Hanukkah Collage with Melissa and Doug Dot-A-Dot Markers


As Hanukkah approaches I am trying to think of fun activities that my boys can try this year and we haven’t done before. We have never made a Hanukkah menorah with removable flames. The idea behind this is that each night of Hanukkah the boys can safely “light” their menorah.  My boys can do this in conjunction with us actually lighting our home menorah and feel an active part of the tradition rather than just an observer.

If you are not familiar with the menorah lighting, there are eight candles that are lit during the holiday of Hanukkah. One candle is lit each night for a total of eight nights. There is a helper candle that is often located in the middle of the menorah called a shemash. The shemash is the first candle lit and it is used to like the other candles each night.  During the lighting there is a blessing set of the candles to celebrate specifically the holiday of Hanukkah and the tradition of lighting a candle each night.  Along with the blessing, our family sings many traditional songs in Hebrew or English each night. It’s really a special part of the day that separates regular day today life and the holiday for us. As we continue on going to school, running errands, and working during this holiday we come home each night to light the candles which gives us a feeling of celebration.

To start creating our menorah poster with removable flames I use painter’s tape and taped out the shape of the menorah on white card stock. It’s really important with painter’s tape to use a thick and study paper, so I highly recommend card stock for this project.  Then I had my boys use their Melissa and Doug Dot-A-Dot Markers to add color.  When they were finished I remove the painter’s tape and the shape of the menorah came out white.


Just the painter’s tape menorah was a beautiful project on its own, but to take it another step further I decided to create removable flames.  We cut out from orange and red card stock flame shapes. The red flame was used for the shemash candle, and was a little bit larger in size than the other eight flames. Then I used a Velcro dots on each claim as I attached them to the paper with the boys.  I would recommend if you have a laminating machine available to you to laminate the poster before adding the Velcro flames. You could also use contact paper. This would make the poster reusable for years to come.  I however, do not have these items available to me right now so I did not do that.  I will just have to be careful to remove the flames gently each night and have the boys attach them only.


If you follow me on Instagram, make sure to look out for the boys lighting their menorah posters each night.  Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Sugar Cookie Decorating Party for Toddlers

For a recent play date my friend and I decided to make sugar cookies and let the kids decorate them. Neither one of us have made sugar cookies before, so through trial and error we were able to figure out a recipe that worked. Our first attempt at dough came out too crumbly. Once we got the dry and wet ingredient ratio worked out we had a buttery, smooth cookie dough.

Recipe for Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients

2 1/3 c. flour, sifted

1 tbsp. vanilla pudding mix

1 c. white sugar

1 large egg

2 sticks of butter-room temperature

Directions:

First we combined dry ingredients and then added the wet using a stand alone mixer on medium. We mixed them together for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides.

Once the ingredients were combined we kneaded with our hands for five minutes and then rolled it to 1/4″ thickness using a rolling pin. We used metal dreidel shaped cookie cutter to cut out our shapes.

The cookies baked in a 350 degree oven for 9 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once cooled we could begin adding our colorful royal icing.

Recipe for Royal Icing:

Ingredients:

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

4 tbsp. milk

Directions:

Pour sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl, add milk. Whisk together until smooth. Spoon into 3 small bowls, add one drop of food coloring and mix to create blue and gold.

We laid out a easy wipe tablecloth with a festive print, a paper plate for each child, small bowls with the royal icing, one bowl with Star of David sprinkles, and tiny spoons for decorating.  The children decorated each cookie one by one, spooning one the icing and creating a marble effect.

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This activity was a hit!  The kids were involved with each step of the baking and decorating process.  They loved decorating the cookies the most-each child decorated 10 cookies!  We had so much fun and will definitely be doing more cookie and baking activities with our kids for future holidays!

Chagall Windows Lesson Plan

I am fortunate enough to have visited the Chagall Windows in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center twice.  Upon entering the room with the windows you are surrounded by radiant light illuminating Chagall’s masterpiece telling the story of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This lesson is a collage project that can be completed by children ages 7-10.

I have included in the resources a book from my favorite art historical book series Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia.  He combines cartoons and accurate art historical information in a way that can be used by students of all ages.  When reading his books I typically break them up into 2-3 readings depending the age group.  I have found his books through Amazon, my local library, most school libraries, and Barnes and Noble.Marc Chagall was a Russian Jewish artist who experienced life in the shtetl as a small boy.  A shtetl is a word used to describe  segregated, impoverished villages in Russia.  The shtetl often experienced raids from the Russian army and Chagall experienced anti-Semitism in his life there.  To create these windows in Jerusalem after Israel became a country, was a great honor for him.  He was very proud of his heritage and had great hope for his people.

 

Chagall Windows

Grades 2 – 5

Grouping:  Whole/Individual

Materials: 9″x11″ white paper, water cups, paint brushes, tissue paper, Elmer’s glue, pencils, rulers, and black permanet markers.

Resources: Artwork of Hadassah short film clip, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Marc Chagall by Mike Venezia

Objectives:  Students will:

  • learn about the life and art of Marc Chagall
  • create an artwork based on the theme of peace
  • create a multi media work of art

Procedures:

  1. Students will view the teacher exemplar and discuss the project (steps, expectations, outcomes).
  2. Students will use their ruler and pencil to draw straight lines (5-6) on their white piece of paper to convey the lead piping that holds stained glass in place.
  3. Students will draw symbols of peace such as the peace sign, angels, doves, olive branches, etc inside the shapes their lines create.
  4. Students will trace everything they have drawn with black permanent marker.
  5. The class will listen to and discuss the book Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Marc Chagall by Mike Venezia.
  6. The class will view a demonstration by the teacher on how to collage pieces of tissue paper over the drawings to give the look of stained glass.
  7. Students will turn in their artwork for assessment.

Assessment:

  1. Student drew a picture using a ruler and showing peace symbols neatly and with detail.  2/5
  2. Student traced his drawing neatly with permanent marker.  1/5
  3. Student collaged using appropriate amounts of glue and tissue paper carefully.  2/5

If I wanted to do this project with a younger group, I would simply have them layer tissue paper on top of white paper to experience the fractals of light and color found in stained glass windows.  I have included a slideshow of my photos from Hadassah Medical Center.  They sell a very nice set of postcards depicting Marc Chagall’s designs in the gift shop.  That might be something worth contacting them for.

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Hanukkah Table Setting

hanukkah-table-setting

Tonite for Shabbat I did a semi-formal table setting.  I have a small breakfast nook style dining area rather than a grand dining room.  We’re a family of four and the kids are less than 3 years old-so we keep it fun and informal.  I used dreidel shaped dishes to hold my salads and applesauce.  My Crate and Barrel dishes coordinate with my latke platter.  I have a special latke spatula too.


The placemats for my husband and I are fun because you can rotate them to “light” candles.  Those will go to the boys when they’re older.  I used plastic because I have littles and meals are messy.  Still they’re festive and fun -that’s what the holidays are all about.  My challah cover is brand new from our trip to Israel -I’ll be sharing more about that experience soon during the holiday season.  As we celebrate I’ll be sharing our adventures during our “eight crazy nights!”

How I Decorated for Hanukkah

After I made my Eight Posts for Hanukkah my house is full of blue and chalkboard and burlap. So I decided I would do a post to show you how all of these crafts have come together as decorations in my home for the holiday. A lot of people don’t do more than just a Menorah and fine china or maybe a small decoration on their door. I want to show you how I was able to  add a lot of decorations for very little money and really give my home the feeling of the holiday.

how-hanukkah

A candle lighting station with family photos, my Shabbat candlesticks, and my Menorah.

A handprint/footprint Menorah apron I made with my boys. I posted about it earlier.

I have Hanukkah towels and pot holders that add a festive touch to my kitchen.

My casual Hanukkah table decor.

Once the holiday comes I will do a full Hanukkah tablescape and share that with you. I am listing the tutorials for all the DIY projects below.

Chalkboard Hanukkah Wreath

Handprint Menorah Apron

Burlap Pocket Banner

Chalkboard Countdown Sign

Snowflake Decoration

Pinecone Centerpiece

Snowflake DIY 

I am a huge fan of What’s Up Mom’s. I love all of their videos and their really happy energy. They definitely influenced my decision to become a blogger. So here is one of their DIY projects from their YouTube channel that I tried out. You can see their tutorial here.

I tried having Ben paint the popsicle sticks first and he was not at all interested. So then it dawned on me to have him paint the finished product. I built the snowflake but every time I built it I noticed that one end was a little bit crooked or one of the sides was not parallel to another side. I was popping off popsicle sticks left and right and starting over. Even now as it’s finished I still see areas that could use a little tweaking.

 I would  recommend if you’re going to do this project to do it on some sort of a grid or on a table with straight edges that you can better plan out your snowflake and make sure that everything is straight and parallel. I also recommend using wood glue, it dried faster than Elmer’s glue all.

If a child is helping you paint the snowflake-turn areas that could use paint towards them so they can reach new areas easily.

Overall I think our snowflake came out really nicely.  It’s definitely a craft for home or small groups with large work areas.  A classroom desk would not be enough space for the finished snowflake.

What blogs or vlogs influence you?Please share your answers,

Eight Posts for Hanukkah Bonus-Rustic Pinecone Dreidel Centerpiece

This is where my pinecone dreidels wound up.  I had been thinking of stringing them together to make a garland, but I came across this metal pail and got inspired.  I wrapped the bottom of the pain and handle with twine, securing with hot glue.  I also used the twinevto tie little bows around my dreidels.  I took a wooden round piece and painted it with chalkboard paint and drew a Menorah with chalkboard marker.  I’m really pleased with it and can’t wait to put in my Hanukkah tablescape!

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-No Sew Burlap Pocket Banner


This no sew banner is probably the project that took me the longest to plan.  At first I had thought to sew it with twine and a leather needle.  I figured out that I could make the pockets simply by flying some of my burlap cards shut, leaving the top open.  I used my hot glue gun and a thin line of glue to make the closure.

I painted the letters using stencils and a sponge brush.  I traced around them using my thin flat brush to do the outline in dark blue.  I taped off the edges before I did the border around each letter.

Once the paint was dry I pushed jump rings that were about half an inch in diameter through the corners of my burlap pockets. Then I strung and looped twine around each jump bring to string all the pockets together. I adjusted the amount of space by loosening the twine around jump ring and pushing the pockets close together and further apart as I worked.

I had to hang up the banner repeatedly to check that all of my pieces were evenly spaced.  The jump rings can move while I’m looping .  In the end I am pretty much overall pleased with this project. I look forward to filling the pockets with chocolate gold coins for my boys to eat every night of Hanukkah.

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Footprint/Handprint Art Apron

I like to do keepsake crafts on holidays with my baby boys. Footprint art is an easy first art experience to do with a baby. I did handprints with Ben because he’s two and a little bit more mature -he has had some experiences with art. As Adam is less than one I only used his footprint.

Footprints and handprints can get really messy so I like to set up my station with wipes right next to me, lots of paper towels, and making sure that all the surfaces around my baby are easily washable.  To make the menorah I painted Adams feet blue and his toes yellow. I painted and printed each foot separately and I did it as quickly as possible. Are used a good fit come out of paint on the flat so as to make sure it doesn’t dry before I got my footprint.

I like Martha Stewart craft paint because it can be used on several surfaces and it won’t flake off after it’s been through a wash

Afterwards,  I did touch up the footprints a little bit with a small paintbrush. Then I printed Ben’s hands underneath using a darker shade of blue and the same yellow on his fingertips.

Using an oil paint based Sharpie marker I wrote their names and ages next to their prints.  I also wrote the year. Underneath their handprints and footprints I wrote “My Little Miracles!” I can’t wait to wear this when I making latkes this year and for many more to come!