It’s the time of year to celebrate Passover, and along with the holiday comes the seder. What’s that, you ask?
Truth be told, Passover can be a hard sell for kids when all their friends are getting chocolate bunnies.
Still, the ritual telling of the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt can be made fun — if you keep your audience in mind. Especially if you remember that it’s really intended for children. (Remember the Four Sons?) Here are some tips from local experts on keeping kiddos interested.
Rabbi Cliff Kulwin of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston suggests a “plague bag” (contents pictured) to make the seder more interactive and fun.
We sell ’em in our gift shop, not sure where else they are, little bags of 10 fun things–small toy frog, Styrofoam mothballs for hail, red food dye for blood, etc.–to enliven the plague section. If anyone wants to shlep over this way during the day today or Wednesday morning, someone can open the gift shop for them. Bags are $9 each, though someone should call (973-994-2290) before coming to make sure they are in stock.
Rabbi Steve Kushner of Temple Ner Tamid suggests starting with nibbles to occupy restless hands and mouths.
Having dip and vegetables on the table is a good start; they can nosh while adults talk.
And coloring books always help. I ask them to ask their own questions at the four questions, and the “explanation” should be on a very basic level. I also have the movie “The Ten Commandments” queued to the parting of the waters scene.
Arlene Sherman, director of the Shoresh nursery school at Temple Ner Tamid, is also a fan of the plague bags.
“The best way to make the seder interesting for children is to make it interactive,” she says. “Songs like ‘One Morning’ – this is a song about frogs jumping everywhere, and you can use some cute frogs that the kids can pay with. Or puppets. Do some dramatic play and let the children act out the story.”
Of course, there’s plenty of stuff online, including this collection of silly seder songs. And if the kids in question are teenagers, they’re bound to find the Facebook Haggadah a lot more interesting than Rabbi Elazar.
The words of the “One Morning” follow, but heck if I know the tune: “One Morning Pharaoh awoke in his bed/ there were frogs on his head and
frogs on his bed/ frogs on his nose and frogs on his toes/ frogs here,
frogs there, frogs were jumping everywhere.”
Good luck–and hope your seder is hopping!