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Happy Hanukkah: Menorah Handprints

This is a fun, messy activity to encourage children to think more about Hanukkah while exploring their progress. It is best suited for single children or groups of 2-5.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Silver or gold paint
  • Paper plates
  • Paint brushes
  • Yellow paint
  • Paper

Preparing the activity:

  1. Pour the silver/gold and the yellow paint onto paper plates.
  2. Give each child a piece of paper and paint brush.

Doing the activity:

Help the children to put their fingers in the paint (like you would with a handprint, but with the palms raised so just the fingers (not their thumbs) are covered in paint.

The children should now press their hands on to their paper, creating eight lines of paint for their menorah candles.

Once their hands have been washed, help the children paint a larger, central candle between the two handprints.

Finally, help the children use their thumbs to dip into the yellow paper and print a thumbprint candle flame on top of each candle.

Original image by DUTOURDUMONDE on YayImages, edited by TNL

Once the paintings are finished, talk to the children about why menorahs are an important symbol.

A simplified version of the Hanukkah story:

Long ago in Israel the Jewish people prayed to God in their Temple, called a Synagogue. This was the most important place for them and, every night, they would light the menorah and the Temple would be lit up.

The king of Israel at the time didn’t like the Jewish people and told his guards to go and ruin the Temple. They made a mess, broke things and smashed the jars of oil that were used to light the menorah.

The Jewish people eventually managed to get the king’s guards out of their Temple and cleaned everything up. They lit the menorah but only had enough oil for one day. But a miracle happened and the oil lasted for eight days!

Now, every year during Hanukkah, Jewish people light the menorah every night for eight days to remember this miracle.

Explain to the children that the menorah is a way that Jewish people remember Hanukkah. Encourage children to talk about how familiar/unfamiliar they are with Hanukkah. Are any of the children Jewish? Give room for them to talk freely about their experience without feeling like they have to explain Hanukkah to the group. Try to ensure the children understand that, even if it is not usual for many of them, Hanukkah is very important for Jewish people.

Tracking the activity:

22-36 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Shows control in holding and using jugs to pour, hammers, books and mark-making tools.”

Understanding the world: People and communities: “Learns that they have similarities and differences that connect them to, and distinguish them from, others.”

30-50 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Uses one-handed tools and equipment, e.g. makes snips in paper with child scissors.”

Understanding the world: People and communities: “Recognises and describes special times or events for family or friends.; Shows interest in different occupations and ways of life.”