We consulted with parents and preschool directors to bring you this list of seder ideas that actually work. Pick one—or 10!
• Enlist the children’s involvement in the preparations by having them make place cards
• Feed kids something before starting so they aren’t hungry
• Use a bag of plagues for an interactive plague time
• Have blocks available for children to build pyramids when an activity is needed
• Create a poster of the order of the seder, and allow children to take turns placing stickers on the poster to mark which part of the seder you’re on
• Hang blue crepe paper sheets from the ceiling; when it’s time to leave Egypt, have the children take their stick of celery and part the Red Sea as they march out of Egypt
• Give each child a color-coded set of directions for finding the afikoman (hidden piece of matzah), with some hints (older children can read their own, as well as help the younger children with theirs)
• Buy or make a placemat listing the 14 steps of the seder, and give children a piece of candy or a small toy to place on the step of the seder that was just completed
• Provide a tent area near the seder table with books, Passover games and puzzles for the children to play with while the adults conduct the seder
• If you have older children at your seder, encourage them to work on a “news report” of the Exodus from Egypt and give reports during the seder on how the children of Israel are doing on their journey
• Make puppets for the characters in the story so children can use their puppet during that person’s “voice” in the Hagaddah
• Make a “dayenu” sign for them to wave during the singing of “Dayenu”
• Decorate or make a tambourine to represent Miriam’s song at the Red Sea
• Purchase or create a 10 plagues wall hanging or bag (for a wall hanging, use a board covered with pretty fabric and Velcro to attach the appropriate plagues; for a bag, represent the plagues using large animal buttons, insect stickers, Styrofoam or ping-pong balls for hail, bubble wrap for boils, sunglasses for darkness and red tissue paper or tinted water)
• Have a make-your-own charoset buffet table, with a variety of ingredients to choose from
• Make an edible pyramid for the table (mix ground almonds, dried figs and dried dates in a food processor to create a soft yet formable dough; roll dough into a ¾ log, and then roll it in ground almonds to coat it; square the log by flattening each side, and then cut it into small cubes, dipping the ends in ground almonds; stack on a plate in the shape of a pyramid)
• To save time with a young audience, try using individually wrapped hand towelettes for the hand-washing portion
For more ideas, download JewishBoston.com’s free guide for engaging kids and adults together at your seder.
Special thanks to Betsey Garfinkel, Jodi Jarvis, Lisa Kritz and Johanna Perlin for these ideas.