Category Archives: Learning

Happy Hanukkah: DIY Dreidel

For those of you that celebrate Hanukkah, we have a great Dreidel activity. Now you can create your own dreidel at home. All you need to do is follow this DIY Dreidel Tutorial and you can begin playing your very own dreidel games today!

This great tutorial from Activity Village is perfect because it comes with a free printable template. It even gives instructions on how to play the game for those that have never played or are trying to teach someone new!

DIY Dreidel

The Dreidel Game is a great tradition that spans hundreds of years and some say can be traced back to the book of Esther. The Dreidel has four Hebrew letters, one on each side, ?? (Nun), ?? (Gimel), ?? (Hei), ?? (Shin). You can even win candy or coins when you play.

To learn more about the Dreidel check out Activity Village’s tutorial. You can also print a Hanukkah Booklet and a Hanukkah Cut and Color sheet.

Happy Hanukkah!

Holiday Traditions: An Italian Christmas Book

When I was a little girl my mother would read us a book about holiday traditions. It told us about all of the ways that other cultures and countries celebrated. My mother’s grandfather came to America when he was a teenager. He came all the way from Italy at the age of 13, without his parents, and without his siblings. He came to work in America and eventually start a family of his own and create his own traditions. My great-grandfather was so passionate about America that he let many of his Italian traditions stay in Italy. Except for his Christmas traditions. Those he kept close.

So it made sense that every year all of us grandchildren learned just as much about Old Befana as we did Santa Claus. My mother read us the Legend of Old Befana every Christmas, of an old italian woman searching for the Christ Child. I remember the book very plainly. But had not seen it in years. So I was surprised to see it in the bookstores this holiday season. Originally published in 1980 it has been reissued this year. Now I can bring it home and share it with my own children and renew the tradition that has lasted for so many generations in my family.

olf befana

Just like Santa, Old Befana delivers presents to the little girls and boys that have been good, and lumps of coal to those that have been bad. She uses her broom to sweep away the bad things of the year and usher in good things for the new year. The Legend of Old Befana is a great traditional story for any Italian family, or any family looking to learn about other cultures.

Giving Thanks: Make a Gratitude Wall

This yer my family has been very lucky and privileged to do a lot of traveling and see a lot of different places. We made it to two big cities on our travel bucket list. We did a lot of sight seeing and learned a lot of historical things about the cities, and our country.

As with any travel we spent a lot of money, more than I would have chosen to spend. But we are very lucky to work hard and had the opportunity to put money away for these trips. Not everyone can do that. While on our trips we also saw a lot of people, people from all sorts of different walks of life. Since we visited big cities we also so a lot of people that live in abundance, and those that live with nothing. It brought up some questions with my kids. They were curious. They had seen homeless and people that lived on the streets before. But big cities have so many it is hard not to feel and see the difference.

When we returned home we began talking about things that can be done for people who are not as fortunate as we are. My children’s school does a toy drive for less fortunate kids every holiday season. We have already chosen to donate for each child attending the school. However, we also wanted to do something to remind us just why we are as fortunate as we are. We wanted to thank the universe for the life we have been lucky enough to live.

In the past we have done a thankful turkey, we put little paper feathers in it that we all write something we are thankful for every day of November. However, a mouse invaded our attic this year and our poor turkey was destroyed. So this year I was in search of something new. And lo and behold I found the Gratitude Wall, thank you to Livingly.com for the incredible inspiration.

Livingly.com created this simple version here. We have a large chalkboard in our living room and have chosen to use it as our board. But we have chosen to write something we are grateful for every day. Today I wrote that I was thankful for my healthy family. Health has always been a struggle this time of year, and this year I am thankful that we are able to enjoy the season with our health intact. What would you write for today?