By Leah Sherman
Here are eight kid-friendly ideas to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. They can all be adapted for older or younger kids, so feel free to make each your own! Incorporating new traditions into your celebration this year can bring your family closer and make this Hanukkah extra special.
- Add a Thanksgiving twist to the usual Hanukkah sugar cookie tradition by using pumpkin cookie dough. Use cookie cutters (dreidel, Star of David, menorah, etc.) to make Hanukkah shapes, then frost with yummy pumpkin cream cheese frosting and decorate with blue and white sprinkles. Try this recipe.
- Make an original Thanksgivukkah menorah using pumpkins. Get detailed instructions and photos here!
- Take the opportunity to encourage family members to consider what they are thankful for at Hanukkah this year. Draw a menorah and record one thing your family is thankful for each of the eight nights of the holiday.
- Turn leftover pumpkin or pecan pie into a Hanukkah treat: Use cookie cutters to make Hanukkah-themed pie slices that you can enjoy the day (or two) after Thanksgiving (this won’t work as well with the outer crust so stick to the middle of the pie).
- Play a game of dreidel with fall-colored candies (think M&Ms or jelly beans) instead of Hanukkah gelt.
- Make these cute Thanksgiving turkey favors using Hanukkah-colored candies (think blue and white candies plus gold-wrapped gelt) instead of fall-colored candies and send one home with each of your Thanksgivukkah dinner guests.
- Do you usually watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Have a family float-designing contest to add a little excitement to your parade viewing this year! Bring out the markers, crayons and other arts and crafts materials and challenge everyone to come up with a drawing (or mini 3-D version, for the truly ambitious) of the best Thanksgivukkah float idea.
- Use seasonal dried corn husks to create Maccabee corn-husk dolls. Try adding little Maccabee outfits made from pieces of blue felt and Star of David shields cut from construction paper and glued onto the dolls.
Leah Sherman is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in work with children and families. As a former preschool teacher in the JCC Early Learning Centers, she loves developing creative and fun ways to share Jewish holidays with young children. Leah lives in Newton with her husband, Rabbi Philip Sherman of Temple Beth Elohim.