“Girl color” or “boy color.” Adult role model included.
In which I modify store-bought dreidel kits, and lament the gendering of an otherwise gender-neutral toy. Continue reading
My Earnest Sunday School Teacher hat is on:
Dreidels are great teaching tools. To paint and decorate a dreidel means a kid learns the 4 Hebrew letters and how to form them, and the Hebrew acronym that points to the reason for the season: Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there.) And, there’s the dreidel game, of course, which Continue reading
print this JPEG or click on the pdf link below
Need a quick visual to remind players of dreidel game rules? Or to show kids the shapes of nun, gimmel, hey and shin for dreidel crafts? Or what the letters on a dreidel stand for? Click this link to print the pdf: Dreidel Letter Cheat Sheet Continue reading
Mmmmmmm, a menorah made of meat, in honor of the Shabbat during Hanukkah.
Actually, I made two:
1) a free-standing meatloaf menorah, and
2) a flat, branched meatloaf menorah (see below). Continue reading
tangram dreidel toast
A tangram toast dreidel may prove to be my least popular post, but as I tell my children, you gotta be you, even if no one wants to be around the you you gotta be. Continue reading
I give you an edible dreidel that actually spins. It shares the chief values of the marshmallow dreidel and my mini-marshmallow dreidels—values which lie in the building, the writing upon (with food-safe markers) and the eating. To these attractions, the caramel dreidel adds the bonus of spin. Continue reading
re-used gelt bags
Here’s a quick, cheap way to make teeny goody bags for your Hanukkah classroom visit. IF you do gelt.
These are very, very simple. I could go all Target Dollar Spot and use fancy bags and woven ribbon and include more gelt and hand-lettered name tags, but this particular goody baglet is meant to be a token gift for a minor holiday: a good-will gesture from the token Jews in the room. Continue reading
Two-sided tags: dreidel rules and a 2 sentence explanation of Hanukkah
I usually give out dreidels when I’m the Hanukkah Parent on a classroom visit. Dreidels are fun to spin, they (sort of) tell the story of Hanukkah in 4 letters, and they distract the children from the fact that I’m not giving them any gelt at all (long story).
Most of the kids aren’t Jewish, so they haven’t grown up playing dreidel. They don’t know from dreidel rules, AT ALL. Granted, nowadays mum and dad can Google the rules on an iPhone right there in the school parking lot the minute kiddo gets into the minivan, BUT… Continue reading
Glow in the Dark Dreidel Arena
Of course a glow-in-the-dark Dreidel Arena needs a glow-in-the-dark dreidel. Why didn’t I think of it before? My friend Kathryn (at Joyful Jewish) put me up to it after she read about my arena idea last week. And that’s when the stealth crafting began… Continue reading
print it, show it to your kid.
Beloved LEGO nerds and LEGO enablers: print this picture, show it to your kid and let her rummage through the LEGO bins to find the seven, particular pieces. (Rummaging is part of the fun. Match the part to the pic: how many studs across and down? Brick or plate?) She can assemble the seven pieces as per the illustration. She can then add the letters. Voila: a LEGO dreidel.
Should your bins not produce all these parts, just substitute. Four 2×2 bricks are Continue reading
giant Hot Wheels track dreidel arena
If you get crabby when dreidels fall off the table or roll under the sofa, a dreidel arena is key to a happy Hanukkah. An arena corrals the dreidels and (says the Montessori in me) defines the play space. And, if your dreidel play includes battles, an arena is a must: the sides keep dreidels in action longer and coax them back toward each other.
A purposely-marketed dreidel arena is hard to find—with one notable exception below—but you can convert something from junk at home. For example, a laminate-topped breakfast tray with legs is ideal: mine has seen about 18 years of dreidel action at home and at Hanukkah Parent school visits. My all-time favorite is a clean train table: it’s big enough for a crowd and it stands Continue reading
LEGO dreidel kit giveaway
Would you like to win a LEGO dreidel kit? Ideally, you’ve all got enough parts at home to make a whole battalion of unique, custom dreidel models, but in case you don’t, take some of mine. The more LEGO dreidels in the world, the better. Continue reading
DIY LEGO dreidels in progress
I am in search of the perfect LEGO dreidel. In this case, perfection means cheap, easy and fun. The model will need to attract Chanukah carnival go-ers between the ages of four and eleven, each of whom will be offered a chance to make and take said ideal dreidel. Thus, above all, it’s going to have to spin. Really spin.
My search might benefit you, too: you, the grownup with a LEGO lover at home or in the classroom. The act of building a LEGO dreidel is chock full o’ educational benefits. So many elements to consider: you’ve got to have four balanced sides; a low center of gravity; a minimum of friction; a smooth, wide contact point and a design that doesn’t fling itself to bits when it bashes into another dreidel. Figuring all this out with your kid is more than half the fun. Continue reading
spinning Swim Noodle Dreidel
I couldn’t resist. What better accompaniment to a Swim Noodle Menorah than a Swim Noodle Dreidel? Besides, I had noodle waste.
When one trims a swim noodle to the appropriate Menorah candle length, one generates noodle waste.
How I made it:
As a complete afterthought, believe me. It ain’t pretty, but it SPINS. Continue reading
When Hanukkah and Shabbat coincide, the challah deserves a thematic tweak. The preschooler and I made a big Menorah Challah and a few little Dreidels.
We learned that using food dye to color the “flames” orange is not worth the trouble. After the challah is baked, the food color merges with the golden egg wash. But it was fun to try, and now we have orange palms for the rest of the day. Continue reading
The intersection of Lego and Jewish holidays is always fun. Especially if the constructions actually do stuff. Like spin.
Here are a few Lego dreidels we created with oddments at home. They all spin, some better than others. Ideally, they’d all have the proper letter on each side: nun, gimmel, hey and shin, but I only added letters to the dreidels we figured on Continue reading
Origami Dreidel station at the Chanukah Carnival
This is a classic design, and fairly easy to teach to little kids. It comes from Florence Temko’s book Jewish Origami (still in print).
You’ll need a square of any size paper. To teach kids, it will be easier to have a pretty large square: at least 9 by 9 if you are cutting down from a regular sheet of construction paper. Even better if you have big origami paper that is white on one side.
I used large rubber stamps for the Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin, and let the kids choose which letter they wanted on the body of the dreidel. You can use stickers, foam stickers, stamps made from other materials (potatoes, which would be appropriate during latke season), stencils, foam aleph-bet puzzle pieces or just free-hand it.
No matter what method, please include a visual guide showing each letter and the name of the letter. I also included what each letter stands for.
We loved making these so much we tried it with napkins and even one square of toilet paper.
The dreidels make great Hanukkah cards (unless created from toilet paper), either on their own or glued to a folded piece of paper, or you can string them as a garland as suggested on the cover of Temko’s book. We’ve also used them as placecards at dinner and as gift tags.
Temko’s design is also available online from the Origami Swami, who claims permission to present.
In the Dreidel Cookies post, I mentioned a little card attached to the cookies dressed for a bake sale. I couldn’t bear the thought that the cookies, created with such intent, might get scarfed down without the scarfer understanding what they were scarfing. The card explained the name and meaning of each letter.
Same with the little dreidel/candy gifts we brought for my son’s class. (I did cave and add one piece of gelt to the dreidel, but I’m not sure I’ll do this next year. See “Hanukkah Parent Guidelines” post about such things.) I made a slightly different card for the dreidels: Continue reading