Lights, beeps, dings, buzzes. That’s what the toy aisle seems to abound with these days though to be honest, that’s what grabs a child’s attention, isn’t it? But how long until the novelty wears off? Do these toys actually support child development or are they just a temporary diversion? Parents can go broke during this time of gift giving what with all of these electronic gadgets and gizmos, but for an inexpensive, time-honored gift that aids in development, consider the classic jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles are great for all ages and com in a variety of sizes and shapes, from floor puzzles with large pieces that are easy for little hands to manipulate to 18,000 piece goliaths with teeny tiny pieces that will take days to complete.
For little ones puzzles:
My two year old daughter loves building puzzles together and even on her own. “I can do it all by myself,” is one of her favorite phrases when working on a puzzle that we have tackled together several times already and upon completion of one puzzle she is immediately onto the next, “How about my tower puzzle next?” Floor puzzles are always a winner with her and I consider the size, design and shape when choosing new puzzles, not the age on the box. Simple puzzles can be fun for her to accomplish on her own and puzzles with more or smaller pieces are a wonderful bonding time when we work on them together. Our favorite brand of floor puzzles has been Crocodile Creek. The pieces are thick, fit together smoothly and many of their puzzles come in unique shapes, like my daughter's favorite princess tower puzzle that is 48" tall! So gift your child this holiday with a captivating puzzle, open it up, cop a squat and exercise your brain with your little one!
-Kate from BTBL
8 nights of family and friends
8 nights of prayers
8 nights of remembering
8 nights of candlelight
8 nights of songs and games
8 nights of delicious foods (mmm latkes!)
8 nights of gifts
8 nights of stories!
Celebrated annually around the world, Hanukkah, also known as Chag Ha’or (the holiday of light), is a Jewish holiday encompassing eight nights of special prayers, songs, games, gifts and food. The word Hanukkah means “dedication” and so, the holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt some 2,000 years ago. This year Hanukkah will begin on Tuesday, December 12th and end on Wednesday, December 20th.
To help you celebrate and/or learn more about this holiday, we have put together a list of eight of our favorite Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) stories. Consider sharing one of these books each night with your family as part a new holiday tradition.
The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
Natasha Wing’s The Night Before… series is always our go to when getting ready for a holiday. Following the same tone and rhythm as Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, this book details one family’s preparations and traditions during the eight nights of Hanukkah.
The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler
Through accessible, dramatic text and striking illustrations, Adler recounts the tale of the Maccabean Revolt and the miracle of the oil lamp that burned for eight nights, reminding young and old alike of the reason for Hanukkah. At the end of the book a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel are included.
Way Too Many Latkes: A Hanukkah in Chelm by Linda Glaser
In Chelm, “the village of fools,” Faigel makes the very best Hanukkah latkes around, but this year she cannot remember her special recipe! Her husband, Shmuel, goes to the wise and very hungry Rabbi for advice and while he does have the answers, they just might lead to some rather unexpected results. This is a hilarious story with bright and lively illustrations that will have the whole family in stitches!
Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
In this book, take your family on a trip across the globe to explore the various ways that Hanukkah is celebrated. After reading, gather everyone in the kitchen to make one of the special and unique recipes that are included.
The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket
Believe it or not, regardless of what the titles says, this is actually a Hanukkah story. In the witty style we have all come to expect of Lemony Snicket, this book highlights the differences between Hanukkah and Christmas as a runaway latke encounters some famous symbols of Christmas. Both extremely fun and quite educational!
Chanukah Bugs: A Pop-Up Celebration by David A. Carter
"Who's in the box on the first night of Chanukah?" Lift the flaps, pull the tabs and keep turning the pages to find out which bugs are hiding inside the box on each night of Chanukah. A fun and engaging story for little bookworms!
Is It Hanukkah Yet? by Chris Barash
As winter arrives and and the snow starts to fall and all of the animals hide, it is almost time for Hanukkah. Lyrical text and charming illustrations depict what happens at Hanukkah time each year, from the weather changing to decorating and preparing food and finally lighting the candles on the Menorah.
Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story by Naomi Howland
It is the first night of Chanukah and Sadie is taking care of her four brothers while their mother is away. Sadie goes out to collect firewood and performs an act of kindness for which she is given a magic frying pan that cooks up delicious latkes when you say the magic words. Such good fortune, but will Sadie's brothers heed her warning to never use the frying pan? This humorous and beautiful story that the whole family will enjoy. A recipe for latkes is included at the end.
For more Hanukkah stories, take a look at our Holiday Books list and share some of your favorites with us in the comments!
Also, if you are looking for a an adorable toy to go along with these Hanukkah stories that will help get for your little bookworm excited about the holiday and be a wonderful way to teach them more about the traditions of the season, take a look at this Hanukkah Wooden Play Set from KidKraft!
Happy reading and Happy Hanukkah!
-Kate from BTBL
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.