Sharing Chanukah at School

Ah December, time for delicious fried foods, cosy family get-togethers, lighting the menorah, and a yearly visit to your child’s school to explain Chanukah. Chances are that if your child attends a secular or public school, you may be invited to teach a short lesson about Chanukah to their class. If you’ve done this in the past, or every year, you may be getting tired of the same old crafts and cooking demos. If you’ve never had to do this, but you’re on the hook for this year, we’ve got a few tips for helping give an pre-school or primary classroom a crash course in Chanukah.

In our quick guide for the “Chanukah Parent” you’ll find story suggestions and activity ideas for two age groups: preschool and primary school.


First, give yourself a refresher on the Chanukah story. In one sentence, Chanukah, or the Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple after it was taken back from the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE. Use the buttons below to find printables with everything from Chanukah candle-lighting instructions, how to play dreidel, recipes and more:

The Chanukah Story

For age-appropriate adaptations of the Chanukah story that you can share with your child and their classmates, print one of our versions:

The Chanukah Story for Kids Ages 5 and under

The Chanukah Story for Kids Ages 6+

Once children are familiar with the story, you can jump right in to some activities.


For Preschoolers (1-3 years):

Eight Winter Nights
Hanukkah Lights
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!
It's Hanukkah!

For Younger Readers (3-5 years):

Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah
The Hanukkah Trike
The Parakeet Named Dreidel
Queen of The Hanukkah Dosas

For Big Kids (6+):

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles
Meet The Latkes

View all of PJ Library's Chanukah -themed book selections


Activities & Crafts:

For Pre-Schoolers:

Hand Print Menorahs
Clay Menorahs

For Primary School Kids:

Edible Menorahs
Dreidel Gift Jars
Chanukah Cards
Play Dreidel
Make Lego Dreidels
Chanukah Mad Libs


Printable Chanukah Recipe and Activity Cards
Quick Smashed Apple Sauce
5 Fun & Easy Chanukah Recipes to Make With Your Kids

For more fun, kid-friendly recipes grab a copy of one of these books:
The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen
Hanukkah Fairy Tale Feasts

For additional activity ideas, see:
12 Chanukah Activities We Love and Make Your Own Menorahs


For Small Kids (3-5 years):

Children in this age group understand what it means to be brave like the Maccabees. Encourage kids to talk about times that they've been brave, whether by talking to a new friend, going to the dentist, or getting back on their bike after they've fallen down.

For Big Kids (6+):

Chanukah celebrates liberation from oppression, and reminds us of the importance of freedom of religion. It also teaches us to fight back when people's rights are taken away. For children ages 7 and up, Chanukah provides a jumping off point to discussions about freedom of expression and current events.

Discussion questions might include:
“What makes freedom important for all people?”
“How can a small group make a difference?”


Chanukah At Home Printables
How to Light the Chanukah Candles

Are you the “Chanukah Parent” at your child’s school?
Share your favorite tips and tricks with us on Facebook.

Find Chanukah activities, recipes, story ideas, and more on the PJ Library Chanukah hub.