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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chanukah had become about presents and stuff for our family, and I knew it could be more. Obviously kids expect and get excited for the presents that are involved in this holiday but I didn’t want it to be just about that. Last year I was inspired by Jewish Instagrammer Peas Love and Carrots to implement the Chalympics (Chanukah Olympics) into our family Chanukah celebration. It was an amazing Chanukah filled with fun and family time, and the kids didn’t miss getting a present from us—they still got plenty from extended family so I wasn’t feeling too bad for them. They are so excited for another year of Chalympics and I love that we have this new Chanukah tradition for them to look forward to. Maybe you want to implement some fun into your Chanukah as well!

The games get kicked off with an opening ceremony; this year we will be making our own torches (bat mitzvah of the ’90s style) with a glass bottle and large candle, and decorated with melted crayon drippings (all supplies bought at the Dollar Tree in Bergenfield). Official Olympic music streamed from YouTube will accompany our contestants as they get the games kicked off!

Below is a list of some great games for Chalympics or any family fun time!

  1. We love making custom Jeopardy games on flippity.net! You create the questions in the template and then the game is played with your own questions. This is great for any holiday or even family trivia! Jeopardy music being played on YouTube adds to the fun as well. Our family- made Chanukah-edition Jeopardy game is available on my Instagram account @fun.in.the.bc.
  2. Life-Size Memory—this game definitely got around last Chanukah. Danielle Renov of Peas Love and Carrots got everyone playing and it is a super-fun one! Pairs of prizes are placed under 9x13 aluminum tins for a memory game that takes up your entire living room floor! Just a few treats and some tins is all you need for this easy game. This game also provides a “present” because they can keep their matches, or you can buy enough so everyone gets one of everything at the end.
  3. Mad Dog is a minute-to-win-it game where players place a ruler in their mouth. A tic tac container has been hot-glued to each end of the ruler. Open the containers and players have one minute to shake their heads every which way to empty the tic tac containers.
  4. Cheese-Ball Toss is a funny and silly game that requires partners for play. We plan on playing this game at a party we are hosting because the more people the better. One partner places a shower cap on their head and has shaving cream spread on top of the cap. The other partner stands across from them and in one minute must toss as many cheese balls onto their partners shaving cream covered cap. The team with the most balls on the partner’s head in one minute is the winner!
  5. Scoop It Up is another minute-to-win-it game in which players work alone to transfer six ping pong balls from one bowl to another using a spoon. The catch is they can only use their mouth!
  6. Suck and Blow is a game that is great for both kids and adults and is lots of fun. Players have one minute to transfer Reese’s Pieces (or any other similar candy) from one plate to another using a straw. Players suck the candy up with the straw and attempt to get all the candies from one plate to the next. The player with the most or all candies transferred is the winner. Make sure to count out the candies so everyone starts with the same number.
  7. Junk in the Trunk is a game that will get everyone laughing. An empty tissue box is thread onto a ribbon or adjustable belt and filled with 6-8 ping pong balls. Players have one minute to shake shimmy and jump to get all the balls out. Of course no hands are allowed!
  8. Black-Out Scavenger lets kids use the light of the menorah as well as a flashlight to go on a scavenger hunt. Kids receive a list of items they need to find in the home and collect them all. Something green, something you can spin etc. You can create your own or look online for a scavenger list. Peas Love and Carrots has one available online, as well as the one I created for my family on my Instagram page @fun.in.the.bc.
  9. Movin’ On Up has each player starting with a stack of 25 red cups with a blue one at the top (SOLO brand cups are good for this game). Start by moving the top blue cup to the bottom of the stack and continue moving cups from the top to the bottom until the blue cup is back at the top of the stack. Players have one minute to compete the challenge.
  10. Nutstacker is another minute-to-win-it game that has five hex nuts stacked on a wooden skewer and contestants have one minute and only one hand to stack the nuts one on top of another on a tabletop.
  11. Defy Gravity is a fun game for a party as well. Participants have one minute and only one hand to keep 2 (or 3 for more challenge) balloons in the air.
  12. Stack Attack has players stacking cups into a pyramid and back into a single stack in one minute. 21 cups is a good number to use.
  13. In Stack It Up, players must stack a pile of coins one on top of another using one hand.

When playing the minute-to-win-it games there is official music and an official timer that can be played from YouTube. These definitely add to the fun and help keep track of the time for everyone.

I hope you enjoy playing one or a few of these games on Chanukah and get into the family spirit of the beautiful holiday of lights. These fun games really lit up our Chanukah, and much thanks to Danielle Renov for the inspiration. A full list of the games and supplies, and links to the music, can be found in my bio of my Instagram page @fun.in.the.bc.

By Deena Friedman


Deena Friedman loves doing fun things with her family and enjoys sharing the fun on her Instagram account @fun.in.the.bc. Follow along for fun places to go, fun events going on, fun things to do with the kids and random family life in Bergen County.