Spinning Tales of Tradition
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, brings with it a delightful array of traditions and activities that seniors in aged care will love. Among them, the dreidel game stands out as a cherished pastime that transcends generations. This four-sided spinning top, adorned with Hebrew letters, holds a special place in the hearts of children and adults alike. The letters, Nun, Gimel, Hay, and Shin, collectively spell out “A Miracle Happened Here” or “A Miracle Happened There,” depending on your location. It’s not just a game; it’s a way to honor the miraculous events of Hanukkah.
Crafting Fun and Learning
In the spirit of embracing traditions and creating joyous moments, why not introduce the dreidel game to your residents in aged care? You can easily craft a batch of dreidels during a lively craft session, allowing your residents to engage in a creative endeavor that will, in turn, bring smiles to visiting children or serve as heartfelt presents. Here’s how to embark on this crafty adventure:
Crafting Your Own Dreidel
- Template (provided in our PDF download)
- Construction paper in any color
- Crayons, paint and brushes, or images cut from magazines
- Safety scissors
- Thick black marker
- Spare pencils, at least 18cm (7 inches) long
- Paper hole puncher
- Download the template and trace it onto construction paper.
- Cut around the template, then fold the flaps as illustrated in the photo.
- Make a small hole on the flap where the pencil will be inserted.
- Hand out the dreidels to residents for decorating with crayons or paint. It’s best to do this step first, as decorating becomes tricky once the dreidels are assembled.
- Use a thick black marker to write the Hebrew words (NUN, GIMMEL, HAY, SHIN) on each side. Alternatively, you can write the words on different colored paper, cut them out, and glue them to the dreidels.
- Assemble the dreidels by gluing the side flap first, followed by the bottom, and finally the top. You might need to assist participants with the gluing process.
Playing the Dreidel Game
Now that you have your beautifully crafted dreidels, it’s time to gather around and enjoy the game. Here’s how it works:
- Gather four to six players around a table.
- Each player should have 15-20 objects at their disposal, which could be anything from fake money to soda lids or even discarded game pieces like Scrabble letters, checkers, dominoes, or any other small items.
- Place a box or container in the center of the table to hold these objects.
- Each player contributes one object to the container at the beginning of the game.
- Taking turns, each player spins the dreidel. Depending on which Hebrew letter it lands on, the game unfolds as follows:
- NUN (נ): If the dreidel lands on this letter, it signifies “nothing.” The player does nothing and passes the dreidel to the next person.
- GIMMEL (ג): A spin landing on “Gimmel” means “all.” The player claims everything from the container.
- HAY (ה): When the dreidel stops at “Hay,” signifying “half,” the player takes half of the objects from the container.
- SHIN (ש): If the dreidel shows “Shin,” indicating “put in,” the player adds two objects into the container.
- If the container becomes empty during the game (e.g., when the dreidel lands on Gimmel), each player must contribute one object to refill it.
- The game continues until one player wins everything in the container, emerging as the ultimate dreidel champion!
Engaging in the dreidel game isn’t just about playful competition; it’s a wonderful opportunity for residents to connect with a cherished Hanukkah tradition while fostering camaraderie and a sense of shared joy. So, gather your residents and embark on this delightful journey of spinning tops and merriment!
Download your printable PDF copy of Dreidel Game for Seniors: A Hanukkah Tradition