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Play a Life-Size Dreidel Game


Updated March 11, 2013

dreidel and gelt
Derek E. Rothchild
The dreidel game is a staple of Hanukkah celebrations everywhere, but here's a new spin on an ancient favorite. Play the game with a life-size, human "dreidel"!
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: About 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. First, you need to know the basics of how to play the dreidel game.
  2. Make a dreidel mat using a large piece of cardboard or paper, an old sheet or exercise mat, or even painter's tape directly on the floor. Divide the surface into four squares, and label each square with one of the Hebrew letters used in the dreidel game: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hey) and ש (Shin).
  3. To play, a child stands in the center of the mat. Blindfold him (or ask him to close his eyes) and then have him spin just like a dreidel does!
  4. The player spins until he can't spin anymore, or you can set a pre-determined time limit.
  5. Remove the blindfold or have the player open his eyes. Which quadrant of the mat is he in? Distribute gelt (or an alternate prize) as needed.
  6. Move on to the next player.
  7. Stop when everyone's too dizzy to continue!


  1. Consider making or decorating a dreidel hat or crown to go along with your dreidel game. Whichever player is spinning can wear the hat.
  2. Variation: All Play. Put all the players on the mat at the same time and see who can spin the longest, or end up on the gimmel and win all the prizes.
  3. Variation: Beat the Dreidel Game. Spin a real dreidel on the floor or table nearby while a player spins on the mat. Who can spin the longest?
  4. Variation: Musical Dreidel Game (no mat required). Like musical chairs, only instead of music playing, have a dreidel spinning. When it stops, the players must stop and find a chair to sit in. Instead of eliminating players who don't get to a chair in time, have them sit on another player's lap.

What You Need

  • Dreidel (for some variations)
  • Supplies to make a floor mat: cardboard, paper, old fabric; markers or tape
  • Prizes, such as chocolate coins (gelt)
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