CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Young children can have a tough time sitting through long meals, Passover Seder included. Before sitting at the dinner table, the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester has some tips to keep kids involved in the holiday.
“The purpose of the Seder is to make it live and meaningful as a family activity,” said Marjorie Kobrin, early child director at Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester. Kobrin said giving kids options will help families find a groove of what works in their Seder.
Passover Seder started Friday at sundown, and is the celebration of the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. When Jewish families fled Egypt in the exodus, they rushed from their homes without time to let their bread rise. Unleavened products, like matzo, are eaten in remembrance of the exodus. Observant Jewish families clean their homes of bread products, crumbs and utensils used to make bread, and the Haggadah is read to tell the story of the exodus.
“It’s a multi-sensory experience,” Kobrin said.
Some ideas to keep kids involved include having a treasure hunt for bread products in the house, involve kids “in cooking before and setting the table,” Korbin said. Kids can make place mats and cards to decorate the table, and wrapping a houseplant in orange, yellow and red tissue paper can symbolize the burning bush. Finger puppets can help tell the story of the 10 plagues.
There are many kid-friendly retellings of the Haggadah available at local libraries, including, “Uncle Eli’s Passover Haggadah,” which tells the story in the style of Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein, and “My Favorite Family Haggadah,” by Shari Faden Donahue. For young cooks, check out “Matzah Meals,” by Judy Tabs. Props and toys are available on websites like OyToys.com, and JewishStore.com.
Of course, it’s not necessary to spend money to have a kid-friendly holiday. Kobrin says one of her grandchildren’s favorite games is a treasure hunt for the afikomen.
“Have options,” Kobrin said, and remember that crafts and foods cooked by kids are the stuff of memories.