Sure, we think of Hanukkah as an indoor holiday, where we gather around the menorah to light the candles. But can you imagine taking Hanukkah outdoors this year? I’m a big fan of Wilderness Torah and the activities they do to connect Jewish celebrations with nature.
This year, they are planning a Chanukah Maker Faire for grades K-5. Because those encompass the ages of our grands, it spoke to me powerfully. But until I read about their program, I had not imagined outdoor activities as part of our holiday fun.
Among other things, they will:
- Dip beeswax candles
- Cook applesauce over an open fire
- Learn how to harvest wild plants for homemade gifts
- Play active games in the woods (Maccabia style)
Of these wonderful ideas, I am exploring two that seem realistic for our family.
#1 Making Rolled Beeswax Candles
Check out this post from Joybilee Farm about How to Make Rolled Beeswax Candles for Hanukkah – for kids as young as 5! In their post, they cover:
- Why choose beeswax candles over paraffin candles. Fascinating.
- How long these candles burn.
- How to make them, including the supplies needed and step-by-step photos.
I was so intrigued by this that I looked up where to buy beeswax sheets. Happily, I discovered that they are easy to buy online, if you don’t have a local supplier. (I found some designed for Hanukkah, with lots and lots of colors!)
#2 Setting Up a Hanukkah Scavenger Hunt
I attended summer camps where we played games in the woods. In the US, Maccabia games might include flag football, basketball, soccer and much more. But if you have a small family, how can you turn the concept into a fun afternoon event? Here is one idea that is perfect for us, inspired by this article, “30 Hanukkah Games and Activities.”
We can hide symbols of the holiday in a defined outdoor space. While we could drive to the woods, it will be more practical to use our own backyard.
Places to hide things include:
Trees and shrubs from which we could hang symbols, like dreidels tied up with strings or lightweight gold and silver tin menorahs.
The ground near flower beds where we can stick colorful Hanukkah candles
Wooden bench in the yard to which we can tape chocolate gelt.
Here’s what I’m thinking: We can divide our group into two parts. At camp, we were either the kachol (blue) team of the lavan (white) team. So we can give each person a strip of blue or white crepe paper to pin to their clothes.
Once our crew is older, we could even do the searching by flashlight after dark. I love planning new adventures for the holidays!
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