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How to have a great Passover Seder with kids

Updated on April 5, 2017

The Seder Plate

Source

The Seder is the central part of the Passover (Pesach) Jewish Holiday. It’s a family and friends reunion where Jews recount the exit of the People of Israel from Egypt. In the Diaspora, Seders are celebrated during the first two nights of the Passover. So how can we keep the attention of our 3 to 5 years old? Simple, let’s make the Seder fun!

In this article, I focus the ideas for pre-schoolers. When kids grow, the activities can vary to adapt to their level of maturity and attention.

First of all, plan the Seders in a way to make the two nights different, thus the kids won’t get bored in the second night. Second, do not take all the possible ideas for this year as there are more years to come.


Seder essentials

The (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah
The (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah

New Haggadah for the bigger children!

 

Preparation

Probably your son or daughter has attended a Seder when he/she was 2 years old. In case your kid managed to survive the Seder and didn’t pass out in the sofa before the Afikomen was found, this became an event from the past and he/she probably will not remember what that big dinner was about. Here are some ideas to include your kid in the preparation:

Buy/prepare in advance the following:

  • Buy a children Haggadah for each Children attending.
  • Prepare the Afikomen present. My preference is to get gifts for every child and for each of the two nights. In this way you avoid unhappy children and promote teamwork. I rather have all children working together rather than against each other.
  • Buy a melamine Seder plate, so the kids will feel involved and will be able to see what is in there. Or prepare one with the children.

Seder essentials

Childrens Melamine Seder Plate Pack of 6
Childrens Melamine Seder Plate Pack of 6

I got this lovely melamine plate so my children had their own seder plate. They could even help you putting the elements on the plate!

 

Food preparation:

  • A good and safe idea is to help peeling the hard boiled eggs.
  • Another easy way to get them involved is to prepare the salt water. Of course, you should give the right amount of salt pre-measured.
  • Ask your kid to help you washing the parsley.
  • Kids love to help preparing messy things: Let them help you preparing the Charoset. They can pour the ingredients and mix. You should do the chopping of course!

It is very important that you explain your child that is going to be a very long dinner so he/she requires a nap.


Songs preparation:

Practice some popular Passover related children songs in English with your children. They will enjoy being the centre of attention singing these songs in the middle of the Seder:

O listen, O listen, O listen King Pharoah

O listen, O listen, please let my people go.
They want to go away,
They work too hard all day,
King Pharoah, King , what do you say?
NO! NO! NO!
I will not let them go
NO! NO! NO!
I will not let them go

The Frog Song

One morning when Pharoah woke in his bed
There were frogs on his head and frogs in his bed
Frogs on his nose and frogs on his toes
Frogs – here!
Frogs – there!
Frogs were jumping everywhere!

Work - work – work

Bang – bang - bang
hold your hammer low,
Bang - bang - bang
give a heavy blow
For it’s work - work - work every day and every night
For it’s work - work - work when it’s dark and when it’s night.
Dig - dig - dig
dig your shovel deep,
Dig - dig - dig
there’s no time to sleep
For it’s work - work - work every day and every night
For it’s work - work - work when it’s dark and when it’s night.

During the Seder

Here I present you my ideas to keep the attention of your pre-schooler during the Seder.

Besides the popular songs above indicated, practice in advance some songs like Dayenu or Manishtanah. The youngest kid is in charge to sing the last one, but sometimes everyone joins!

You can get a theme for each Seder. I remember my in-laws had a froggy-seder once. So they had all types of frogs (ceramic, plastic, wood, metal), one for each guest. You could do something like this just for the kids. Remember to change the theme in the second night, otherwise you would hear something like “Oh the froggies again!”. You can do the wild animals’ night as well!


Plagues

Idea #1: Buy it

Some people prepare a bag full of plagues with props related to each plague for each guest, or you could do it just for the kids if you are on a budget. You can do it yourself or buy it online. You can also buy finger puppets or masks.

Examples of props

Source

Idea #2: Do it yourself!

You can also have props for each plague that you can present once you talk about that specific plague. Ask every adult or older children to prepare a quick read or chat about a plague, something child friendly and not boring. At the beginning or at the end of the brief explanation, you or the guest in charge can show the prop. For example:

  • Blood: You can put a couple of drops of food colorant in a long glass then pour water and will see how the water turns reddish.
  • Frogs: You can use finger puppets, cuddly toys or any other frog toy you might have at home.
  • Lice: Find any type of bugs in party shops or everything shops.
  • Flies or wild animals: You probably have plastic or cuddly toys like lions, snakes, crocodiles.
  • Pestilence: farm animals with funny eyes (make the spiral eyes) or farm animals upside down.
  • Boils: You can use bubble wrap. You can also draw red dots with permanent marker in cello tape and cut them in advance. You can also buy sticky dots, put them in your arm and paint them with red marker; you should keep them under your sleeve to make a surprise!
  • Hail/storm: Golf balls or small marshmallows work very well for this plague.
  • Locusts: Grasshopper/locusts plastic bug would work well. You can find them in party shops or everything shops as well as the lice bugs.
  • Darkness: You can hand to the kids some plastic sunglasses or shades for sleep, you can also give some dark colour towels to put on the head!
  • Death of 1st born: You can use a doll and you can prepare in advance making the mark in the door post. For this, you can use a red paper, cut it like paint made with a brush and then put some blue tac. When explaining the plague you can stick it in a door post.


Idea #3: Plagues Charades

You can prepare 10 cards containing a photo or drawing of each plague. Give one or two to each child and they can act so you or older children guess the plague. Alternatively, you can act and children do the guessing.


Chad Gadya

At the end, a few songs are sung. One of them is Chad Gadya. My Rabbi uses props for this song. It's great as it involves many people.

Give a prop to each person so when the prop is mentioned in the song, the person shows the prop.

Examples of props:

  • Animals: goat, cat, dog, ox: toys either plastic or cuddly will work. For the Ox I use a cow and say moo. Use onomatopoeia for each animal.
  • Fire: ask your child to draw a fire or do it yourself. You can cut yellow and red shapes.
  • Stick: find a stick on the street. Maybe a branch that felt in a windy day.
  • Water: use a spray bottle with water or just a glass of water.
  • Slay: use a plastic knife.
  • Angel of death: plastic skull or anything from Halloween.


Older children

Since I created this post a few years ago, my children have grown. Last year we had Seders at my brother in law's. His children made lego creations inspired in the 10 plagues. They put one for each guest and then all the children enjoyed some time playing with lego from time to time during the seder.

Do you need help preparing your Seders?

Read A guide for the perfect Passover Seder preparation. It includes countdown tasks, menu ideas, cleaning and koshering preparation.

Good luck with your Seder!

Please leave your comments below.

Comments

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    • profile image

      T.C 

      2 years ago

      Hi just to clarify the traditional song at end of hagada/seder is called Chad Gadya not chag! Chad means one in aramaic- the song is about one kid goat representing the people of Israel (chag means festival in hebrew;) thx for some cute ideas & happy passover to all!

    • Susana Suarez profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Suarez 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for your comment LauraGT, sorry to thank you a bit late. Thanks for your advice! I agree on that although I had a two champion (3 and 4 year old) staying till 11pm... they had a nap in the afternoon though.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Another piece of advice: Start early! Starting a 3 hour long seder at 6pm is a recipe for disaster with little ones. Either have an early start time or prepare for a very short seder.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for new ways to make passover more kid-friendly! Congrats on your hubnugget nomination! :)

    • profile image

      Marvin Caplan 

      6 years ago

      It helps to have a wonderful Seder when you have such a creative, and loving daughter in law - of course having the worlds greatest grandchildren doesn't hurt.

    • Susana Suarez profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Suarez 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks mizjo!

      Hope you enjoy many more Seders! It's a very nice tradition!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 

      6 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Susana, I enjoyed your hub.

      My son-in-law is Jewish, so I have attended a few Seders in the past few years, and they have always been very enjoyable because the guests are so varied and ready to know about other traditions from their own.

      Congrats on your nomination.

    • Susana Suarez profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Suarez 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks ripplemaker!!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This sounds really kid friendly! A great help for preschoolers.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Enjoy and read all about it this way https://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hu...

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