By Roslyn Haber and Marlyn Press
Though a serious holiday, Pesach is also a joyous occasion celebrated by both secular and religious Jews alike. There are many traditions that are followed during this time, including the Seder. Pesach is a time for family, and children should be a part of the many activities. Below are some ideas to help your kids become more engaged with the holiday.
- Children’s books tell the Pesach story in an entertaining way while still explaining the religious significance and traditions. Get your child familiar with the story and some of the vocabulary words that are used during the Seder.
- There are many songs connected to the Seder, both traditional and modern. A popular children’s song with kids is “Frogs Here, Frogs There” but you can find many more on YouTube and get your children in the mood by playing them in advance.
- Jewishkids.org has a variety of activities for children. There is a video teaching them the Four Questions, information on how to light the candles, and a variety of explanations.
- Crafts are an exciting way to make children part of the holiday. Aish.com offers directions for making a “bag of plagues,” which brings the ten plagues to life and offers something fun to play with during the Seder.
- Finding the Afikoman is a highlight of the Seder for many children. Children can make their own Afikoman bags and Seder plates by following directions found on Jewishkids.org.
- By making their own Haggadah, children will enjoy reading from materials they create while learning about the history of the holiday and the words and ideas used during the Seder.
- Pesach has its own set of rules when it comes to dining. Children can find holiday recipes and help with preparation to gain a better understanding of the significance of the food and why certain foods are and are not eaten on Pesach. Children can help prepare the Seder plate and learn about its symbols. Setting the table for the holiday feast can become a family affair!
Ensuring that your children know the story of Pesach and why we celebrate this important occasion secures their personal link to Judaism. Including children in the creating of artifacts and in the preparation makes children part of the tradition and helps them have a more enjoyable holiday. v
Roslyn A. Haber, Ed.D., and Marlyn Press, Ed.D., are associate professors at the Touro College Graduate School of Education.