Getting the littles involved in religious celebrations is always a great idea (and easier said than done!). Lucky for you, Passover is one of the most kid-friendly Jewish holidays of the year. With its emphasis on jumping frogs and searching for buried treasure (that is, matzo), this celebration of freedom is a great way to get everyone participating. Read on to discover five ways to get little ones around and enjoying the seder table.
1. Make an Elijah’s cup. Elijah the Prophet is an important part of Passover, and it’s customary to leave a glass of wine on the table for his arrival. Kiddos can be part of this tradition by creating his cup. They can get crafty with multi-colored yarn and beads, or simply buy a plastic cup and grab some permanent markers. Then fill it with wine (or grape juice) and wait for Elijah.
2. Put kids in charge of the Passover plagues. The ten plagues are an integral part of the Passover story (blood, frogs, darkness, beasts, etc.). Before Passover begins, put a “goodie bag” together with items that represent each of the different plagues. Dollar stores are a great way to find inexpensive items for each plague. Finger puppets are also a great alternative. During this portion of the seder, have the kids take over by explaining each plague and demonstrating it with the toys from the bag. If you have multiple kids attending, consider making a “plague bag” for each kiddo.
3. Make a matzo house. Who said December is the only time to construct an edible house? Chances are you’ll be buying matzo for your seder anyway. So don’t let the leftover crackers go to waste. Have kids create a Passover house out of matzo and decorate it with Passover candy. Then place them on your seder table as decorations.
4. Don’t forget the afikomen hunt. Kids love to search for the afikomen (dessert matzo) during the seder. How about making it more involved by creating clues or a treasure map leading to the afikomen. Offer a prize for the kid who finds the treasure, as well as little gifts for all the kids who participate. And parents: while the kids are hunting, use this time of the seder to go back to the adult Haggadah.
5. Create your own seder plate and haggadah. Nothing makes kids feel more involved in their Passover celebration than seeing their personal creations on the on the seder table. Spend some time before the holiday creating a seder plate. There are so many ways to create a plate. You can buy an inexpensive glass plate and have kids decorate it with paint markers, or even use items such as LEGO or painted rocks (check out all the great ideas here). While the adults read from the traditional Haggadah, keep the kiddos entertained with their own booklet filled with Passover coloring pages and worksheets. Bonus tip: Have them create their own cover!
How do you involve your kids in the Passover festivities?
— Leah R. Singer (photos too, unless otherwise noted)