Updated: Mar 23
The Seder on Passover night is the most important and memorable night of the Jewish calendar. (Download the Seder guide)
It is up to us, however, to create the unforgettable shared experience for our children that the Seder has the potential to be. The Torah tells us that the Seder is meant to be all about the children. In fact, the Talmud (Pesachim 109a) teaches us that there is a special mitzvah to ensure that the children enjoy and stay awake throughout the seder.
Below are some of our tried and tested Pesach ideas for creating a fun, exciting and memorable Seder for your children and guests. For convenience, the links below will take you directly to the item for purchase.
Children are our guests of honor
At the Seder, children aren’t bystanders. They are our guests of honor!
Instead of seating children at a kid’s table, either sit them surrounding the person leading the Seder or seat children between their parents. This allows parents to focus on their children.
Use a Child-Friendly Hagaddah
The pictures and explanations in a children’s hagaddah are far more relatable for children than those in the free Hagaddahs you get at the grocery store. On the other hand making sure everyone has the same book will help keep everyone on the same page. A nice compromise is to use a nicely illustrated regular Hagaddah that will engage children and adults alike. I recommend the Katz Hagaddah (I don’t get a commission from them, I promise!) It contains gorgeous and vivid images that will leave you looking forward to the next page. It is an investment that you can use for decades. They also come with laminated pages so that they will withstand the inevitable grape juice spills.
Encourage a dialogue
The seder is crafted through questions and answers because questions are the seeds of learning.
Keep a stash of kosher for Passover treats at the table. Encourage children to ask questions.
Each question is “rewarded” with a special treat. I give 1 treat for a good answer and 2 for a question.
Encourage children to dress up at the Seder. They can even prepare their own costumes ahead of time. You can have a box of items that children can use to put together their own costumes on the spot. They can dress up as one of the characters from the Pesach story or as a royal princess or prince, after all tonight we are all royalty!
Decorate your table or dining room with scenes from the Exodus and Pesach story. Children should sense that things tonight are different and they should be prompted to ask questions.
Consider using a theme for your seder and use that theme in the decorations and throughout the seder. The most important thing is to transmit the story of the Exodus and what it means to be part of the Jewish People. The theme should make the story come alive, not take away from its importance. Click here for ideas and instructions.
Have activities planned for parts of the Seder that may be less exciting for children. From pyramid building competitions, to a reenacted splitting of the sea, there are many activities that will keep children engaged! These activities bring the story alive! See below for ideas that you can do at the table with everyone and/or in a side room while the adults eat.
Songs are an amazing way to engage and connect people. Check out these fun songs!
Afikomen Search The most classic Seder game, is still the best! Hide the Afikomen around the house and be sure to have a prize for the person who finds it! It is always good to have several different toys to choose from depending on the child’s age.
Passover Play Adults can use this Passover Play, to make the story come to life. You can give to guests ahead of time and assign roles or just distribute at the seder. Make sure to provide costumes for each of the parts.
After telling the Exodus story, have the children come up with a play on their own to present! Costumes make it all come to life so prepare ahead of time.
Splitting the Sea Blow up a ton of blue balloons and put them in a hallway in your house. Have the kids walk from one side of the hallway to the other.
Put up an ocean themed shower curtain and have the children run through the sea Before Pesach, build a free standing sea splitting frame that children can run through or ride their tricycles or little toy cars through. This can double as an outdoor toddler car wash during the summer!
When children get through to the other side have them receive a prize like shell necklaces, etc.
Have the children build a pyramid using cups or blocks!
Have the children play Jenga and explain how the Jewish people were forced to build building on quicksand so they would constantly crumble as they were building.
Blow up hammers can be used to show how hard we worked to build these pyramids.
Passover Bingo Download and print these bingo boards and let each child cover the squares with a candy as they participate in each part of the seder. Purchase Passover Bingo
Head Bandz/Guess Who Put the name of a character or Pesach item on a card. Each person gets a headband to attach the card to their forehead and can’t see who their character is. They then need to ask questions to determine who their character is! You can also purchase this game here.
Burning Bush Waive red and orange pom poms Sticks with red, orange, and yellow tissue paper hanging from them. Dad hides behind and plays the part of G-d. Use ribbon dancing ribbons to create a “fire” for the burning bush Have someone answer the toy phone and play talking to G-d
The Story Bag Game This humorous game reveals how creative and clever participants are in connecting random items found around the house to the Passover story. The game can be played at different intervals throughout the Seder, in between reading the text. It requires very little preparation. Collect a bag full of small items from around a house – almost anything will do. For example: duplo man, plastic animals, a plastic crown, etc. Pass the bag filled with the items around the table and get people to pick out an object
without looking. Now each person has to connect the item in his hand to the story. This game gets young and old involved and is a lot of fun.
The plagues are often the most anticipated part of the Seder for children (second to the Afikomen, of course).
Ideas to Make the Plagues Come Alive:
Prepare kosher for passover strawberry Jello ahead of time in a disposable wine glass and try to put these on the table when the children aren’t looking. When the plague comes up, they are surprised to notice that their water turned to “blood.”
Place kosher for passover red food coloring at the bottom of each child’s water glasses. When you go to fill their water, it magically turns to “blood”.
Gooey, googly eyes that can stick to glasses and other table-top items are always a hit!
Use all kosher for passover white jelly beans as lice.
Wild Animals (Arov)
Plastic lions, tigers, bears, oh my! Foam animal masks are also a fun way to engage children. Each one gets a different animal. Place an animal sticker on the front of each of their cups. When it’s their turn, they will act out the animal on their cup!
Children have to drop to the floor to impersonate dead animals. But not for long! Because the next plague will wake them right up again!
Place a toy animal at each child’s seat that when you squeeze it, it’s eyes pop out!
Candy buttons on tape are a fun way to portray boils! You can throw in some dramatic tickles and itches, for effect. Have the children put red circles stickers all over their bodies!
Dozens of ping pong balls flying all over the room is always fun! Have children run after the balls trying to collect them. You can also do this with kosher for passover marshmallows, or cotton balls. Use a metal sheet pan for a thunder effect!
Death of the 1st Born (Makas Bechoros)