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.