Whether you observe Hanukkah or are just looking for an easy way to introduce your child to this Jewish holiday, these worksheets will be sure to delight your child. As you complete each worksheet, you can discuss with your child the various illustrations on the page. For example, young children may initially be unfamiliar with traditional Hanukkah items such as a dreidel (the spinning top), gelt (the chocolate coins), or latkes (the potato pancakes), but these charming illustrations will help make these new items accessible and interesting to young children.
Also, the traditional Hanukkah dreidel game is a wonderful way to help young children practice important math skills. Typically the game is played where each player spins the dreidel and, depending on which of the four sides it lands on, the player either: 1) takes all coins from the pot; 2) takes half the coins from the pot; 3) does nothing; or 4) gives 1 coin from his pile into the pot. The object is to collect as many coins as you can and many families play with chocolate coins to make the game extra exciting.
For younger children, it may be difficult to understand the concept of taking half the coins from the pot. Also, taking all the coins from the pot is equally challenging since it may end the game before you or your child is ready to stop playing.
To make this game appropriate for kindergarten-aged children, consider changing the rules slightly so that each side of the dreidel means one of the following options: 1) give 1 coin from your pile into the pot; 2) give 2 coins from your pile into the pot; 3) take 1 coin from the pot; and 4) take 2 coins from the pot. Using masking tape or permanent marker, you can write what each side of the dreidel means directly on the dreidel so that after each turn your child can easily look at the dreidel and see what he is supposed to do.
After each player’s turn, encourage your child to count how many coins remain in the pot. As he becomes more comfortable with the game, he can start using addition and subtraction as each player takes a turn to keep track of how many coins are in the pot, rather than recounting the number of coins in the pot each time.
I wish everyone who celebrates a very Happy Hanukkah!