Ms. Sandy visited our class and shared with us her collection of many Menorahs. The children explored them and she asked them questions. Soon, we received a letter from Ms. Sandy inviting the class to create their own Menorah. We began the process with our research. The children examined several menorahs that Ms. Nancy brought in. They discussed what they noticed about each one including how they were made and that each one had locations for eight candles and the Shamash. Another day Ms. Nancy brought in a special Menorah that the children decided was “fancy”; They each held the Menorah and carefully examined it.
In our class meetings the children decided that they wanted to make their Menorah out of playdough of different colors. Several children liked the colored Chanukah candles and others like the idea of rainbow colors.
Over several days, small groups of children experimented with the play dough rolling balls,making what they called “snakes”, mixing colors, and creating flat pieces using rollers. Different small groups worked on the base of the Menorah. After examining many shapes by looking at items around the class and several Menorahs, the group decided to make a rectangle. After many attempts rolling the playdough out and cutting it… they decided to cover a large rectangle block with play dough. They rolled the play dough, made flat multi -colored pieces and took turns applying the playdough. They passed the block around the table to give each child a turn. Several children began to make balls to put on the Menorah. One child asked where will we put the candles? The children discussed this problem…We gave them candles and they tried different ways to get the candles to stay up. Then, they gripped playdough around the candles and also poked them into small balls of clay. I asked them how many candles are on the Menorah? They decided to put several balls on top of the Menorah over time they counted and recounted until they had ten balls and and poked ten candles on top. I placed a class Menorah near it and they counted the candle places. They determined that we needed places for eight candles and the Shamash. One child removed the extra candle holder. We sang the song “How Many Candles Shall We Light?” This counting song reviews all the nights leading up to the eighth night!
Another group worked together to decorate the menorah. They chose items from our room and took turns placing them into the playdough all around the menorah. They passed it around so that each child had a turn.When the Menorah was complete we reflected on the process of working together to make our Menorah.
During this holiday season share and discuss some of your own childhood memories and family traditions. The children are extremely interested in storytelling!
Consider ways that you can actively involve your child in your traditions through activities,music, and food.