Safe Hanukkah Crafts: Make Fire-Free Menorahs

Amy Keyishian
Being a Mom

homemade menorah
And then there's this!
You guys, no joke, Hanukkah starts on December 1 this year. My rabbi just explained why this happens every couple of years -- something about our calendar being sometimes-lunar, sometimes-not. But I already forgot everything except what I just told you. All I know is, the shopping time is outrageously crunched, and any hope of faking a joint Hanukkah-Christmas amalgamation is shot this year.
It also means I might not make it to Michaels in time to get just the right crafty items in stock. Fortunately, I am super-clever (and have already attended one Hanukkah party), so I have some tricks up my sleeve. And none of them involve cutting out those infernal cardboard dreidels and trying to fold them into the right shape!
But really I just can’t wait till my girls are old enough for us all to make dreidel softies or a tea light menorah. In the meantime, here are the fun ideas going on in my home.

Finger paint menorah
This is so cute! You take the kid’s hands, dip them in blue finger paint, and have them make a two-hand imprint with the thumbs overlapping. Voila! It’s (sort of) a menorah. You paint a yellow flame over each finger and the thumbs become the shamas. If you’re feeling frisky, you can draw a menorah and just have them use their fingers to make individual candles, but that’s harder, and I like the hands as a little yearly keepsake. (Right.)

Advent-style sticker menorah
You know what’s a drag about Hanukkah? Having to say, “No no, that’s fire. Don’t touch! Just look. So pretty, right? No, those are matches. No, that’s fire. No, you can’t eat the candle! STOP!” repeat ad nauseum. You know what you need for pre-schoolers? Sticker menorahs. I’m not even picky about what kind of stickers. Got pink smiley faces? Works for me. Draw a big menorah outline on a piece of cardboard. Have the kids color it in. Then, on each night of Hanukkah, you stick another sticker on a candle.

Stuffed dreidel
Let’s face it: Every game of dreidel is just one long wait for Gimmel. So? Let’s get rid of the middleman. Cut out matching dreidel shapes from blue felt, use hot glue to stick them together, and stuff with cotton. (You got that you have to leave one side open long enough to stuff, right?) Then use a Sharpie or a glitter pen to draw a gimmel. Now everyone’s a winner. (And you can use it as an ornament on that Christmas tree your kids made you get.)

Brownie menorah
I love this one. Bake your favorite brownies. (The Trader Joe’s mix isn’t half bad.) Arrange nine of them in a row; stack a second one on the middle one so it’s higher. Top each one with a candy corn (they look like flame!). Voila, a kid-crafted Hanukkah dessert. Genius!

Star-of-David mobile
You’ve got blue pipe-cleaners, right? And yellow thread? And a hanger? Then you are all set to twist up a bunch of stars-of-David, string them up, and display a mobile. Extra points if you wrap the hanger in ribbon.

What Hanukkah crafts are your fallback faves? Do you spray-paint a wreath blue? Tell us in the comments!

Image via Ella Novak/Flickr

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