Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 Dec5_MenorahOn the first night of Hanukkah Anna got a very special present from me – a dreidel that I brought over from my last trip to Israel. It was not as easy to find a dreidel in Israel as I hoped. I was there in the middle of the summer and people looked at me very funny when I asked whether I can buy a dreidel. Even Judaica stores didn’t have them, but fortunately an airport souvenir store did. Anna took to the game with all the gusto of a born-again gambler – I think we have to keep this girl as far away from Las Vegas as possible. Of course, inability to eat her loot might cool her enthusiasm for money games, but still…

Dec2_Dreidel

I was thinking as we were playing dreidel every night this week how this game is perfect for early math skills (and possibly for money management too if you want to play with real money). There is counting, adding and subtracting, figuring out if the pot is odd or even and taking a half (dividing into two). There is also an implicit code breaking – each letter means some sort of action that needs to be taken. I kind of feel sad that this game is played only for 8 days a year, but maybe that’s what makes it even more magical.

I am linking this post to We Play at Childhood 101 and Math Links hosted by A Joyful Learner. And, in case you are wondering, here is what we (and grandparents) are getting her for Christmas (one of those presents is for Hanukkah, and Magna Tiles is from Santa Claus).

14 comments:

Mom and Kiddo said...

That is a lovely menorah! Ours is covered in cheap candle wax and one of the screws is missing, but we still keep it. It's kind of endearing, but I love yours.

Christy said...

R's preschool teacher gave each of the children a small wooden dreidel last week. We haven't been able to play yet because R has been sick, but we will try it this weekend.

Great gifts. R loves her Bananagrams and Santa is bringing Magna Tiles here too.

MaryAnne said...

What a pretty dreidel! I also like your Menorah.

And those are some great gifts for Anna!

Phyllis said...

What fun!

Debbie said...

This is the first year I have ever heard of a dreidel.

Joyful Learner said...

I've been looking for a wooden dreidel. Magna tiles are great! Got a set for my niece two years ago!

Ticia said...

I want to find a dreidel too, I remember loving playing with one a Jewish friend gave me as a kid.

Another cool game from the makers of Set is a word play game that she might like, kinda similar to Banana Grams, but I like this one better.

Fairion said...

How wonderful you were able to find one even out of season. I am curious. What letters are on the draydel given that you bought it in Israel? What does the letter for "put one in" look like? Is it a Shin (similar in shape to the menorah) or a Peh (similar to a backwards lowercase e)?

The shin is for Shem (meaning there) while Peh is for Po (meaning here). So most Israeli draydels have a Peh which total throws American kids expecting a Shin.

Kimberly said...

sounds like a fun game. I guess I never really realized how much it was a game. not just a spinning toy.

My boys wanted to do some Hanukkah Activities to learn about it. Of course we will be way 'off date'- but being off-sequence has never stopped us in the past I guess.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I saw some site saying it was a "Great Miracle Happened Then" instead of "there and here" - which would solve the letter problem Fairion is talking about, if it works out in the Hebrew - but I like it the "here and there" way.

I missed out on how the Yiddish works out for the game portion if you use a dreidel with a Peh - is there a corresponding Yiddish word for that letter that means the same thing?

We played with a dreidel we made ourselves out of play dough. As you can imagine, it didn't spin super well - but it was still fun. Being good Baptist/Mennonites, we only pretended to gamble, though - no candy actually exchanged hands :)

Our Homeschool Fun said...

My kids have been asking for a dreidel and chocolate coins (I think they just want the excuse for the chocolate!) all week. I may try to pick one up this weekend. Thanks for the idea for math activities with it.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

At this time of the year, I love learning about the wide range of festive traditions from all around the world. Thank you for linking to We Play this week :)

Infant Bibliophile said...

I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea how to play a game with a dreidel. I thought you just spun it like a top. Now I need to learn since we love games so much. Happy Hannukah!

Pathfinder Mom said...

I didn't know that there was more to the dreidel than the spinning top either.

We have Bananagrams and Set as well and like them both. I have an electronic version of set on my phone and like that even better.