We unpacked our holiday bin this week. It felt a bit like a Lifetime movie; the boys helping me slide and unstack boxes in the attic until we found the right one, then squeezing down the stairs alongside me and the big green bin, jostling to get a glimpse of the contents.
The highlights – a Curious George Thanksgiving book, last year’s homemade dreidels and menorahs, Hanukah window gels and our holiday version of the Spot It! card game.
My kids (especially Noah) love Spot It!, the fast-paced matching game from Blue Orange Games. If you haven’t played, try the free demo here. The circular tin includes 57 symbols, 55 cards, with 8 symbols on each card. By creation of some mathematical genius, there is only one matching symbol between any two cards in the deck. The recommended age is six, but Noah has loved it since age 3. The decks are themed – Alphabet, MLB, NHL, Spanish, French, San Francisco and more – and at ten to fifteen dollars each, make great little gifts for all ages.
Last year, our local Learning Express toy store gave out mini Holidays Spot It! sets with a Spot It! purchase. Like many “holiday” editions, this one was pretty Christmas-y, save for a snowflake and an (arguably) secular snowman (why do snowman so often don Santa hats and green scarves?).
Noah loved the new game and learned a pretty good Christmas vocabulary – from ornaments and jingle bells to Rudolph and cookies and milk. I was glad for the chance to explain the symbols to him to give him an idea of how many of our friends celebrate this time of year, though I can’t imagine what it’s like to take in all the American traditions of Christmas, all at once. What was he was thinking when I explained each symbol as they arose in the game — kids who get coal in their stocking, Santa coming down the chimney, leaving presents, having cookies and milk and driving away with the reindeer. I’m not sure if I made Christmas sound wonderful or terrifying.
Of course, he asked when we could get the Hanukah version of Spot it. There isn’t one. So…you can imagine where this is going, right?
We pulled both our Hanukkah and Christmas Spot It out of the box and played last night. I was surprised that (1) at this time last year, I managed to find the time to make our own Spot It, and (2) our version played as well as the official. With Hanukkah just a little over a week away, playing the game was a fun way to remind the boys of latkes, gelt and the letters on the dreidel. Since you have to shout out the match as soon as you spot it, their Hanukkah vocabulary was quickly refreshed.
You can print your own set of our Hanukkah game by downloading this file: Hanukah Spot It 2013. As the PDF is formatted for Avery #22807 2-inch Round Labels, you can print on sticker labels and then adhere to pre-cut cardstock circles (we used a two inch hole puncher). If those supplies are unavailable, print onto cardstock and use scissors and a 2 inch circle guide to cut out.
Not Jewish? Try it anyway! We like Christmas Spot It and hope you’ll like our version too, including this Hanukkah Spot It Guide to the holiday symbols on our cards. You can also check out Sesame Street’s Hanukkah story on YouTube.
Want to make your own Spot It version? You could have a Spot It themed about your child, your family, your town or a place you are traveling. It’s not a quick project, but it’s worthwhile and you can involve the kids in the creating. Here’s how:
- First, get to know the official Spot It by purchasing one here.
- Photocopy the instructions and guide to the symbols. Substitute one of your images for each image on the Spot It guide. Then use Avery’s design software to re-create a deck of cards with your images instead. Kids can help by brainstorming images and matching the Spot It image to your substituted image to make a working deck.
- Print sticker labels and assemble cards as described above.