If your family or group of friends is planning to host or attend a Seder this year, here is a special, artistic card for your child to make and give. If the Seder is in your home, put it on your door to welcome guests. If you’re traveling, you can give it to your hosts in thanks. Either way, we offer it as a chance to boost your child’s connection to a rich and sustaining heritage, and to remind us all of its enduring relevance. Moreover, this activity requires some writing, a skill that benefits from practice at any and all opportunities. When your child returns from spring break ready to get right back to work, your teacher will thank you for your extra help!
What You Need:
- One sheet of legal-sized (8 ½” x 14”) card stock paper or construction paper, cut to size.
- Tray of watercolor paints
- Brush and water cup
- Table salt
- One plain, white address label
- Photograph of your child with your family
What You Do:
- Start by holding your paper horizontally. Use a ruler to mark a point 4 inches in from each end of the paper, and fold along that line, like this:
- You have now created two flaps that overlap by approximately one inch. On the top flap, use a pencil to draw a wavy line, and then have your child cut along it, like this:
- Turn your paper over, and have your child paint the entire surface with wavy designs of blue and green. Invite her to think about water—how it swirls, ebbs, and flows—as she works. If the paint colors are not sufficiently intense, she can augment with extra paint; a textured look is rich and effective.
- When the entire surface has been covered, take out a salt shaker and sprinkle it with salt! Leave it to dry in a warm place, and then shake all the salt off. Check it out: the salt absorbs extra liquid, and leaves a “water droplet” look all over the page.
- Now turn the paper over again, and refold it so you can see the original flaps. Open it up, and have your child place your family photograph on the large center panel inside. Trace a frame around the photograph, and have your child decorate around it with a border of colored pencil decorations that are relevant to his life. Was this a big year of baseball? Art projects? Or perhaps he attended a Bar Mitzvah? Have your child include symbols on the homemade frame, and then cover the rest of the panel with a watercolor wash in warm tones of gold, orange, and red.
- Have your child use the two side panels to write a message. If you’re home for Seder, make it a message of gratitude about good things in your family. If you’re traveling, have your child write words of appreciation for the host. Levels will vary, of course—a fifth grader will be able to say lots more, and with better spelling, than a second grader. But any version of this card will be heartfelt and genuine—a reminder that values of love, courage, and celebration in the face of adversity are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.
Thousands of years ago, Moses followed God’s commands to free his people from enslavement in Egypt. The complete story, from the Ten Plagues to the Parting of the Red Sea and beyond, is packed with examples of faith, courage, and human resilience. Today, thousands of years later, it still stands as a tale of inspiration. Each year, the Jewish holiday of Passover commemorates both the historic event and the values it exemplifies.
For kids, a highlight of Passover is the long Seder dinner, at which the ancient stories are retold (sometimes with props!), and everyone gathers to eat foods symbolic of the Israelites’ struggles. Harsh as many of the Israelites’ trials were—and as so many chapters in Jewish history have been since then—this is above all a celebration of joy and renewal.