Reprinted with permission of the author.
For the parents of squirmy kids, a Passover seder can feel longer than the 40 years our ancestors spent wandering the desert. Fortunately, it’s perfectly possible to prevent the fifth question (are we done yet?) and the eleventh plague (restless natives) from showing up at our Pesach celebrations this year.
Taking into account that every family has different comfort levels, objectives and degrees of observance, here are some tips toward creating a fun and meaningful Passover seder that promises to captivate the interest of all kinds of kids–wise, wicked, simple and just plain unable to ask.
That’s the Ticket
Prior to the big night, make “matzah tickets” out of index cards. Award the tickets to children throughout the Seder for reciting the Ma Nishtana, answering tricky Passover trivia questions, helping little brothers and sisters make Hillel sandwiches and oodles of other desirable seder behaviors. At the end of the evening let ticket-holders redeem their winnings for Passover related prizes (i.e. stickers, candies, plastic frogs).
Keep the Karpas Coming
Grumpy kids and hungry tummies go hand in hand. A steady flow of karpas (a.k.a. carrots and celery) and kosher for Passover salad dressing for double dipping, will keep your kids happily crunching away until it’s time for the main course.
Give out Goody Bags
Keep your junior seder participants happy and occupied with special plague goody bags. While you can purchase already prepared “bags of plagues” at Judaica stores and online for around $12 a piece, you can accomplish the same thing at the dollar store for a fraction of the price. Try plastic sunglasses for darkness, toy frogs, wild beasts and insects (lice and vermin); kosher for Passover marshmallows for hail, red dot stickers for boils; and band-aids for blood.
Don’t Passover the Books
Visit a library or bookstore and stock up on Passover themed books. Scatter them around the table for children to peruse during the longest stretches of the Seder. A few surefire hits are: Shlemiel Crooks by Anna Olswanger, Wonders and Miracles by Eric Kimmel and Uncle Eli’s Passover Haggadah by Eliezer Segal.
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