You and your littles look forward to playing Dreidel every year. It’s a blast to watch the piles of gelt grow (or shrink!) with every shin, nun, hey and gimel— the shrieks of glee are an added bonus. But, even go-to holiday traditions can use a little shaking up, once in a while. This year you can get creative with a classic Hanukkah tradition by checking out these five ideas that’ll have you looking at spinning tops in a whole new light.

dreidel_danafreidlander_hanukkah_national_redtricyclephoto: Dana Friedlander for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism via flickr creative commons

1.Make it a Board Game
We think the idea to create a board game, from Therapy Zone, is pure genius. Instead of collecting goodies and sweets, have each spin represent a move on a gameboard, which has fun activities and simple actions spread out among the game squares. Download the free PDF here, or, create one of your own. Want to know how many moves each symbol represents? Jump over to Therapy Zone for more info, and other clever ways to use dreidels.

stacabees_johnhollingsworth_hanukkah_national_redtricyclephoto: John Hollingsworth via Stacabees flickr creative commons

2. Stack it Up
Be the first to stack up all your blocks and win! Up to six people can play Staccabees, a twist on the dreidel game that includes the fun of the spin but adds the excitement of stacking pieces higher and higher until it all comes crashing down. Each set includes 36 wood game pieces, one engraved wood dreidel and a canvas tote to keep it all together. Grab your own set here.  Don’t feel like buying the game? DIY a version with Jenga pieces or building blocks and your own set of dreidels.

dreidels_keshet_hanukkah_national_redtricyclephoto: Keshet via flickr creative commons

3. Speed it Up
If you’ve ever played Dreidel, then you’ll remember how long it can take for someone to be declared champion. For a speedy take on the game, check out a revamped version created by Ben Blatt over at Slate. Speed Dreidel™ calls for players to spin their dreidels together (no more watching your bubbe spin while the kids squirm!), and then wiggles with the rules just a bit (like how much gelt you win or lose with each roll), to make the game more interesting for every player. Trying this version will ensure your latkes don’t get cold while you try to collect everyone else’s stash of goodies. Grab the full instructions by clicking here.

paintingwithdreidel_aauwnurseryschool_hanukkah_national_redtricyclephoto: courtesy AAUW Nursery School 

4. Painting with a Spin
Make an artistic statement instead of playing for gelt, this year. Give your kids a box, a top and drop in paint, then watch them create their own spin art right at home. It’s an easy way to add a new twist to a timeless Festival of Light family activity.

dreidel_paigefillon_hanukkah_national_redtricyclephoto: Paige Filloon via flickr creative commons

5. Have a Spin-Off 
Instead of waiting for everyone to have a turn with the dreidel and divvying up the goodies accordingly, why not conduct spin-offs? It’s fun and easy to grab a timer and see which family member has been perfecting those spinning skills since last Hanukkah. Each time someone out-spins another player, reward the record holder with chocolates and goodies.

Will you and your family be playing Dreidel this holiday season? Share with us in a comment below. 

— Gabby Cullen