Dreidel is a traditional game played by families every year during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The dreidel itself is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The game is similar to dice. You spin the dreidel, and the letter on the side facing up tells you whether you get to take game pieces out of the pot, or have to put pieces in. You can play for any kind of small tokens, but at my house we always use chocolate gelt, or foil-wrapped coins.
This Mystery Dreidel has a Circuit Playground Express (CPX) inside to add even more suspense! The sides are unmarked, so you won't know what letters are spinning by until it stops. Then the accelerometer built into the CPX microcontroller board senses which way it's pointing, plays appropriate music, and flashes lights through the cut-out letters on the sides to show which face is up. To make it extra festive, when you first turn it on, the CPX plays the chorus of the Dreidel Song. (You can make it play again by turning the dreidel upside down.)
The dreidel is easy to build from cereal box cardboard, and the programming is a snap using MakeCode. This guide includes a PDF template to help you cut out cardboard pieces and sample code so you can get up and running in no time.
The Circuit Playground Express is the only electronic part in this project, along with the things you need to make it run, like a USB cable and a battery pack. If your battery pack has a belt clip (like the one that comes in the CPX base kit), you can make a slot in the cardboard CPX holder instead of gluing it on.
Other supplies you will need include:
- thin sturdy cardboard, about 8 1/2 by 11 inches (see Make the Dreidel for how to cut the parts)
- push pin
- pencil or pen
- clear tape (packing tape is extra strong)
- sturdy drinking straw, preferably white (fat plastic milkshake straws work well)
- adhesive dots -- extra strength is best
- peel-and-stick Velcro dots
- hot glue gun
- white copy paper
- glue stick or spray-on glue