After writer, illustrator and designer Emily Sper wrote her first book for kids about Chanukah, she started thinking of ways to enhance Jewish celebrations through additional books and games. She came up with the idea for Jewish card games based on existing popular games, including a Passover game called “Passover Go Fish.” We asked her about the game and how parents can use it during their family celebrations.
You based your Passover game on the popular card game “Go Fish.” How did you come up with the idea?
“Passover Go Fish” followed my second book, “The Passover Seder.” Everyone loved the design and colorful illustrations, and I thought a Passover game would be easy! It actually took months of nonstop work before the game was ready to be produced. I chose “Go Fish” for Passover to help teach words that together introduce the holiday. For example, you would ask, “Do you have any haroset?” Each card has English and the Hebrew transliteration, so you really don’t have to know anything, and everyone can learn. The youngest players can hold up a card and say, “Do you have any of these?” It makes a great family game.
Can you play other games with “Passover Go Fish”?
Yes. Even 3- to 4-year-olds can play “Concentration/Memory” with the same cards. I usually use half the cards and play with pairs of two. Rummy works too. A “Rummy” variation might be the first to collect the five different items on the seder plate. The rules for “Go Fish” come in the box, but you can find rules for other games on my website.
What was your goal in creating this family-friendly game?
My goal in writing the book and creating the game was to introduce kids to the seder in a fun way. The real thing is engaging, even for a 3-year-old. I wanted the game to work for older kids too, and to be played together with parents and grandparents. Everyone becomes familiar with the elements of the seder, which then generates excitement and ultimately makes the seder more meaningful.
For a list of stores that carry Emily’s games and books, please visit her website at emilysper.com.
Here are some additional Passover games from Aish.com that can be played with kids and adults during the seder:
You’ll need a plastic toy telephone that doesn’t make noise, an old cell phone or any object you can pretend is a phone, plus lots of building blocks on the floor next to the seder table. At any time during the seder, you can make a pretend ringing noise. Have someone “answer” the phone and pretend Pharaoh is on the other end. According to your improvised one-sided conversation, it becomes clear that all children under 8 have to get down from the table and start building a pyramid.
You can get one or two of the older children to be the task masters and give “orders” to work faster, etc. If you have several children at the seder, you can have a competition to see who can build the tallest tower or pyramid.
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 and requires very little preparation. Have your kids collect a bag full of small items from around a house—almost anything will do. For example: a Lego man, plastic animals, plastic crown, toy car, envelope, cup, pajama bottoms, kiddush cup, stuffed animals, etc.
Pass the bag filled with the items around the table and have people pick out an object without looking. Now each person has to connect the item in his or her hand to the story. Here’s an example of what someone might say if they selected the Lego man from the bag: “You’re probably very curious about who I am! Well, many years ago, our people were enslaved in Egypt by a very powerful king called Pharaoh. One day God appeared to me at the burning bush and told me to remove my shoes. That’s why I don’t have any shoes on. God then told me that I was going to lead the Jews out of Egypt.”