Dreidel Party Games for Kids

Hanukkah fairs and Hanukkah parties are sometimes not the best place for a traditional dreidel game - particularly for younger kids.  Human Dreidel and Dreidel Musical Chairs are great alternative versions that use the traditional dreidel top as an integral game element.

Human Dreidel has a few variations:

Version 1: 

  1. Create a mat decorated with the 4 hebrew letters of the dreidel - one to a corner
  2. Participants are blindfolded and must spin in the center of the mat.
  3. After each spint they take off the blindfold and see where they are facing.  If its not a gimel then they can spin again.  If its a gimel then they get a prize.

Version 2:

  1. All participants starts spinning at the same time.
  2. The last participant standing is the winner and receives a prize.

Version 3:

  1. The game leader spins a real dreidel
  2. The participant needs to see if they can spin - and remain standing - longer than the dreidel spins.  If they do - they can play another round.  (For most, each round gets progressively harder as they get more and more dizzy.)

For very young kids a good dreidel variation is pass the dreidel.

There are a couple nice "mashup" versions of dreidel for grade schoolers including dreidel roulette and dreidel poker.  Here are rules for Dreidel baseball.

"Call a letter out then take three 'swings' (spins).  If a letter appears once out of three, it's a single!  Twice -- double!  All three times -- triple!  After a triple or a double you receive an extra turn to spin one more time.  Guess the outcome exactly and its a home run."

This last variation is from the book A Different Light, and originally from an article by Larry Bush and Susan Griss - which describes a few more variations including Prophetic Dreidel, Dreidel Yahtzee, Dreidl Huff 'n' Puff race track game, Chai Score blackjack-based game, Dreidl Olympics and Stack the Latkes, a musical chairs game:

"Players march (skip, hop, go backwards, twirl) in a circle around the chairs while the dreidl is spinning (a veteran spinner should do the spinning). When dreidl stops, everyone finds a chair or a lap! Unlike in the classical game, no one is "out," but one chair is removed with each round until, by game's end, the players are stacked up on the last remaining (sturdy!) chair."

For Hanukkah parties with older kids try a traditional game of dreidel - or better yet a competitive dreidel tournament.  For teen or adult hanukkah parties try these additional variations.

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