How To Teach Kids About Hanukkah

Hanukkah candles

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that began over two thousand years ago and is still celebrated today. Every year, Jewish people worldwide light a Menorah and remember the miracle of the Maccabee’s victory over the Greeks. Since Hanukkah is around the same time as Christmas, many Jewish people do not feel that it gets the recognition it deserves in popular society; they can feel overshadowed and not appropriately represented. To help Hanukkah gain popularity and recognition, it is essential to teach our kids what Hanukkah is and why they celebrate it. Many Jewish people worldwide hold this holiday sacred and are proud to light their Menorahs and place them in the window for all to see. If you want to learn how to teach our kids about Hanukkah, just keep reading. 

Origins Of Hanukkah

Hanukkah or the Celebration Of Lights is celebrated every year in the same way it has been for over two thousand years. Its origins begin in ancient Judea, a town inhabited mainly by Jews, under the reign of the Greek King, Antioch. Antioch decided he no longer wanted the Jews to worship their God and sent soldiers to destroy their towns and Temple. The soldiers took away their sacred lamp, known as the Menorah, which held a flame that never burned out. The day they removed the Menorah was the first time anyone ever diminished the light.

Mattathias and his five sons, including Judah the Maccabee, decided to fight back against the King’s injustice and valiantly regained the Temple over time. Their first task was to relight the Menorah, but they only had enough oil to last one day. So instead of going out, the Menorah stayed lit for eight days, continued to glow brighter. This miracle is what Jewish people celebrate today with Hanukkah.

How To Teach Kids About Hanukkah

Watch Videos About The Hanukkah Festival

Movies and videos are excellent teaching tools for kids since they keep their attention and illustrate concepts in a way kids enjoy and understand. There are many movies available for kids of all ages to watch that help explain the idea and tradition of the Festival Of Lights. Kids will enjoy “Blue’s Clues Festival Of Lights,” “ A Rugrats Chanukah,” “ Nina’s World: Nina’s Hanukkah Adventure,” and “ Shalom Sesame.”

Play The Dreidel Game

The Dreidel game is a fun Jewish tradition played in households everywhere. To play, every person begins with 10-15 items ( they can be candy, marbles, or whatever you’d like.) Then, each player spins the dreidel and has to put the number of items in the pot or take some out, depending on what it says when it lands. When one person has won everything in the pot, the game is over. The dreidel game is an excellent way to spend time together and enjoy the company of your family; it’s exciting to know you’re playing the same game generations of Jewish families have enjoyed. 

Use Hanukkah Blessings Printables

As a family lights the Menorah, they recite Hanukkah blessings. Using free online printables, your kids can color is a wonderful way for them to learn these blessings and understand their meanings. Even if your family isn’t Jewish, the blessings are beautiful, and the printables are fun for kids to use their imaginations and creativity to create beautiful pictures. 

Read Books On The Maccabee Revolution

When Judah the Maccabee led his army to retake the Temple, it was a heroic act that took courage, determination, and faith. Even those who aren’t Jewish can find inspiration in the story. You can visit your local library or find online resources your kids can read to understand and learn the story in greater detail. Knowing how important it was for the Jewish people to retake their Temple will give your kids a greater appreciation for the significance of the Festival Of Lights. 

Kids love learning about new traditions and holidays, and teaching them about Hanukkah will help them appreciate a culture they may not know much about. Watching videos about Hanukkah, playing the Dreidel game, using printables of Hanukkah Blessings, and reading books on the Maccabee Revolution are excellent ways to open kids’ minds and hearts to Hanukkah.