Dreidel Boredom Prevention

caramel dreidel

spinning caramel dreidel

Midweek-Hanukkah Dreidel boredom? I hear from grownups every year: “five minutes and they’re done with dreidel.”
Either I’m an infant or you guys aren’t playing right. You don’t have to play the dreidel game and only the dreidel game.
Upside-down launches, launch from a standing throw, dreidel wars, spin contests, instant battle arenas, glow-in-the-dark paint and so forth can sustain dreidel love for more than 5 minutes. It’s about the love of spin.

First, do you own a variety of store-bought dreidels? The more, the better: all sizes, materials. Some are better than others at the upside-down business. (The one-inch plastic or wooden kind are stellar.) At school, I add some secular tops, too, for compare/contrast.

I highly recommend a dreidel arena. It keeps play contained, focused. They are free, instant and made of stuff already lying around.

Add some DIY LEGO, K’NEX —or any material you and your kid find irresistible—and you’ve got 8 days of dreidel variety.

Here’s a roundup of Bible Belt Balabusta dreidel posts thus far:

Dreidel Game / Letter names, meanings (Printable)
Dreidel Arenas
, instant (out of stuff already lying around)
LEGO Dreidel (
Printable How-to for simple square version)
LEGO Dreidel DIY ideas,
here and here
K’NEX Spinning Driedels DIY
K;NEX Spinning Dreidel launcher DIY
Origami Dreidels
(flat, for cards, banners)
Origami Dreidels (that actually spin)
Caramel Dreidels (that spin)
Marshmallow Dreidels (reg. and mini)
Dreidel Tangram Puzzle (printable)
Driedel Tangram Toast
Dreidel Arenas (Glow in the Dark Necklace chains)
Glow-in-the-Dark Dreidels (spray paint)
Decorate a Dreidel (options for kids to add letters, etc.)
Swim Noodle Dreidel
Dreidel Challah
Dreidel Cookies with chocolate letters

Dreidel Science: I highly recommend the nonfiction picture book Four Sides, Eight Nights: a New Spin on Hanukkah, by Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi. Among other fascinating tidbits and lore, It relates just enough about “friction, inertia, tangential points and speed as they relate to the art and science of dreidel”  to make you feel absolutely brilliant.  (Quote is from my 2005 review of the book in BookPage.)


5 responses to “Dreidel Boredom Prevention

  1. We play a five spin game with each letter worth it’s gematria equivalent. Nun 50 points, gimel,3, hay 5, shin 300.

  2. Do any of the dreidels have a ‘Po’, instead of a ‘Shin’, for the Israeli consumers ?

    • All my dreidels projects are do-it-yourself, so if the maker adds a Pey instead of Shin, the dreidel will certainly be usable in Israel. Since I live in the US, my students make the Shin versions, but we play with lovely Israeli dreidels in the classroom and discuss the difference.

  3. I have the answer to this problem. I call it the “nun intervention”. (Someone will hopefully come up with a catchier name.) It goes like this. Nun is boring, right? At least 1/4 of the time (seems like more doesn’t it), someone rolls Nun. Well, not anymore. The person who rolls Nun gets to say what happens when the *next* person rolls Nun. As in, “The next person who rolls Nun has to run around the table like a chicken”. Watch as dreidel immediately becomes riveting and everyone waits for the next person to roll Nun. Just keep an eye on things so they don’t get out of control!