Learning important social skills, as part of kindergarten readiness and other life skills, can be supported with play activities, such as games at holiday time. In order to practice taking turns, kids will need others; after all, it’s pretty hard to take turns with yourself.
This week is not only the American holiday of Thanksgiving, (in Canada it’s in October because November is already winter), it’s also the celebration of light in many countries, known as Hanukkah. So much of children’s early learning takes place within the family, and families are a big part of these celebrations.
Any holiday will include traditions, special meals, and symbols. One of the symbols of Hanukkah is the dreidel. A dreidel is a spinning top with 4 sides. On each side is a letter with special significance. Children play a game with the dreidel by spinning it. When it stops, the letter on top also shows how many markers/counters to take or give up to a pot in the middle. These can be chocolate coins, real ones, nuts, candies, raisins, or other items. Each person can have a dreidel but only one plays at a time and everyone takes turns.
Not only is this a great game for taking turns, it can be played by both kids and adults, thereby encouraging interaction. If playing with chocolates or candies, it’s hard to wait to eat the treats. There’s also an element of sharing, in case one person wins everything, making for lots of fun and learning. Does your family play this or other holiday games?
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