Created by contributors in grades K-8, the HyattsKIDS Life & Times features local news, columns, and comics from our city’s youngest journalists.  Our editors are Evan LeFevre and Claudia Romero Garvey.  To participate, contact adult adviser Mary Frances Jiménez:

Sharing about Hanukkah
By Delia Silva, age 12

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday celebrated between late fall and early winter. Many centuries ago, the Greeks banned practices of Judaism and destroyed the temple. But a small group of Jews fought back, and after they won they found a small jar of oil that they thought could only last for a day. But, miraculously, the jar of oil lasted for 8 days straight! 

Some common traditions of Hanukkah include lighting the menorah, which is a candle holder that holds 9 candles. The 4 candles on each side represent each of the 8 nights and the center candle is used to light the other candles. You light the candles for 8 nights and say a special prayer in Hebrew. Also, kids like to play with a spinning top called a dreidel. A traditional food to eat during Hanukkah is called latkes, which are shredded potatoes that are cooked in oil. The latkes represent the oil that lasted for 8 days. In my house, we light the candles each night and say the prayer. Also, we exchange presents. 

Games, paintings, and more with supplies from Artists & Craftsman
By Talika Gorski, age 10

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A DIY board game will please everyone on your list.
Photo byline: Talika Gorski

Artist & Craftsman Supply Hyattsville is a local shop that sells art supplies, DIY kits and assorted trinkets. They’ve been open for 5 years and they’re awesome! I interviewed Jen, a member of their staff, about good holiday gifts from the store.

Jen’s personal recommendation was Prismacolor colored pencils because they are easy for kids to draw with. Jen suggested paint supplies for kids of different ages.  For younger kids, acrylic paints are good for finger painting. Kids 9 to 12 are more serious about their art and may enjoy red, yellow and blue paints to mix their own colors, along with a 12 by 11 canvas. And finally, for ages 13 and beyond, Jen suggested oil paints and Princeton brushes because oil paints are useful for a variety of styles and Princeton brushes are high quality.

A personal painting would make a great gift, but if you don’t like to paint, you could try making a board game!  Here are some of my top tips for building a board game:  

  1. Think of a theme (i.e. superheroes, holiday, food, etc.) and a title.
  2. Think of an objective (how you win).
  3. Gather materials.
  4. Make a board (I use recycled cardboard) – and make it fancy!
  5. Write down instructions.
  6. Make or buy game pieces (air-dry clay works well).
  7. Find and decorate a shoe box or other container to put it in.
  8. Get a dice or spinner, if needed.
  9. Make playing cards and/or play tokens, if needed.
  10. Play with friends and family!

Many things you will need can be purchased at Artist and Craftsman Supply, such as giant wooden dice, blank puzzle pieces, play money, game pieces, regular dice, and a circle game board. They even have a section in the store dedicated to creating your own board game!

Making a DIY Ornament for Friends and Family
By Mason Vosmek, age 13

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The Vosmek family has a tradition of making handmade tree ornaments each year.
Photo byline: Mason Vosmek

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means you’ll have to think of gifts you can make for your loved ones. This year, why not try some ornaments? There are a lot of pros to making home-made ornaments. For one, they’re very easy to make. If you’re low on supplies, all you really need is some paper and crayons. However, they can be very complex too, if you want to challenge yourself. 

In this short article I’m going to go over three different methods of making a tree ornament, each of increasing complexity and difficulty. First, you can make a simple paper ornament with some blank paper, coloring tools, and a hole puncher. To hang it on something, simply use a bent paper clip. Next is the foil ornament. By using a small ball of foil, you can create a cool metallic effect with your ornament. It also has the bonus of being able to be made into whatever shape you want. Third, if you’re a little older and feel up to the challenge, you can make a wooden ornament. For this one you’ll definitely need some woodworking tools and a parent’s assistance. However, the result looks very professional, and will be a great adornment for any holiday celebration. So if you’re looking for a gift, consider any one of these methods to have a great present–and to have a great time making it.

Three Little Birds: Your destination for DIY gifting
By Bella Romero, age 12

The holidays are coming up, along with the cold winter season, and the perfect gift for a friend might be a handmade scarf or hat! One great place to find the supplies would be Three Little Birds Sewing Co., a local Hyattsville business located on Baltimore Avenue. They have a variety of supplies not only for sewing, but also knitting, cross stitch, and much more. 

Beautiful fabrics would make a great Christmas pillow. And for a younger kid learning to sew, they have many different sewing kits that could be good presents. Not quite comfortable with the needle yet, but aspire to be? Three Little Birds offers sewing classes for kids and adults. Whether you are an experienced needleworker or new to the art, Three Little Birds Sewing Co. has got the right gift for you or your friends.

HyattsKIDS seeks submissions

Are you a kid artist who’d like to see your work published in the Hyattsville Life & Times?  How about a writer or comic aficionado looking to make your big break?  HyattsKIDS seeks contributions from kids of all ages to feature in upcoming issues.  Submit your art and story ideas, along with your name, age, address, and the name of your school to