We pulled out another variation of a magnet building toy, a magnetic stick and ball construction toy. These building toys are open-ended and offer opportunities for creative building ideas, problem solving, engineering three-dimensional shapes, as well as building letters, numbers and a multitude of designs. Sometimes the children work on their own, but often enjoy collaborating and building on each other’s ideas.
One of the class’s major endeavors this week involved the construction of an individual hanukkiah for each child. Our good friend, Mr. Bob, helped out again with this project. The children are enjoying their wood building experiences and becoming proficient in the use of tools. Mr. Bob prepared the wood for the base, brought the materials to class and guided the children in hammering into place the wooden piece for the shamash. He left the proper screws and Phillips head screwdrivers for the children to screw on the candle holders. One more step was needed prior to installing the candle holders – decorating the base. We mixed acrylic paint (blue, red, and silver) with oil in a tub, and swirled it around to create interesting designs. The children then dipped their hanukkiah bases into the paint. We explained that we wanted to include oil into the process to remind us about the miracle of the oil in our story of Hanukkah. When dry, the children placed the candle holders on the small holes that Bob had marked off, placed the screw on the hole and then began the process of screwing the candle holder securely into place. Of course they had to repeat the process nine times! This was quite a commitment. But it was all so worth it! This particular project was created to follow along with the passion the children displayed, for the past few months in school, towards constructing and fixing things with tools. They exhibited such a sense of accomplishment.
The children have been learning the Hebrew Aleph-bet, and now for Hanukkah, had even painted the letters we see on the dreidel. It was time for them to learn the game and learn to recognize some more Hebrew letters. Using chocolate chips as their “money” and as a motivator, Morah Yafit drew in large scale each of the letters, and we explained what would happen when they spun their dreidel and it landed on one of the four letters. They played two rounds but wanted to stop at that point because the temptation to eat the chocolate chips was too great! They were quickly gobbled up.
We have such a huge selection of multi-colored dreidels that we thought it would be a good exercise to have the children sort them according to color. They were able to sort the dreidels into eight different bowls. Matching and sorting are early math concepts.
We wish all our families a good Shabbat and happy Hanukkah.
Morah Yafit and Morah Fran