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Toilet Paper Roll Hanukiah

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. The background of this celebration and the menorah dates back long ago to when the Jewish people were fighting against the Romans. They only had a small jug of oil to power an oil lamp (a Menorah) for a few days, but it lasted for 8 days - a miracle! This activity is a great way to introduce children to Hanukkah in the classroom or at home! Now, we light a hanukiah with 8 candles — one for each day that the oil burned!

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Activity PDF

Make the season sparkle and practice counting with these colorful Hanukkah Menorahs.

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. The color blue is typically used throughout Hanukkah as it represents the Israel flag, peace, and light. Children will love exploring their creative side to decorate the rolls and exploring the history of this holiday.

📚Get inspired: “The Story of Hanukkah” by David A. Adler is a great book to introduce children to the holiday!

❗ New word alert! There are so many new words for children to learn. The “Hanukiah” holds the 9 candles that Jewish people light during Hanukkah — not to be confused with a “Menorah”, which holds 7 candles and is what was used in the holy temple in Jerusalem.

📅Mark your calendars! Hanukkah lasts eight days starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev. This day can occur anytime from late November to late December.

Materials

For this activity you will need:

8 toilet paper rolls

1 paper towel roll

Various colors of blue paint 

Paintbrushes

Popsicle sticks

Glue

Yellow construction paper

Glitter

Scissors

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Cognitive

Skills

Counting

Indicators:

Counting in meaningful ways in play and daily living.

Instructions

Step 1:

Start by opening the conversation around Hanukkah. Read a book about Hanukkah, see what children know already or what they want to know.

Step 2:

Now, for the activity, start by having the children paint the toilet paper rolls. They can paint 1 each to collaborate or paint all 9. Let them explore mixing colors and blending them together. Encourage them to do designs and patterns if they wish!

Step 3:

Once they’re happy with the painting, set them aside to dry. During the drying time, we can make the flames for the Menorah. Cut out 9 flame shapes (a teardrop) and have your child paint the flames with glue, ensuring to cover every part of each flame.

Step 4:

Next, sprinkle all 9 flames with glitter. This is the messy and fun part! Let them dry too.

Step 5:

Once dry, we can glue the flames onto popsicles sticks and then into the toilet paper and paper towel rolls. 

Step 6:

Once everything is dry set them up like a traditional Menorah, 4 small on one side, 1 large in the middle, and the other 4 on the other side! 

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  Encourage older children to create designs with the paint. Polka dots, stripes, diagonal lines, the possibilities are endless!

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Painting 9 cardboard rolls might be a bit overwhelming to younger children, try having this be a collaborative project and each child paints 1 roll.

Playful Questions

What inspired you to create this pattern on the roll?

What happened when you blended dark blue paint with white paint?

Do we have an even number or odd number of candles?

Have you ever seen a menorah before?

Can you count all of the rolls to ensure we have 9 in total?