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‘Twas the first night of Chanukah and on the fifth floor,

There was holiday hustling and bustling galore.”

With chocolate babkas, latkes, and soup on the stove, traditions have begun for the whole family to enjoy. Surrounded by the sounds and smells of this wonderful day, a little boy plays with his dreidel while he waits. He waits and plays and plays and waits for the celebration to begin. Soon there will be lots of family and presents arriving.

Runaway Dreidel

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With each spin of the dreidel, the anticipation grows. The boy tries to grab his new top, but the spinning gets out of control. And just like that, the dreidel flies through the apartment and right out the door. The whole family runs as fast as they can, chasing the new shiny toy. They fly through the town and into a forest.

With the beach at their feet and nowhere to go, the family watches the glittering dreidel disappear in the sky.

Oh, where did that dreidel go?


Runaway Dreidel Activities

✡ Review Vocabulary

  • dreidel – a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday
  • gelt – Chanukah gift money and/or chocolate coins for playing dreidel
  • menorah – a candelabra for the nine Chanukah candles
  • babkas – sweet braided bread with a sweet filling (chocolate)
  • latkes – potato pancakes
  • challah – braided bread
  • kosher – foods that meet the Jewish dietary laws
  • hora – a type of circle dance


✡ Make Text-to-Text Connections

Did Runaway Dreidel make you think of any other stories you know?

Compare it to familiar favorites such as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and/or The Gingerbread Man.

Try This!  Read and compare this story with another cultural tale, The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine.


✡ Write a New Ending

“It spun past the planets, it spun past the stars,

At last it stopped spinning a stone’s throw from Mars.”

Write a descriptive new ending to explain where the dreidel went.

Try This!  Write it in the same rhyming pattern used in the story.


 Map the Story

Starting from its fifth-floor apartment escape, draw a map that shows the dreidel’s route. Include a compass rose and map key.

Try This!  Include step-by-step written directions to accompany your map.


✡ Play Dreidel

Print & Make Your Own Dreidel

Print the Game Directions & Song

Try This! Teach the Dreidel Game & Song to others.




✡ Go Further

We’ve collected more resources on our Hanukkah Pinterest Board. Find ideas & inspiration here.

Try This!  Explore the geography and culture of Israel with our Country Research Project.


Get Runaway Dreidel!  

Find a copy in your local library.

Buy it on Amazon.

Runaway Dreidel

Print the Runaway Dreidel! Activity Guide

Runaway Dreidel

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