Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 3: Alternative Dreidel Game

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Dreidel
  • Small tokens such as M&Ms(R), raisins, hard candies, or pennies, at least ten per participant

Preparation for Activity

  • Memorize the rules for this spinning top game, including which Hebrew letter (nun, gimmel, hay, shin) corresponds with each action. Find instructions on Wikipedia.
  • If you don't have a dreidel, you can order one online; one source is the Chocolate Gelt company. Or, you can make one. The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews offers a template for making a paper dreidel. The dreidel will work better if you stick a short, sharpened pencil through the center.

Description of Activity

The dreidel game is a popular Hanukkah activity, but an altered version can also be a fun way to explore the power of giving half. Follow the usual instructions, but when the letter hay comes up, rather than taking half of the tokens in the pot, the player contributes half of the tokens they have accumulated to another player of their choice. When the game is done, talk about how it felt to be giving items away, rather than taking them. How did the players choose the recipient who would get half their tokens? Do they think the game would work better in the traditional way, in which players take half of the pot when the hay comes up, or is it better this way? You may wish to give participants the option to try both versions.

Including All Participants

Be ready to help children spin the dreidel.