Doug's Customized Dreidel Game
The tradition of the dreidel game comes from the story that during the Greek occupation, the Greeks attempted to suppress the Jews from teaching their children the Bible; so they made up a game which taught the Word while making it appear that they were just gambling. After the ousting of the Greeks, the dreidel was inscribed with four letters, one on each side, which made up the acronym, “A Great Miracle Happened Here” (The letters for "A Great Miracle Happened There" is printed on dreidels made outside of Israel.) I have customized the game slightly to provide more emphasis on the original meaning of the game—to teach the Bible to children. My kids love it, and I hope yours will, too. Here’s how you play:
1 dreidel per player (a top inscribed with the four Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Heh, and Shin (in Israel, the Shin is replaced with Peh)
1 mediator (usually a parent), who asks the questions and controls the flow of the game
2 or more players
a source for Bible trivia questions: I went to a Christian book store and bought some packs of Bible trivia cards. I divided these up into categories of easy, medium, and hard questions to answer. This seemed to be the easiest way to get Bible trivia material, but you can use any source, including making up the questions yourself.
lots of candy or other treats suitable for use in play: at least 20 pieces per player plus some for a 'pot'. This is called 'gelt'. Chocolate candy pieces wrapped in foil that look like coins are sold in many stores as gelt for use in this game. You don't have to use official gelt, though; any candy pieces will do. I mix it up with Jolly Ranchers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties, or whatever candy I can get hold of that the kids like.
Each player starts off with 20 pieces of candy to use during the game. More candy is placed into a 'pot' off to the side. The youngest player spins first. Each player puts in one piece of candy into the kitty at the beginning of each turn. The player spins the dreidel, yielding one of four results:
Nun—player loses his/her turn.
Gimel—player answers a Bible trivia question; if successful, the player gets all the candy in the kitty.
Heh—player answers a Bible trivia question; if successful, the player gets half of what is in the kitty (if there are an odd number of candy pieces in the kitty, the player gets the larger half). The remaining pieces of candy are added to the pot.
Peh/Shin—player gets their own piece of candy back without having to answer a question, though they may choose to do so to earn points.
The player may choose to answer an easy, medium, or hard Bible trivia question; easy questions are worth one point, medium yields two, and hard questions are worth a whopping four points.
The first player to successfully gain ten points wins the game and takes whatever candy remains in the pot.