To help encourage learning about Passover for kids, we searched for and came up with the following fun activities that will hopefully enhance the knowledge about Pesach for kids in every generation, as is commanded by G-d in the biblical Book of Exodus ("Shemot" or "Shmot" refers to the "Book of Exodus" in Hebrew).

The following ideas for learning about the Passover festival / Pesach festival were graciously provided by: Rabbi Zoë Klein.

Fun Can be a Journey to Freedom : Ideas for Passover / Pesach

By Rabbi Zoë Klein

This is a compilation of ideas to help the Seder be fun and engaging for the entire family. The Seder is composed of 15 parts. For each of these parts, you'll find here a bushel of activities.

Preparing the Passover table:

Include a Tzedakah box on the table.

Yemenite Jews line the edge of the table all around with leaves of Romaine lettuce. The lettuce is then used for Maror.

Use maps of Egypt, Israel, and the Sinai desert as place mats.

Put markers and crayons out on the table, and make them all the same color. Encourage people to draw or jot down questions, ideas, and thoughts in the Hagaddahs. Write the year on the inside cover of the Hagaddah in the color pen that was used that year. In later years you will be able to enjoy looking back and seeing what people thought or doodled in years past.

Decorate the table with frog bath-toys.

Put sand on the table.

Let the children sit near the leader instead of far away.

Get out your entire seder plate collection, and let everyone have their very own at the table!

Some people, especially vegetarians, use a roasted beet (because it "bleeds") instead of a shankbone.

For something totally different, sit on the floor in a circle with pillows, more like the Roman symposiums after which the seder was originally modeled.

Part 1:

Kadesh - First Cup of Wine and Kiddush

Have an empty cup in the middle. Have everyone add a little form their own cups to the middle cup. This cup then will be Elijah's cup, and everyone will have shared with Elijah from their own.

Pour the wine or grape juice for each other, each person pouring for the person to their right, to give a sense of sharing and elegance.

Have the younger participants pour everyone's glasses, playacting as if the adults are the Egyptians and the children are the Israelites serving them. For the second cup of wine, have the adults serve the children!

Make the evening also a "Kosher Wine Tasting" event, and sample a different kind of wine or grape juice for each cup.

Part 2:

Urchatz - First Handwashing

Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pour water over each guest's hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.

Use ice water to remember people who do not have warm water.

Have everyone take off their bracelets and rings, even wedding bands for the handwashing (or for the whole seder, to be returned when the afikomen is found) to remember those who are still in bondage and live without.

Everyone say something they want to "wash away" this year.

Part 3:

Karpas - First Dipping (Parsley)

In Greek, karpas means appetizer. Today, many of us use parsley. Some medieval rabbis strictly forbid eating more than an olive's size of parsley, you may wish to revive the ancient custom of eating extensive appetizers, each with its own dip. You may continue dipping and tasting various fresh vegetables during the seder.

Use parsley that you planted on Tu B'Shevat (Tu B'Shevat or Tu Bi Shevat is a Jewish holiday known as "The New Year for Trees").

Plant parsley in Chia Pets!

Tie bundles of parsley with ribbon for each guest.

Encourage dripping the salt water, the way tears drip down our faces.

Some cultures use vinegar instead of salt water, representing the sourness of slavery.

Touch the salt water to your eyes to make tear-tracks.

Part 4:

Yachatz - Breaking of the Middle Matzah

A Tunisian custom is to say "This is how God split the Red Sea" and then break the middle matzah.

Discuss why we hide one half of the matzah. Perhaps because redemption is not comple...our people may have been redeemed from Egypt, but there are still many people that need to be found and rescued. Perhaps because God is sometimes hidden in our world. Perhaps to symbolize an oppressed mentality, where someone who does not know from where his next meal will come hides some for later.

Ask, has anyone ever felt broken?

Israelis of Yeminite origin wrap the afikomen in a napkin and places it over his shoulder throughout the chanting of the Hagaddah, symbolizing both the liberation from Egypt, and more recently, the rescue of the Jews of Yemen in Operation Magic Carpet in 1948.

Part 5:

Maggid - Storytelling

Tell the story through a giant game of Jeopardy!

Have the kids get together to put on a puppet show about Moses and the escape from Egypt. While they are putting it together, the adults can have a deeper discussion of the meaning of freedom.

Have volunteers role-play Moses, Miriam, Aaron, Moses mother Yochevet, and Pharaoh, and have the rest of the table interview them and ask them about their experiences.

At the four questions, invite anyone at the table to ask any question they have about the seder and the festival. If no one knows the answer, what a great challenge for later!

At the four questions, ask the children what is the best question they've ever asked in school.

Before the four question, ask the youngest child to list the things that make "this night different from all other nights." (Guests, foods, dishes, boo...)

Tell a made-up story to the children geared to their age that will help them understand what a slave is. For example, for younger children, tell them about a father whose boss will not let him come home to see his son. Days, weeks, and months pass. Finally, the daddy calls and says he will be home on a certain day. The boy is so excited, he invites all of his friends over, and helps his mom bake a cake, and they decorate the whole house. He can't sleep all night because he loves his daddy so much and can't wait. The next day, his daddy calls again and says with tears, "I am sorry son. My boss won't let me come home." Explain that this is like being a slave, having no control over one�s own life.

Ask everyone to share a special seder memory. Find examples of great seders in history.

Have the children draw the ten plagues. If done earlier, these can be laminated and wine can be placed on top of the plagues as each is recited.

Don't taste your finger after dipping it in the wine! The suffering of any people, even enemies, should never taste sweet to us!

Make a family tree of the Biblical characters to help with the telling of the story, from Abraham to Moses.

Make a family tree of your own family, as far back as you can go!

Invite people to recount a story when they felt or witnessed discrimination or bullying. What did you do? What did you wish you did?

Have the adults put on a puppet show for the kids!

Tell the story of the Exodus in a dramatic manner, and have the children mime or interpretive dance the events as you tell them.

Ask everyone, if you were a slave, what would you hate most?

Let the children be the "masters" for a moment, and tell them to order the adults to change seats and sit wherever they are told.

Let the children build a pyramid out of sugar cubes! They will love this!!

Prepare card with the names of the plagues on them. Have guests select a card and then pantomime the plague while the others try to guess which one it is.

Divide the kids into three group, give each group either "blood" "frogs" or "animals," the first, second, and fourth plagues. Give them five or ten minutes to create a short dramatization. The parents will then award the best performance (ideally all of them!) with an Oscar, or better yet, a Moses!

In Proverbs it is written: "If your enemy falls, do not celebrate. If he trips let not your heart rejoice." Although the plagues lead to our liberation, we are not happy that so many people suffered.

At Dayeinu, Persian and Afghani Jews hit each other over the heads and shoulders with scallions every time they say Dayeinu! This really keeps the children alert! They especially use the scallions in the ninth stanza which mentions the manna in the desert, because Torah tells us that the Israelites began to complain about the manna, and longed for the onions, leeks, melons, and garlic in Egypt.

Yemenite Jews lift the table and bang it down at every Dayeinu!

Moroccan Jews tie a bundle on a stick and march out of the room saying "This is the way our fathers left Egypt."

Play a memory game. Go around the table asking everyone to fill in the black, "When I left Egypt, I took with me my most treasured possession......" The participants in turn must repeat the objects mentioned and add their own!

Make many different kinds of charoset and have a taste and compare. Use the charoset to paste together the sugar cube pyramids.

Invite guests to bring their passports, and share the various ports they�ve been through.

Sing Freedom songs, like "If I Had A Hammer". Sing all the freedom songs you know!

Give the children an art project, like make pillow covers that will be used to lean on, making matzah covers, drawings, plague charts, colored sand-jars, shoe box diagrams, sugar cube pyramids, mezuzas, anything, giving the adults time to meditate or discuss, and the children a memorable keepsake.

Part 6:

Rachtza - Second Handwashing

Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pour water over each guest's hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.

Wash feet instead of hands, just like in Biblical times!

Passover For Children - Part 7 begins on the next page

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