Monday, December 12, 2011

Hanukkah Tot Trays

So, this post requires a little background information since obviously from all the other things we do with Boogie, we are a Christian family.

My Dad was Jewish. He died in a car accident when I was pregnant with Boogie. Even though my brothers and I were raised Baptist, and my husband and kids and I currently attend a non-denominational church, we decided we want to honor my dad's memory by making sure our boys understand the Jewish holidays. Since Jesus celebrated the Jewish holidays, it makes a lot of sense to us in that respect as well.

I know Hanukkah is next week but as that happens to by the week before Christmas as well, we will be doing J is for Jesus next week. So we are learning about Hanukkah early. And with an H because we are doing the letter H this week.

So, what's on the tray?

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 This tray works Boogie's fine motor skills and coordination. He will be stringing pony beads and tri-beads onto pipe cleaner halves. We can work on color matching (ie- putting white beads on white pipe cleaners) or patterns (blue bead, white bead or pony bead, tri-bead). There is also the open and close function of the plastic dreidel (Target dollar spot). We can count the pipe cleaners by color or total. We can count beads by total, type of bead, color, or colors within types of beads.

This is another fine motor skills and coordination tray. Boogie will put the candles into the menorah. So, there is some in and out work here too. The candles came with the menorah and are not great quality. They are basically flimsy birthday candles. The good thing about this is that they are easy to replace and cheap! So he can break as many of them as he wants. I might switch out the colors so we can work on color recognition and patterns. We can also count the candles as we put them in. The menorah is from Party City and is 4 inches tall. It is a perfect size for him! If you want to make your own mini-menorah, there is a great, easy tutorial over at Doll Diaries.

This is another attempt at an arts and crafts tray. The last one (Thanksgiving) didn't go over very well.The dreidel crayons are from Party City, but I saw them in the Target dollar spot too. The stamps are from Party City. We can talk about colors with the crayons and ink.

This is a simple drop and dump tray.  There is the sensory aspect of hearing the "gelt" (Hanukkah money) clank on the bottom of the can (this is our color clank can getting use again). The coins were in 8 packs at Party City for .25 and will be re-used for our Pirate sensory bin in the summer for sure. I think I can come up with other uses for them as well :) We did not go with the traditional milk chocolate gold-wrapped gelt because I think it would take Boogie about 5 seconds to realize there was chocolate in there!

This is a color sort tray, but we can also do fine motor work and count. There are five of each color driedel. The goal is for Boogie to scoop them using the spoon into the four different compartments. We can also use our fine motor skills to spin them around. These were .29 each at Party City and there were 2 or 3 more colors.

We are not putting our Christmas celebrating on hold though by any means! Boogie still has his mini-Christmas tree (see with the Christmas Tot Trays), his peppermint play dough and his Christmas sensory bin out all the time. We are playing with his many Nativities and doing The Truth in the Tinsel each night (as seen in my Celebrating Advent post) and reading from our Christmas book advent nightly as well.

Hope you are having fun getting ready for whatever holiday your family celebrates this winter!

Linking up to these great parties!


  1. I heart the Menorah work!! The weather is the only thing that is keeping me from zooming to Party City. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Discovering Montessori

  2. Very nice trays! Great ideas, I should head to party city!

  3. What great ideas. I love the little spoon for scooping. Awesome job.:)

  4. So many great ideas, thanks for sharing on Monday Madness. I need to think about educating my own kids a little more about Hanukah.

  5. What a wonderful way to honor your dad's memory! And great ideas for teaching about Hanukkah as well! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and pinned it to my Non-Christian Religious Holiday Activities Pinterest board at

  6. What a fun week! Too funny he found the chocolate - sad to say, but I think it would take my kiddo a bit longer.... Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Merry Christmas,
    Beth =-)

  7. What a wonderful way to honor your father. I would love it if you would share it at my sharing party at Thank you!

  8. Thank you! I will be featuring this tomorrow!


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