Theme for the Week - Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is a great celebration, even if you aren't Jewish. Below please find some amazing activities to help us learn more about this joyous holiday celebration based on a miracle.
Letter of the Week: H - for Hanukkah - point out things that start with "H" - hand, hold, hammer, hair. Show your toddler a picture of both a capital H and a lower case h. Draw an H on paper, or use your child's finger to draw it in the sandbox or dirt. Use bath tub or refrigerator letters to show him/her this letter as well. I've been showing my toddler letters in the bathtub - he has started recognizing them now - R, T, S, B, D, A, C and Y so far. You can even use flashcards a little at a time.
Number of the Week: 8 - For the 8 nights of Hanukkah. When you show your child anything say "8 hairy hounds" (or whatever you are counting). Count to 8. Write the number 8 on paper or show your toddler a flash card. Show your child 8 things at a time and count them - "one, two, three" - so your child gets used to the pattern. When I have been counting to my son, he now points to things and makes sounds like he's trying to count and he can identify 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8. My son knows he's one and can make the gesture when you ask him, so it can be done at this age even.
Songs of the Week: Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah - This link takes you to a sample of the Bare Naked Ladies' version, which is SO fun. Their Holiday album has some fun stuff on it for both Christmas and Hanukkah; this link gives you the lyrics and a link to buy the album. You might recognize the instrument being used as a klezmer - this link give you more information about that.
Story of the Week: Hanukkah Books and Stories - As with Christmas, it's so hard to pick just one story or book this week! The first link for Books is to an Amazon search that lists all kinds of books for kids. The first one is Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy by Don Freeman and Lisa McCue, which is out of stock but you can look for it at the library. The second link for Stories is to a site with a ton of audio stories your child might listen to. Not sure if they'll sit still for the entire story but you can try!
Snack of the Week: Matzo with Jam - One of my friends Juli, remembers eating this as a kid. Matzo is more of a Passover item but it's easy to find in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store. Super easy! Another traditional food for Hanukkah is latkes (potato pancakes) which are delicious but are not appropriate for a small child to prepare since they are cooked in oil. But they are sure good!
Words of the Week: Since Hanukkah is a Jewish tradition, here is a little story about the different spellings of the word. Dreidel - small top, Menorah - candelabrum used in the Hanukkah ceremony, Sufganiyot - jelly doughnut (the link is a funny little video for you to watch about them - one person calls it a "heart attack in your hand") and Maoz Tzor - "Rock of Ages"
Do It Myself: Set the Table - One of the fundamental tenants of Hanukkah is generosity and a tradition is to set an extra spot at the table for a stranger who might wander in during the meal. Have your child help set the table by carrying a few non-breakable items to the table.
Activity of the Week: Dreidel - Here is a printable template for making a paper dreidel, which you will need to help with and here are the instructions. And here is how to play. Also, another suggestions is to let your child decorate a paper plate at the "extra" spot in case someone stops by during your meal. The traditional colors of Hanukkah are blue, white and silver.
Yoga Pose: Child's Pose - Since the two poses anywhere close to this week's theme are extremely advanced (Check out 8-angle pose and Firefly pose for a good laugh), I'm suggesting this pose. It's easy and a nice back stretch. PS - Our kids always liked the Yoga Kids series if you'd like more ideas for doing yoga with your toddler.
Sign Language Sign of the Week: Hanukkah, Candle, Light and Family. If your toddler is still learning how to talk, sign language can be a great way for them to communicate. And as they get older, they'll pick up signs faster and it can be more of a fun thing versus a way to communicate. Hope you have a wonderful week! PS - in last week's poll, 100% of you said you tell your kids about Santa!