Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my family’s Passover seders. I recall the fierce competition over the afikomen, yummy food and lots of laughs. The fun was always deeply intertwined with the beautiful lessons that the seder inspired.
The Passover seder is meant to be a highlight of the year and a powerful educational tool by which to transmit our history, values and Jewish identity to the next generation.
One great way to get children excited for and engaged in the seder, is for them to make something which will decorate the table and be a functional part of the evening. This craft project is fun to make, and can be used during the seder to act out the story of the Jews crossing the Dead Sea.
Craft idea: A Passover story centerpiece
Materials for centerpiece base:
- cardboard or foam base
- brown and blue construction paper or cardstock, the same size
- glue and/or glue stick
Materials for wine cork people:
- wine corks
- hot glue gun
- permanent marker
- Cut a piece of foam board or cardboard to the size of the paper (8.5 by 11 inches). I cut mine from my latest Amazon package.
- Have your child glue a piece of brown construction paper or card-stock onto the base. (If you live near the beach, it can be fun to gather some sand and shells. Your child can slide a glue stick across the brown paper, and then sprinkle them on for a really authentic look).
- Take another piece of blue paper, the same size as the brown. Cut the blue paper in half lengthwise. Cut lines half way through each half horizontally every 2 inches. Glue the uncut ends down onto the brown paper one on each side. Roll the cut lines back to look like waves.
- For the people, you can use your Lego, Duplo, or favorite small dolls like Polly Pockets. Another option is to make people from wine corks. You can also add extras like seashells and fish in the ocean.
For wine cork people: Work with your child to cut strips of felt for the clothing and glue on wine cork with a hot glue gun. You can tie twine or string around the middle for belts. Draw a face and hair using a permanent marker, or glue on string for hair. Place the people “in the Sea.”
Thanks to my daughter Miri and Leah Halpern for their excellent job making this craft. (Note Moses holding his staff, leading the Jews through the water).
Craft activity: Passover bingo
Passover bingo is a fun activity that can really engage your child in the seder experience.
How to play: At the Seder, place a small pile of chocolate chips by each child. When the child gets to a part of the Seder where a word from their bingo card is discussed or acted out, they put a chip over it. You can give small prizes for each row. A great idea is for the child to be able to win a special trip with their parent, if they complete the whole board.
How to make the boards: Review the Passover story and glance through the haggadah. Choose 16 words your child will look out for during the seder. Type them into a 4 X 4 chart and print. For extra fun, your child can decorate a picture for each word. (See sample). You can also make cards for each family member, by using the same words in different places on the board.
For older kids (and Hebrew readers), Passover Bingo by Rabbi Ephrayim Naiman is great. The cards have Hebrew words from the haggadah. This game really encourages the children to read along and not miss a word. (See picture.)
There are many other ways to make your seder fun. In our home, when a child asks or answers a question, or repeats something they learned at school, they get a small prize or treat. This keeps even the younger ones engaged most of the evening.
For more games and activities to enhance the seder, check out the Passover section of Aish.com, under the “Family” heading.
With a little preparation, and some fun crafting, your children can be excited about and engaged in the Seder all night long!
Yoni Schlussel is a wife, mother, author and teacher at Torah Academy of Milwaukee (TAM). She directs the Creative Kingdom Art Center and has had her art displayed at the VAR Gallery. She also teaches art with Jewish values for Ruach, in inner city schools. She lives with her family in Milwaukee and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.