Make a Dreidel for Chanukah


A Dreidel (or Sivivon in Hebrew) is a four-sided top.  The Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hay, and shin are inscribed on each of the four sides and they stand for "Nes gadol hayah sham" which means "A great miracle happened there".  During the Chanukah season a Dreidel is used to play a traditional Jewish game.

nun gimel hay shin


Here is what you'll need:

Empty Cereal Box
School Glue
Crayons or Markers
Short, sharpened Pencil (or wooden dowel about 3-inches long)
Game pieces (you can use raisins, pennies, marbles, etc)
Dreidel pattern (see below)


Step 1:

First let's print the dreidel pattern.  Click here to open a large window and print it: 

pattern thumb



Step 2:

Glue the pattern to the cardboard, let the glue dry, and then cut the paper and cardboard around the edges of the pattern  (don't cut out the little circle!)   At this point you can use crayons or markers to decorate your dreidel. 


Step 3:

Fold the pattern into a box shape and glue the flaps in place on the inside of the dreidel.  Let the glue dry for at least 30 minutes:


Completed Dreidel


Step 4:

Push the pencil or dowel through the hole so that the point comes through on the bottom.  You can add a little glue to help hold the pencil in place (just make sure to let the glue dry well).



The Dreidel Game

To play the game, first give each player 10-20 game pieces and each person puts two pieces in the middle. Then each person takes a turn spinning the dreidel.  After the dreidel finishes spinning, the letter in which it falls on determines what the player must do:


letter nun    Nun (or nicht) - do nothing.

letter gimel    Gimmel (or ganz) - take everything in the middle.

letter hay    Hay (or halb) - take half of what's in the middle (plus one if there's an odd number of pieces).

letter shin    Shin (or shtel) - put one of your pieces in the middle.


Whenever one playing piece is left in the middle (or none), each player must add 1 of their own pieces.  The first player to own ALL of the pieces is declared the winner!