings from doctors and transcribe them into medical reports. The upside is they can work from anywhere; the downside is they often make less than $30,000, according to data from CareerBuilder.com.

It’s a balancing act–something single parents are very familiar with.

Forbes