Our Learning Specialist, Edye Katz, shares some strategies for a successful Passover seder with children:
My memories of the Passover Seder are seeing my family and friends sitting together at the table. Smelling the horseradish from across the table and tasting its bitterness. Hearing each person read from the Haggadah, the prayer book that we read and follow each year, and singing songs. Feeling my hunger pains as I am thinking, “Is it time to eat yet?” and “When can I make a charoset sandwich?” For children the Seder can feel like forever in terms of sitting through it all and being hungry and wanting to eat.
As we approach the holiday of Passover, we mark a time of renewal and new beginnings. Passover represents a time for noticing the beauty of the season while simultaneously celebrating the joys of freedom. The start of Passover is marked by a Seder which is designed to give each person the feeling of what is was like to be a Jew going from slavery into freedom. The Seder consists of 15 rituals most of which occur before the meal is served. Some of these rituals include lighting candles, blessing wine, washing hands, breaking matzah, dipping vegetables and telling the story of the Jews exodus from Egypt.
Our children can actively participate in the Seder by using some strategies through sensory integration. Sensory integration refers to how our minds and bodies continuously process, filter and respond to information from our surroundings in order to pay attention, behave in a flexible manner and interact with others. Here are some ideas of what you can do to include young children in your Seder.
- Have children help clean for the holiday.
- Use visual guides and stories that show children the order of the Seder. A great resource is www.jgateways.org they have information and pintables on the Ten Plagues, the order of the Seder, the story of Passover and much more.
- Have the children help pass out the Karpas (green vegetable) to each guest or have them be the “water boy” pouring the water to wash hands and handing each guest a towel.
- Let children build pyramids using various materials such as sugar cubes, Legos, Duplo’s, marshmallows and tooth picks, or magna tiles to keep them occupied throughout the meal.
- Give children crayons, markers, or pencils and color using Passover coloring sheets which can be found on websites such as www.chabad.org or www.pjlibrary.org
- Have the children help make the salt water and add salt throughout the meal.
These are just a few ideas of ways to incorporate sensory activities into your Seder.
Have a wonderful holiday and please have your child share their experiences with their friends at school by taking pictures and bringing them to school.