Celebrating Passover Seder with Kids
Passover Seder includes many prayers and rituals along with the retelling of the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt –all before dinner is served! Seder is meant to be a relaxed and educational holiday observance, so Rabbi Brian Glusman, with the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, helps us alleviate kid boredom with these creative ideas.
Scout sites like funfamilycrafts.com for craft ideas little artists can do, like making placemats, matzah covers or table centerpieces. Get Passover picture books to read and practice holiday songs kids can share during Seder.
Set aside time for kids to eat a nutritious snack or meal before Seder starts. When tummies aren’t grumbling, they’ll be better able to follow the service and participate.
Buy inexpensive items to represent the plagues (ping pong balls for hail, sunglasses for darkness) and give a set to each child so they can act them out. Create bingo cards or scavenger hunt sheets and have kids check things off as you go. Let kids draw slips of paper with prayers and readings on them to determine their order, or do the same with Seder guest names to pick who participates next. Play Passover trivia and give stickers or trinkets for correct answers.
If you have many children attending Seder, a shortened version of the Haggadah (Passover prayer book) can work well. Some are online for free, or sites like 30minuteseder.com offer printable booklets for purchase.
Try a Theme
Rabbi Glusman says, “Get creative! The Seder requires participants to retell the story of Passover, but do it in a way that interests your kids.” Pick a popular TV show, hobby, or interest to use as a framework for the Seder. Even Shalom Sesame (a Jewish version of Sesame Street) has a great Seder song for a Broadway theme, set to a tune from Les Miserables: youtube.com/user/shalomsesame
If you don’t think your Seder can work for all ages, stage an early, short service and meal just for kids, picnic-style outside or inside on the floor, using a children’s guide like Sammy the Spider’s First Haggadah. Hire a babysitter to handle bedtime, and then move on to an adults-only Seder.
– Dalia Faupel