Today I’m sharing how to make easy clay menorahs that are easy for toddlers and preschool children. These are made with air-dry clay, so no baking is necessary.
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Supplies – Clay Menorah
- Air Dry Clay
- Small bowl of water
- Clay tools such as popsicle sticks, rolling pins, and cookie cutters
- Acrylic paints for painting the surface. Liquitex is a solid brand.
- Mod Podge or acrylic clear coat to seal it with a shiny coating
Cover your work surface with a vinyl tablecloth or work on a non-precious surface that easily wipes clean.
If you’re making a Hanukkiah (it holds nine candles, rather than seven), talk about the story of Chanukah and how the Chanukah menorah has eight candles + 1, the shamash, to represent the miracle that oil burned continuously for eight days.
Invite your child/ren to make menorahs. Encourage creativity and original thinking.
We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our home, so, as some might agree, our children get the best of both worlds! But it can also be a tricky mash-up of cultures, but I guess it makes sense to my kids who know nothing else.
The other day we discovered a new-to-us A-mazing teacher supply store, and came home with a 2.5 pound bucket of Crayola Air Dry Clay to make our very own menorahs. It cost just $5, and I cannot recommend this clay enough.
It feels just like the clay you throw pots on, and my kids were enthralled by the texture. So unlike play dough, and it has the potential to make long-lasting objects.
We started with a mound of clay, rolled it out with our new rolling pin, scored at a Waldorf school winter festival, and poked a candle into the clay eight times. N placed one of our menorahs on the table as inspiration.
Menorahs hold nine candles, eight for the eight nights of Hanukkah, and a ninth called the shamash (meaning “attendant”) that lights the other candles.
Meanwhile, my 15 month old got into the clay spirit. She’s been copying everything her sister does, and after seeing this magic, I wished I had given her a bigger piece of clay to play with.
To make room for the shamash, we decided to build a little mound by making a ball of clay, scoring both sides of where it would connect with hatch marks, and then pressing the pieces together.
We used a little water and a popsicle stick to smooth out the edges. I read that if there are cracks in this clay it can fall apart once dry, so we were sure to smooth all those cracks right out with water.
And then N decided to use a wooden stick to poke a pattern of holes all over the menorah.
And a hole for the shamash.
My little one was happy to play with a small pot of water and the goopy clay.
Now we have to let the clay dry for 2-3 days before painting it. If you’d like to join us and make an air dry menorah too, you should be able to find Crayola Air Dry Clay at Target, Walmart, Office Depot or on Amazon for $5.99.
So far, I love this product, and I think we’ll make handprint ornaments with it tomorrow!