Chanukah
Activity Ideas

1. Drama and Reading

Prepare a mime, accompanied by explanation and appropriate music, for the following ceremonies:

  • Lighting of torches across the hilltops between Jerusalem and Babel in Temple times, in order to announce the new month.
  • Lighting a yahrzeit candle.
  • Lighting Shabbat candles
  • Lighting Chanukah candles.

2. Candle Games

The following two activities involve the use of fire and/or matches. In all cases adult supervision is necessary. Teachers and campers must follow the fire safety regulations at all times!

Fire Hazard

  • Blindfold two contestants. Place two candles and two boxes of matches on the floor. Spin the contestants round a few times. At the sound of a whistle, they have to crawl on the floor to find a candle and matches. The first to light a candle is the winner.

  • Blind Man's Light

    Choose 4 teams of two - one out of each pair covers his/her eyes. A lighted candle, the shamash, is placed in his/her hands, and (s)he must light his/her chanukiah by following his/her partner's instructions. Make the chanukiot out of yoghurt containers filled with sand, spaced slightly apart.

  • Relay Race

    The competing teams stand at a distance of about 4 metres from the hanukkiyot. Each team member must reach the chanukiah in a different way (hopping, on all fours, spinning etc.) and light one candle.

3. Parlor Games

  • My Miracle

    Build a large svivon. Each participant thinks of one miracle that has happened to them or to someone close to them, or which s/he read about in the newspaper or a book. (Look preferably for miracles which happened in our time). The participants sit in a circle, and the madrich spins the large dreidel. The person in front of whom it stops has to relate his/her miracle. Anyone who has not found a miracle forefeits, by singing a Chanukah song. (You can also spin a bottle).

  • Heroes

    This game is based on the saying in Pirkei Avoth, 5 - "mighty at eighty".

    Divide the participants into sub-groups. Each sub-group must find eighty names of Jewish heroes/personalities in the shortest time. The group to finish first gains 10 points. In addition, each group receives a point for any hero not listed by the other groups.


    • Variations:
      • (1) Sort the list into categories.
      • (2) Each group gives a short history of the heroes not listed by the other groups.
    • Discussion: Big hero - little hero
      • Who is a hero?
      • How is heroism expressed in daily life?

  • Chanukiah Building Competition

    Have the teams make a chanukiah which can be reused during the rest of the festival.

  • Living Chanukiot Competition

    Live sculptures in teams (this can be great fun!)

  • An Unusual Sketch

    Materials:
    4 svivonim. Instead of the letters nun, gimmel, heh, shin/peh, each svivon is marked with four items of information, as follows:

    • Time dreidel
      2000 C.E
      167 B.C.E. (the Hasmonean Revolt)
      King David
      1994
    • Place Dreidel
      Hospital Paradise
      Hell
      The Zoo
    • Participants' Dreidel
      Maccabees Cohanim
      Greeks
      Us
    • Style Dreidel
      Questions and Answers Newspaper staff
      TV program
      Street advertising

    Procedure: Divide the participants into groups. A representative of each group [in turn] spins all four svivonim. Each group has to prepare the story of Chanukiah in the context of the four items of information which it received from the dreidels.

    Each group has 3-5 minutes to perform the sketch. A panel judges the performances of the groups in order to select the best and most original play.


from "RAK REKA", edited by Barbara Weill

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16 Jun 2005 / 9 Sivan 5765 0