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Tips for Making Your Passover a Kid-Friendly Holiday

April 4, 2012

I wrote this post for Red Tricycle. It was published this past Monday, April 2. 

The Jewish holiday of Passover (or Pesach) can be one of the most kid-friendly Jewish holidays of the year. There are many ways to get the young ones involved in the seder and still have a meaningful celebration for adults.

This year Passover begins at sundown Friday, April 6. The holiday celebrates Moses and the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, and is told during a traditional seder dinner complete with symbols of the holiday.

Here are five tips to make your Passover kid-friendly while keeping the religion intact.

1. 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. 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.

2. Use a children’s haggadah for part of the seder. The haggadah – which literally means story – is the book used to recite the tale of Passover. There are many different children’s haggadahs that contain simple language, songs and colorful illustrations. Consider splitting the seder up with parts recited from the kids haggadah and an adult version.

3. Dress the parts. Nobody said costumes are strictly for Halloween. Get your kids involved by allowing them to wear costumes and help “act out” the scenes being read in the haggadah. Desert garb can be created with robes and scarves. Make a headdress from an old pillow for Pharaoh.

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. Include your kids Passover items on the seder table. Before the holiday begins, work with your little ones to create homemade matzo covers and Kiddush cups. Glass goblets can be purchased at dollar stores or other retailers, and felt or material can be stitched or glued together for a matzo cover or afikoman bag. Then have your little artists go to town decorating the items with paint, stickers, and glitter. Seeing their personal creations on the seder table gives kids a great sense of accomplishment and participation.

Passover is a great holiday to get kids involved in the planning and participation of an important Jewish celebration. By doing so, you will help them appreciate religion and create memorable traditions for many years to come.

Sophie's handmade afikomen bag and frog puppet

22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2012 3:03 am

    Love it! These interfaith posts are among your best. It’s a fantastic niche for you as a writer.
    My kids are all going to their in-laws- for a long, long, long seder… I’m going to my mother’s for a short version, but still meaningful. I do hope at some point to be involved with the kids– my grandson Simon is already singing the 4 questions and Dayenu.

    • April 8, 2012 10:38 pm

      Thank you, Lisa, for the nice words! That’s cute about your grandson. We had a very family-friendly shorter seder at my parents house. Just the right length!

  2. April 4, 2012 3:57 am

    I really love learning about your faith through these stories — you’ve shared the history of your faith as well as creative ways to involve the little ones. Very nice!

    MJ

    • April 8, 2012 10:39 pm

      Thanks, MJ! I think faith and creativity are so important, no matter what religion you observe.

  3. April 4, 2012 5:42 am

    Leah,
    I wish my kids were still young for these games. Now we just eat matzo and my mom’s gefilte fish and call it a night.

    • April 8, 2012 10:39 pm

      I wish Sophie would eat gefilte fish — I love it. She may have liked the games. But the only food she would touch was the matzo ball soup and turkey.

  4. April 4, 2012 7:33 am

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, you are such an awesome parent! You will be interested to know that I am going to a Passover Seder on Thursday night, and so I am looking forward to learning new things and integrating them into my faith. Have a wonderful Passover!

    • April 8, 2012 10:40 pm

      Thanks, Elizabeth! How was your Passover seder? Tell me about it!

  5. April 4, 2012 11:54 am

    Hi Leah! Lovely post! This reminds me of an art project I did when I was in elementary school 🙂
    -Adri

    • April 8, 2012 10:40 pm

      Thanks, Adri. I think I enjoy living vicariously through Sophie’s creative projects.

  6. April 4, 2012 2:03 pm

    Great post, Leah. With my kids and their cousins, the Afikoman hunt can get a little–let’s say–heated as the kids get older and bigger. I really like your idea of a map and clues that might give the littlest ones a chance.
    A semi-related aside: someone just gave us the cutest plague finger puppets!

    Have a good Pesach!

    • April 8, 2012 10:41 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. I hope you had a nice Pesach too. Luckily (or maybe not), Sophie is the only kid in my family. So the afikomen is hers. But I pity the next cousin who comes along. She can be ruthless.

  7. April 4, 2012 5:44 pm

    I enjoy learning more about your faith from these posts. And I’m always in awe of your fountain of creativity. Sophie is a lucky girl to do all these projects with you.

    • April 8, 2012 10:42 pm

      Thanks, Julie! I appreciate your kind words. It’s a pleasure to share them all with you.

  8. April 4, 2012 7:34 pm

    I love it! I hope you have a Happy Passover!

  9. April 6, 2012 3:11 am

    Passover is one of my favorite holidays especially with young children present — what a great post for making them more a part of the event. Happy Passover, Leah & Sophie!!

    • April 8, 2012 10:42 pm

      Thanks, Julia! It is such a nice family holiday, isn’t it? I hope your holiday weekend was a good one!

  10. homespicelife permalink
    April 6, 2012 5:05 am

    Great post. No kids yet, but something to sock away for the future. I’m not Jewish, but my husband is and the last three or so years with him I’ve had some lovely passover celebrations with family and friends. He’s away this year so sadly, I’ll miss having a seder. Hope you enjoy passover with you family!

    • April 8, 2012 10:43 pm

      Thanks for your nice comment. If you were local, I’d invite you for Passover seder! That’s neat you and your husband celebrate your faiths together. We do the same and I think it’s the best way to be.

  11. April 7, 2012 11:00 pm

    All great ideas, Leah! Hope your Seder(s) went well!

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