Ways to Entertain Kids During Passover
Ideas for little ones at Passover
Keeping kids in seder…we mean order
Holidays are one thing, and they’re another for kids when they are full of centuries-old traditions. So how are we to keep the kids engaged and interested when it comes time for a 7-day observation? Okay, you may not be celebrating in full for seven straight days, but it’s a challenge nonetheless to entertain the kids at any holiday. We’ve filled your (seder) plate with way more than four ways to give your kids a Passover experience they won’t forget. Next year, they may even be asking to cook the gefilte themselves.
12 things for kids to do at Passover
1. Hiding the Afikomen
Whether it’s Elf on the Shelf, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter bunny, there is something mysterious and wonderful about kids not being able to see something…or needing to look for something. Queue: Afikomen.
For a traditional seder table setup, three matzahs are stacked on the table. Once everyone is seated at the seder, the middle matzah is broken in two pieces. The bigger piece of the two matzah is called the afikomen.
Where does the excitement for the kids come in? Hide the afikomen at the start of the meal. Once the passover meal is finished, kids are released to find the afikomen. Let the search party commence!
2. Seder plate scavenger hunt
The kids will be all warmed up with a search after the afikomen, so why not keep it rolling with a scavenger hunt? Since there are multiple traditional Passover items that are likely found around the house (or, if you’re hosting, just pick up a few extra on your grocery store run), what better way to tire the kids out with sending them on a chase?
Give kids a bag, tell them what to look for, and watch their competitive spirits run wild.
Passover scavenger hunt items:
- Grape juice
- Toasted walnuts
- Seder plate
- Kiddush cup
3. Ten plagues face masks
Dress-up has yet to disappoint, so let’s make it festive for Passover, and remind the kids what the 10 plagues really meant. They may not remember the one on their own face, but seeing the nine others all around them on their peers’ faces will be something they likely won’t forget.
Pro Tip: Have the kids act out the 10 plagues, in character with their face masks.
4. Kid-friendly Haggadah
The Haggadah is the traditional text recited together at the Seder on the first two nights of Passover. It includes a narrative of the Exodus, when the Israelites left Egypt. So for the kids, it’s a story of slavery, freedom, themes to recognize, and holiness.
Get the kids more involved in the story with a more kid-style Haggadah:
5. Kraft paper tablecloth
We all know it’s enough of a game to keep kids occupied at the dinner table, so here is your Passover-style solution.
- Use a roll of Kraft paper as tablecloth
- Set out crayons or markers on the table
- Have kids draw, illustrate, color, all the fun things—the story of Passover
- Depending on the age of the kids, you can either give them a kickstart with outlines, or just give them free reign and let them imagine, sketch, and create!
6. 10 plague finger puppets
Give kids these themed finger puppets so they can play along and act out the 10 plagues as you (or your favorite storyteller guest) retells the story. Locust, lice, hail, or frogs, to name a few… no bad options here.
7. Make a matzah house
You’ve heard of gingerbread houses, but for Passover, we’re building matzah houses. Think of matzah as your top new house-building material. Make this one a competition, or keep it a team-building, family-bonding, memory-making experience. No new rules here except use matzah to build a house, put on your architect hat, and get to (construction) work.
Ideas of what to decorate a matzah house with:
- Almond butter
- Melted Kosher chocolate
- Nocciolata chocolate-hazelnut spread (stay away from Nutella if you’re staying Kosher)
- Cream cheese
- Dried fruit
- Pretzel sticks
- Chocolate chips
- Cheese slices or cubes
8. Make the Four Questions fun
The youngest person at the Seder (probably a kid!) usually asks these. To get the family engaged, have everyone go around and see if they remember getting to ask them. Or (since they probably won’t), have them recall their fondest memory of the youngest person asking them at a Passover experience. And, just in case you needed a refresher, here are the Four Questions:
- Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzah, but on this night we eat only matzah?
- Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
- Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
- Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?
9. Arts & crafts
Since there are two cups of honor at the seder table, let’s give them a true honor by having the kids embellish them. Give your kids two ordinary drinking glasses to decorate to represent Elijah and Miriam’s cups. Let the creativity overflow (just not Elijah’s wine).
- ~You can use an inexpensive wine glass or goblet (try a thrift store), or even a plastic option. It’s about the concept more than the glass itself ;)
- Paint brush
- White craft glue or Mod Podge
- Gems or sequins
- Wool string
Wrap string around the rim. Glue to secure. Add dots of glue around the glass, sticking gems along the way. There’s no wrong way to do this. Let the kids have fun with it—and remind them what Elijah and Miriam’s cups are all about.
10. Story time
It wouldn’t be a truly educational kid experience if we didn’t add in some element of storytime. Read books with your kids leading up to the seder so they feel more invested in the story. Better yet, have them read you books to practice their reading. Traditional and furthering their education.
Here are a few we’d recommend to add to your reading list:
- Passover: A Celebration of Freedom by Bonnie Bader
- The Passover Mouse by Joy Nelkin Weider
- Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail by Leslea Newman
- It’s Passover Grover! by Jodie Shepherd
- More Than Enough by Katie Kath
11. Bring them into the kitchen!
Some of the best memories are made while making family recipes together in the kitchen. And why not give them an experience of owning responsibility early?
How kids can help prepare for seder:
- Shaping matzo balls for soup
- Breaking off little sprigs of parsley for the seder
- Prepping Haroseth, a thick mixture of chopped fruit and nuts
- Dropping spoonfuls of cookie batter onto the pan
- Setting ceremonial foods on the Seder table
Main thing to remember here: Food is a centerpiece of the Passover experience, so only give kids the tasks that you know you can easily oversee and will not detriment the overall meal if not done acutely ;)
12. Matzo brei
Keep the party going and make the next morning special—get the little ones excited again to make matzo brei together. Sometimes the best part of holidays is the next morning, when everyone still gets to relax, but the stress of hosting is (almost) over. Remember, you can make matzo brei salty or sweet, so enjoy!
If your kids aren’t busy after doing each of these things at your upcoming Passover…well, we’d recommend having them memorize the entire Haggadah. Sounds like they must be some real go-getters. Enjoy your family time this Passover. Soak up watching it through the eyes of the little ones. They won’t be little long.
Pro Tip: Try these ideas when you host this party by Partytrick: Passover Seder
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