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Hanukkah Math- Dreidel Math Game for Kids

Hanukkah Math- Dreidel Math Game for Kids

It can be fun to practice math through games, and this Hanukkah dreidel math game can make learning exciting during the holidays.

When I was growing up, I enjoyed playing this with my friends. It’s been fun introducing this to some of my students and to my children. It can be adapted in different ways to make it more or less challenging, depending on what children can do.  

There are four sides of a dreidel, and each side is labelled with a different letter from the Hebrew alphabet –

  • נ‎ (nun – nothing)
  • ג‎ (gimel – everything or all)
  • ה‎ (hei – half)
  • ש‎ (shin – put in)

To start the game, everyone gets ten or another equal number of ‘treasures’ such as chocolate coins. Each player puts one treasure into a pile (pot) in the middle of the table. Then the children can take turns spinning the dreidel. 

If someone spins the nun, the player does nothing. Then if they spin gimel, they get to take the entire pot in the middle. If they spin hei, they get to take half of the pot. Finally, if they spin shin, they add one of their pieces to the pot. The players keep taking turns until one person has collected the entire pot of treasures.

For younger children, you might change the labels and put +1, -1, all, none on each side so that they can practice adding or taking away one. Alternatively, you could put +5, -5 or other numbers. For older children, you might make it more complicated such as take 1/4, 1/3, 3/4, 2/5, etc., from the pot. Older children might even make their own rules.

What you need

  • Dreidel
  • Chocolate coins or alternative prizes such as ‘jewels’, counters, pom poms, candies etc.
  • Paper, tape (or sticky lable) & pen – to use if you would like to tape different numbers onto the dreidels.

Hanukkah Math- Questions to ask

  • How many coins do you have?
  • How many coins are in the pot?
  • Who has the most? Who has the least?

What they get from it

This game can be a fun way to learn a little bit about Hanukkah. Playing with a dreidel is also a fun math game. It can be adapted so that children can practice adding, subtracting, dividing (finding 1/2, 1/4, etc.) or whatever skill children might need to practice.

Dreidel Math Game – Take it further

As discussed, this game can be adapted making it more challenging for children to practice the math skills that they are learning. Children might want to try out other mathematical games such as tic tac toe or nim. If you would like some more fun math inspiration, you can see my posts Outdoor Maths for EYFS (3-5-year-olds),  Outdoor Math Activities KS1 (5-7-year-olds), Outdoor Maths for KS2 (7-10-year-olds).

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