If you don’t celebrate Chanukah, then you may have never played the dreidel game before. By the way, Hanukkah is the easier way to spell it, for those who don’t care for the more authentic, clear-your-throat kind of sound represented by “Ch.”
What’s a dreidel? It’s a toy with 4 sides that you spin like a top. Each side has a Hebrew letter on it. When a child spins the dreidel (good for fine motor skills, by the way), one letter lands face-up. Each letter tells players what to do next.
We’ll get to the basic game rules in a moment.
First, I’d like to introduce you to Seek & Find & Color Me – Dreidels. You don’t need to celebrate Chanukah in order to enjoy the dreidel game OR this seek and find printable inside The Free Printables Collection.
Children strengthen visual discrimination skills, visual figure ground skills, and more all in the name of fun.
The Hebrew letters on this skill-building printable are likely unfamiliar to most kids. This makes the visual discrimination challenge even greater. Because more focused attention is required, kids exercise their attention skills even more as well.
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Okay, back to the dreidel game.
If you don’t happen to have a dreidel lying around, Google created this virtual one for you. How cool is that?
The Dreidel Game Basics
The 4 Hebrew letters on a dreidel include nun (think “nook” with an “n” at the end instead of a “k”), gimmel, hey, shin.
All players start with an equal amount of game pieces. Chanukah gelt, a.k.a. chocolate coins, are popular for this but you can choose anything you’d like. Real coins? Legos, maybe? Choose about 15 or so each.
Everyone places one game piece into the “pot” to start, AND one after every turn.
Take turns spinning the dreidel.
When it lands on…
נ – Nun – Do nothing. Every player then adds one more piece to the pot. The next player takes a turn.
ג – Gimmel – Great! You get the whole pot! Every player adds one more. The next player takes a turn.
ה – Hey – Take half the pot! Every player adds one more. The next player takes a turn.
ש – Shin – Shucks. Add one piece to the pot. Every player (including you) adds one more. The next player takes a turn.
When does the game end? Whenever you want it to, or whenever you’ve all snuck too much chocolate into your mouths thinking nobody was looking. Funny how quickly that gelt disappears!
For kids who struggle with letter recognition and/or visual discrimination, be sure to point out just how similar the nun and the gimmel look. Encourage them to pay special attention there, especially on the Seek & Find & Color Me – Dreidels activity.
You might also enjoy the Chanukah Visual Memory Matching Game that also lives inside The Free Printables Collection. Scroll way, way, waaaay down The FPC page for that one, but first, either sign in or sign up below. Happy Chanukah!