Hanukkah 2020 – Celebrating Together while Apart

Dana Cappel, occupational therapist 11, December 2020

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school children playing with the Dredielit app

Students from the school playing the dreidel game with the Dreidelit app

This week, Jews around the world begin to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights. The holiday is a favorite of children, filled with family gatherings, candle lighting, gifts and of course, delicious foods. This year, many of us will be celebrating differently as we continue to practice social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with many challenges these days, technology can help us to continue our family traditions. We’ve put a few ideas together for you for celebrating together while apart.

Ordering Jelly Donuts Online

One of our favorite Hanukkah traditions at The School for Special Education at Beit Issie Shapiro is our annual outing to a famous local bakery chain to buy sufganiyot, fancy jelly donuts. We review the menu beforehand so each student can decide what they want to buy and we make sure that every student has the communication aids they need to order on their own, including communication grids, recorded messages, and gestures, as needed. This year, restaurants are closed to in-person service, but we were not ready to give up on our jelly donuts, so we took the opportunity to teach our students how to order food delivery online – an important skill for daily living these days!

We explored the website together on our big screen and then each student told us in turn what they wanted, filling the order with their choices. It’s a great opportunity to practice money skills and also to explore the differences between ordering in person and ordering online. I can’t wait to see their faces when their donuts show up in the classroom!

screenshot of menu in GRID3

An example of an accessible menu


screenshot of Roladin website

Students fill in their order on the website

Hannukah jelly donuts are an artform in Israel, so you may not have the wild choices that we do, but you can still make a baked goods order from your own local bakery or food delivery service.

Digital Dreidel

Kids love to play with dreidels on Hannukah. The classic game has children spinning the dreidel to win coins (real or chocolate). The children can still play dreidel with cousins or friends even though you may not be celebrating together. Simply sharescreen with Dreidelit (iOS, Android), our customizable and accessible dreidel app while on a Zoom with family or friends and spin away! Learn more about the app in this post.

screenshot of dreidel it app

Dreidelit app, available for free on Google Play and the App Store


Make latkes (potato pancakes) with Toca Kitchen (iOS, Android)

Our students love to play with the Toca Kitchen apps. The characters are silly and there are many fun things you can make in the kitchen. We often use the apps in our lessons as well, working on verbs and adjectives, writing sentences, etc…a fun way to make language lessons engaging. For Hanukkah, we write a recipe together with the students then feed latkes to the characters in the app. It may not be as delicious as your grandmother’s latkes but it’s definitely fun. Have fun with friends by sharing the app in a Zoom call and play together using “remote control”.


screenshot of recipe in GRID3

Recipe for making latkes in Toca Kitchen using GRID3


frying pan with potato latke

Frying latkes in Toca Kitchen

Happy Hanukkah and stay safe!



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