Hanukkah is a great time to be a Scout. Not only can you play fun games and sing songs to celebrate the holiday, you can also teach Cub Scouts about the religious significance of the season and help them perform their duty to God. Here are some ideas for incorporating Hanukkah into your Scout activities this season:

Play these games from Scouting magazine 1977:

Pin the Hanukkah Candle

Draw a menorah on a large piece of cardboard. Cut out one candle for each Cub Scout. It represents the shammes, or candle used to light the eight Hanukkah candles. Put a pin through the flame of each Cub Scout’s cardboard candle. Tape the menorah on the wall. Blindfold a Cub Scout and turn him around three times. He then tries to pin his shammes on any of the menorah’s candles. The one who comes closest wins.

Hanukkah Peanut Hunt

Take 20 peanuts. On four mark “H,” on four others “A,” four “N,” “U,” and “K.” Hide these peanuts, plus many unmarked peanuts, around the room. On signal, Cub Scouts start hunting for them. After five or ten minutes, stop the hunt and score as follows: 10 points for the greatest total number of peanuts, 5 points for each lettered peanut; 20 points for being able to spell out “Hanukkah” in peanuts.

Or try these activities, from the Scouts of Northern Ireland:

Game – Menorah Relay

Equipment:

  • Picture of Hanukkah Menorah (9 branches)
  • Playdough, 8 birthday candles, and 1 larger table candle for each den.

Divide pack into dens at one end of the room and give each den a piece of playdough in the shape of a menorah base. Press the large candle into it.

Place the birthday candles at the other end of the room. In turn, Scouts must run to collect a candle and add it to their “Hanukkah Menorah.” Play until each den has completed their menorah.

Song – Light the Candles Bright

Sing to the tune of ‘The Farmer in the Dell’

Oh, light the candles bright,

And dance around the light.

Heigh-ho the derry-oh!

It’s Hanukkah tonight.

Spin the dreidel round,

And watch it falling down.

Heigh-ho the derry-oh!

It’s Hanukkah tonight.

Latke treats to eat,

And family to greet.

Heigh-ho the derry-oh!

It’s Hanukkah tonight.

Game – Hanukkah Hop Around

Using tape or pins, position words/pictures of Jewish symbols and items on the walls.

Divide the Scouts into pairs. They must hold hands and hop to the different pictures when called out.

Pictures/Words could include: Synagogue – the place where Jewish people worship, the Kippah – Jewish boys wear this on their head, Torah Scrolls – the Jewish Holy Books, the Menorah candles – the 7 branched candlestick is an ancient symbol of the Jewish faith and the 9 branched candlestick celebrates Hanukkah, Star of David – ancient symbol of Judaism from David, King of Israel, Matzah – unleavened bread.

Maccabee Religious Emblem

Maccabee Religious EmblemMost importantly, Hanukkah is a great time to help your Scout perform his duty to God. He can do this in part by working on requirements for the Maccabee Religious Emblem that will help him understand and appreciate the religious significance of the Festival of Lights. The Jewish Life – Holidays requirement asks Cub Scouts to provide the Hebrew names of four of the listed Jewish holidays, tell three facts about each of the four and participate in at least one activity approved by your counselor connected with each of the four holidays. One of the holidays listed is the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah. Help your Scout learn about and participate in Hanukkah traditions and you’ll finish one of the four.

The Jewish Life – Symbols requirement asks your Scout to identify five of the listed objects, indicate how they are used, draw three of these objects or make them out of the materials of your choice. The list of objects includes a dreidel and a menorah. As part of the Hanukkah celebration, your Scout can learn about and draw or create these central objects.

Finally, the Jewish History – Heroes requirement asks Scouts to briefly tell about two Jewish Heroes. One of the heroes on the list is Judah Maccabee, whose courage led to the restoration of Jewish worship at the temple in Jerusalem, which Hanukkah celebrates.

How do you celebrate Hanukkah with your Scouts?

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Here to tell the world the good news of Scouting. Stories are found from across the nation and the world how Scouting influences the lives of young people.

2 comments

  1. Mark CRM says:

    I’m grateful to find this presentation, and site on the Scouts activities and its multicultural and liberal faith.
    I’m a UU interfaith Gandhian Christian who has just become interested in celebrating Jewish holy days. Thank you, keep the faith, and all the best!

  2. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder ( User Karma: 9 ) says:

    This year many of the days of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa overlapped and I suppose for some there seems to be a similarity. Since our family is multicultural I can attest to the biggest difference: Hanukkah is a religious celebration and Kwanzaa is a cultural one. Both light candles each day of the holiday, but their purposes are quite different. To see what we do during Kwanzaa check out this post from last year: http://voiceofscouting.org/white-and-celebrating-kwanzaa

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