Written by Meredith Polsky of Matan, this post originally appeared on the New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal, April 2, 2014.
Passover is an ideal holiday to explore multi-sensory ideas for reaching every type of learner at your seder through activities that engage particpiants not only through visual and auditory information, but also through touch, taste, and smell. Whether your goal is to keep everyone’s attention, or help individuals understand the story, or encourage participation from every guest, below are ten of our favorite ways to keep the seder interesting, active and fun!
1. Use a Seder Tracker to maximize children’s attention. In the Matan Seder Tracker, children add each step of the seder as it is completed.
2. Kadesh: Give your child very small cups so that they can drink a full cup at each of the 4 times during the seder. If they don’t like grape juice, that’s okay. You can fill it with water so they can participate in drinking from their cups 4 times.
3. Urchatz: Have your guests share a way they prepared for Passover and include the kids. They can share something they did at Hebrew School, or if they searched for crumbs in their house they can share the funniest place they found something. This is a good activity when people are busy washing their hands.
4. Karpas: Have your child make the salt water. They can do this during the beginning of the seder or before it starts. During the seder, they can keep adding more salt as an experiment – how much salt do they need to make something float?
5. Maggid: Telling the story of Passover is typically the longest part of the seder. Consider setting up stations in your home. You can have a pyramid station where there are legos, Lincoln logs, and anything else they can make pyramids out of. You can have a dress-up station with towels and bathrobes so they can pretend to be Pharoah or the slaves. You can make pyramids at your table too. Give your child sugar cubes or marshmallows and toothpicks and see how high they can make their pyramid.
6. Download Matan’s visual Ten Plagues so that everyone at the seder knows just how much G-d was helping the Jewish People to get out of Egypt!
7. Maror: Talk about things that are bitter in the world. Ask the kids (and adults!) what is something “bitter” they would like to fix in the world.
8. Barech: Blessings after the meal – a great time to have your kids tell you something they are thankful for.
9. The song “Who Knows One” is very popular at lots of Passover Seders, but for some kids it can be difficult to keep up and remember which number goes with what. Print Matan’s visual version “Who Knows One” so everyone at your seder can have fun participating!
10. Play Passover Seder Bingo! A favorite of children and adults alike, give a bingo board and stickers to every person at your seder. When they hear each part of the seder, they find it on their board and put a sticker on it. When the whole card is filled up, the seder is over!
CHAG PESACH SAMEACH – HAPPY PASSOVER – HAVE FUN!