8 Activities for Celebrating Passover with Kids
Passover is a festival for Jewish families to celebrate many things over the course of seven or eight days depending on your family’s background. It is a celebration of birth and rebirth. It is also a time to embrace spring and new beginnings. Jews also celebrate a journey from slavery to freedom for Jewish people and taking responsibility for themselves, their communities, and the world at large. This celebration occurs during the 15th through 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan.
There are many joyful ways to celebrate the Passover seder as a family. Passover celebration can involve the preparation and enjoyment of many delicious and traditional Passover foods. It can involve the passing down and retelling of stories related to the Jewish holiday and family traditions. It can be a time to gather with loved ones - in person or virtually during the pandemic - and a time to both remember and look towards the future together.
If you’re wondering how to celebrate passover this year, here are eight ideas for celebrating Passover as a family and for involving kids in a fun yet meaningful way:
1. Make a House Out of Matzo
During the seven days of Passover, Jewish people refrain from eating leavened food or chametz like bread that is made from yeast. Matzo is unleavened bread that serves as a typical replacement for breads, and it is also a great option for building a house with kids similar to how a gingerbread house would be built.
As you gather fun items from the kitchen and build with matzo together, you can recount the story from the Torah where God commanded the Jews to create this special bread without leaven. Decorate your matzo house with Passover candy and then use it as a creative decoration for your seder table.
2. Read a Children’s Passover Book Together
Although there is much beauty and importance in kids hearing the Passover story in traditional form, it is also really helpful for them to learn the story of Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt in children’s story form. The Story of Passover (available on Amazon) helps to make the major events in the Passover story easy to understand and covers everything from Jacob settling in Egypt to the story of the Exodus to the parting of the Red Sea. It also explains how different parts of the seder meal represent different parts of the story.
You can also watch this brief video to help kids better understand the parts of the seder plate which include these symbolic foods:
- the maror or bitter herbs
- the chazeret or lettuce
- the charoset or mixture of nuts, apple, and cinnamon (Chabad.org offers an easy recipe to help the kids prepare)
- the karpas which is a green vegetable
- the shankbone
- roasted hard-boiled egg
- Salt water on the side to represent the tears of the Jews while in slavery
Also check out this decoupage seder plate craft to teach kids about the tradition.
3. Make a No-Sew Leaning Cushion
To commemorate the Exodus and to celebrate freedom, families often choose to treat themselves with extra care during Passover. They drink from cups of wine or grape juice during the Passover meal as they recline on a comfortable pillow for comfort and support.
Your children can make their own no-sew cushions to use for this special tradition which will also help to build excitement for the meal. You can upcycle an old t-shirt as a fun DIY project to do this. Kids will enjoy choosing a t-shirt that has special meaning to them and being part of the preparation for Passover.
Another fun craft to try is creating a Passover freedom mural to discuss what freedom means to you and your family and how this principle is celebrated in the Passover season.
4. Play Afikomen or Passover Hide and Seek
This fun Passover game is an exciting part of the seder for kids. The Afikomen, or larger piece of the matzah, is wrapped to re-enact the way the Sons of Israel carried the dough out of Egypt. You can practice hiding and looking for the Afikomen in preparation and come up with a list of potential hiding spots.
You can also do this cute craft prior to Passover where you use felt, sequins, and decorative jewel stickers to create an Afikomen bag. Kids will love making this, and it will have its own sentiment over time as your family uses it for years after your little one initially creates it.
5. Create your own Elijah’s Cup and Miriam’s Cup
There are so many fun ways for your family to create their own Elijah’s Cup or Miriam’s Cup. During the seder, a full cup of wine is poured and the front door is opened to welcome Elijah, the Prophet. You can also pour a cup of water for Miriam who was the sister of Moses.
You can wrap inexpensive wine glasses or goblets in colorful string or decorate plastic cups with markers and stickers. If it’s easier for your kids to work with construction paper, they can cut out paper in wine glass shapes and decorate as they wish with crayons and stickers.
6. Fun with the Four Questions
The Four Questions is typically an exciting part of Passover for kids as the youngest person at the table typically recites or sings them. This is often considered to be a rite of passage in Judaism in the Passover Haggadah. Preparing your youngest for this special honor can be a fun activity, whether they do it in English or Hebrew. This is a very cute video to help them learn to sing the questions.
You can also play games related to the Four Questions. Check out this link to see how to play Build, Build, Build and Topsy Turvey and Freedom Fighters. The point of these games is to make sure your family is paying attention, in line with the intention of the Four Questions. You can also make up your own games to test everyone’s attention skills.
7. Let the kids handle the Passover plagues
Putting kids in charge of the Pesach seder can stir up lots of fun and creativity. You can use printable coloring sheets to introduce the plagues to the kids beforehand and then ask children to introduce the plagues at Passover. The kids can use finger puppets or masks (available on Amazon) to act them out. You can even have the children do it as a game of charades.
8. Passover Foods Taste Test
It’s not always easy to get kids to try more unique and traditional foods, but if you make a game out of it, kids may discover that they actually enjoy these foods. Gefilte fish with horseradish, matzah ball soup, and charoset are fun ones to try, especially when the kids help to prepare them. Most kids will enjoy working their way up to sweet treats like coconut macaroons and jelly slices.
Challenge your children to take photos or draw pictures of all of the different foods that will be part of Passover in advance. As they feel more familiar with the foods and get involved with creating the celebration menu, it will help kids embrace some of the more unique items. Having older kids introduce the younger kids in the family to these foods makes it a special tradition and can help little ones have an open mind for new tastes too.
Looking for more Passover traditions and ideas? Check out our Passover Entertainment and Activities Center.
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