It’s that time of year! The season of our freedom, a time to retell the story of the Exodus and see it afresh once again. A time to really connect with our heritage and to imagine ourselves going into the Red Sea as slaves on one side, and coming out as free people on the other! One of the great mitzvot (commandments) of Passover is to make sure we tell this very story to our children and grandchildren.
A 3-hour tour?!
The traditional seder using a traditional haggadah (the book used to conduct the seder meal, including a narrative of the Exodus) can last 2-3 hours, some going past midnight. As much as I personally love the beauty of this holiday, even I have trouble sitting still that long. My four daughters? Getting them to sit still for a 15 minute meal is torture sometimes, in all honesty. Here are some ways I like to get them excited about Passover and keep them engaged in the seder:
This is my kid’s first thought about any holiday (they are related to me, after all!). After a few years of celebrating, my daughters have started to really look forward to matzah itself. They are usually with me when I go grocery shopping and they beg to open the matzah right then and there. Making them wait until the seder heightens the anticipation. I know, I know…it’s the bread of affliction. But they love it.
In the days following the first seder, they love coming up with different matzah concoctions – with jelly, peanut butter, cream cheese and also making matzah pizza, matzah lasagna, matzah brei (which they call “matzah French toast”). The girls also get excited about the treats they know Zeidy will bring, usually some kind of kosher candy or those Streit’s macaroons. Last year I came up with a (dairy) low carb, sugar-free version of macaroons that they went nuts over!
A holiday is just not the same without lots of the people you love! Oh I know, it can get crazy when the entire family tree sits down to eat together, but this is the stuff memories are made of. If you are not able to get together with family for Passover, invite some friends or perhaps attend a local synagogue’s seder. Just knowing that they will get to see their cousin and grandparents and aunts and uncles or enjoy the seder with some friends, makes our daughters 100x more excited about any occasion.
3. Films (and books)
Some of my daughters favorite Passover movies are:
- Prince of Egypt (available for free on Netflix)
- Shari’s Passover Surprise (an oldie but a goodie!)
- Shalom Sesame (Yes, the one you watched in Sunday School)
- Shalom Sesame (There’s a new version too!)
- Rugrats Passover (We do talk about not calling people “dumb babies” like Angelica)
This isn’t really a film, per se, but the girls also love watching the Maccabeats videos on YouTube.
Children love sensory experiences, and Passover is ripe with them. From hearing Dayenu to tasting the bitter maror and the sweet charoset, there are many ways for kids to be involved during the actual meal. There are shortened versions of the haggadah, but my family usually uses the traditional ones Publix gives out each year. Two things that have helped me in the past are to make sure to print out some coloring pages for the kids during the lengthier portions of the seder, and to also make one room available for the kids to get their wiggles out if they need to.
One year we attended a seder where during the recitation of the plagues, the children had replicas that they tossed around the room. This Bag of Plagues or these Passover Plague Masks makes that easy and fun!
What do your children love about Passover? Please share below in the comments!