Passover Traditions: Including Your Kids in the Festivities

Encouraging children to become involved in the Passover holiday is an important Jewish tradition. There are many ways that children can take a part in the seder festivities, from artwork to songs and games. Get started now so they can get in plenty of practice before the big Seder.

Sima Siger, Director of Early Childhood Education at the Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, California, suggests the following:

  1. Practice songs: Teach children Passover songs that can be sung during the seder, such as "Chad Gadya" (One Little Goat). By practicing them together before the holiday, your children will be more excited and eager to participate during the seder.

  2. The Four Questions: At every seder, four questions are asked which remind the guests of the meaning of Passover. The youngest child who is capable of memorizing, can recite the questions. If possible, asking the questions in Hebrew can be a very fun challenge!

  3. Encourage your child's artistic talents: Children can make a seder plate by decorating a paper plate, or by making a plastic plate from a do-it-yourself mail-in kit. They can also contribute by making a matzoh cover which can hold three pieces of matzoh. Take four 12-inch squares of felt, place them on top of one another, and sew them together around three sides. By gluing different-colored felt scraps onto the front, the cover can be a creative masterpiece! Older children can tie-dye, or use puff-paint, to make their matzoh covers festive.

  4. Read to your children: There are many excellent books that tell the story of Passover and the rituals of the seder. Passover by Adam Fisher and The Mouse in the Matzah Factory by Francine Medoff are two books appropriate for young children.
  5. Play games: Prior to the seder dinner, children often partake in a Passover scavenger hunt by scouring the house in search of any leavened crumbs called "hametz." This game helps children take an important part in the preparation for the holiday. During the seder, all children can search for the "afikoman," a small piece of matzoh that is hidden in the home. The child who finds the afikoman receives a present! Another game is a variation on Name That Tune, where children hear a few notes of a Passover song and compete to guess the title.
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