Friday, March 22, 2013

Kid Friendly Passover Activities

Passover is a weeklong holiday that celebrates the freedom of the Jewish people from
slavery. The Seder, the ceremony and feast that launch the holiday, asks us to retell the
story of what happened to our ancestors. Here are kid-friendly Passover activities to do as a family.
Kid Friendly

The range of ingenuity that you can bring to a Seder is endless. You can be traditional,
reading from a Haggadah (a printed book that includes the order of the Seder). Or
you can plan a fully costumed reenactment of the exodus from Egypt. Or you can go
somewhere in between, adding customs from around the world. A Seder is the ultimate
opportunity to build powerful, positive memories.

If you have children, there is an equal opportunity for creativity – and for learning –
before the Seder.
Passover Activities
Searching for Chametz

Many families clean their entire homes to get rid of all “chametz” – foods like bread,
cakes, cereal, and crackers that contain leavening (i.e., that have risen).

Matzah, or unleavened bread, is a reminder of the food that was hastily prepared by the
Jews leaving Egypt. They didn’t have time to let dough rise. So they mixed flour and
water, creating flat, yeast-free crackers to nourish them on their journey.

It is in this spirit that Jews refrain from eating leavened products during Passover.

There is, in fact, a specific custom surrounding this, called “bedikat chametz,” searching
for chametz.

To make it fun, parents often hide one or more big crumbs – like popcorn, corners of old
bread, or cereal bits – in every room that you plan to check.
Ideally, you start this after dark.

You’ll need a candle (or a flashlight), as well as a large feather and a wooden spoon to
catch the crumbs.

Then, by the light of the candle or flashlight, you search for crumbs.

When someone finds a crumb, use the feather to brush it into the wooden spoon or onto a
dustpan.
Kid Friendly Passover Activities
Celebrating Spring

Passover is also a festival that celebrates spring with its echoes of birth and rebirth.

So you and your child can create a beautiful centerpiece in a bowl, basket, or platter with
any combination of spring-inspired symbols. Choose daffodils, tall sprigs of fresh curly
parsley, or batches of bright red radishes. Mix them with ingredients from charoset, the
symbolic food designed to look like the mortar that Jews were required to use to build
bricks. This could include red apples, walnuts in their shells, and sticks of cinnamon. You
could also slip in a few Passover toys, like cute green plastic frogs.

You could also take a trip to a park or forest, looking for signs of spring. Search for fuzzy
new tree buds, robins, wiggly worms, and nests with baby birds. Or you might get lucky
and see small clumps of crocuses or whole fields of waving daffodils. .
Kid friendly art
 Encouraging Your Artists

Young artists can be tapped to make place cards for everyone attending the Seder. Give
them construction paper and markers, to keep it simple, or magazines, stickers, glitter,
glue sticks, and hole punches, so that they can really have a blast.

Want to create a make-believe Red Sea for participants to pass through? Give the kids
red crepe paper and have them cut strips that hang from a doorway near your dining room
table.

You can also look online for guides to making origami frogs to decorate your Seder table.
Kid Friendly Passover Activities
A Simple Reenactment

For our Passover play this year – designed with the youngest among us in mind – we’re
planning to use shoeboxes as bricks to build pyramids; a pretend rock to bake our matzah
on before we flee from Egypt; and huge red construction paper pre-cut in a wavy pattern
to pull apart, so that everyone at the table can get up and cross the Red Sea. Then, once
we’re in the pretend desert, we’ll play Debbie Friedman’s melody, Miriam’s Song, which
tells the story of the prophetess Miriam dancing with her timbrels (think tambourines).
Whoever feels like it can cavort around the living room, playing our kid-friendly
tambourines!

We encourage any of you planning a Seder to have fun. Learn. Sing. Eat. Make memories
with family and friends.
Jewish Holidays in a Box

Guest post provided by Ellen Zimmerman, president of JewishHolidaysInABox.com. She created “Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder,” a 36-page downloadable guide to help
busy parents prepare faster, involve kids more, reduce stress, and ramp up joy. The guide
comes with two audio files – a Seder preparation overview and a Passover tutorial that
teaches how to pronounce many key Seder passages.



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