Chanukah Early Childhood Parenting Songleading Young Children

10 Chanukah Songs For Early Childhood

On Chanukah, we Jews have a problem that we don’t experience other times of year. In my experience, this is the only holiday during which we get to have an overabundance of choices. (Thanks, Americanization?) Typically, I find myself laboring to find or write songs in a particular theme or topic for small Jewish children…but for Chanukah, my job is too carefully whittle down the options I have so that I can design amazing musical experiences that balance tradition and familiarity with excitement and innovation. 

1) It’s Chanukah Today by Andi Joseph

I love this song for its flexibility and simplicity. It is a zipper movement song- so the leader can swap out the action verb for any movement they see fit.

2) Chanukah Lights Counting Song- Miss Emily 

I create musical experiences that build upon familiar concepts and constructs. This Chanukah counting song for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers invites the kiddos to “win” by mastering the song- even if the only part they “know” are the numbers.

1,2,3,4 light we’ll light four nights and then we’ll light four more

5,6,7,8 Chanukah is coming, gonna’ celebrate!

Fingerplay Lyrics

3) Go To Sleep, Wake Up! – Shira Kline

Go To Sleep, Wake Up is a delightful song that engages kids in helping tell the part of the story about how the people worked and waited for 8 days before they could re-ignite their oil. I LOVE literally going through the motions of this song. I start by stretching my arms up and yawning dramatically- then I get on the floor to play the song so I can pretend to fall asleep along with the kids. Young children are far more spry than I- so instead of laying all the way on the ground, I usually put my hands palm to palm, then put them under my cheek as I rest my head on my guitar whenever it is time to “go to sleep” and I pop back into appropriate posture on “wake up!”

4) Five Little Latkes – Jackie Cytrynbaum with prop from Lisa Baydush 

Worried that two counting songs is too many? If you are working with toddlers- don’t! Repetition and routine are gifts you can offer their rapidly developing brains. This fun counting song can be done with it without props- I’ve used 5 actual potatoes as a prop, which was silly. 

5) Night by Night by Beth Schafer

I love the sweetness in this song- and it is subtly a chanukah song- I appreciate it. When I share this song with kids, I use light-up batons as rhythm sticks. We turn the lights out (make sure the tiny batteries are very well secured) and gently tap to the rhythm while we sing along and share the light! 

6) Maccabee March 

This simple diddy is a great back-pocket song for use when I get breathless songleading (it happens after moving to erran barron cohen’s beat). Before playing this recording, I let the kids know we are about to play a musical game of pretend and I ask them to stretch their bodies, warm up their muscles, and put on their listening ears.

7) Those Were The Nights by Yeshiva Boys Choir

I use screens sparingly- and only when their use elevates the musical engagement of my learner. I love this video because the production is fantastic- and it still sounds like kids. Students enjoy seeing talented kids around their age making music- and the rich imagery is great fodder for discussion. I might ask my learners to compare the chanukah celebration they see depicted with their chanukah experience. What is different? What is the same?

8) I am a Latke by Debbie Friedman

This one is particularly nostalgic for me- I remember seeing Debbie ZL perform this live and feeling pure joy and delight. In early childhood environments, this song is on the wordy side- so I mitigate that challenge by assigning “parts”- I do the verses and everyone sings the chorus. I then task the learners to be my rhythm section while I sing the verses…and distribute wooden spoons, bowls, and pans to serve as instruments. It gets noisy- so make sure you have a clear cue for stopping the sound and a plan to distribute and clean up your ‘musical instrument’ props.

9) Puppy for Chanukah by Daveed Diggs

  1. Puppy for Chanukah

This is a silly song. It’s best quality is that it features Daveed Diggs. My children go bananas over it and it is so popular that it got its’ own Little Golden book:

10) Chanukah O Chanukah

This song is a classic and I predict it will remain that way- and I LOVE the diversity of styles recordings of this song offers. I typically sing this in many different ways over the 3-4 week span of singing chanukah songs in an early childhood learning center. I’ll start by sharing an illustrated version.

This Hanukkah oh Hanukkah kindle book is an illustrated version of the lyrics, I might project this like I would a slide deck, asking participants to sing along. My favorite rendition is by Borat’s brother, Erran Barron Cohen- and I’ll let it be the grand finale to this list. I hope you finding light and power in your singing this season!


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