Every year at Passover, there’s a special custom of leaving one chair for the prophet Elijah, should he come in from his wanderings on the open road. In a broad, symbolic sense, this gesture of hospitality—which sometimes also includes setting a whole place with a decorated goblet, and even leaving a door ajar—is also a gesture of welcome and inclusion to any soul who is wandering, and in need of community.
For young children, a common religious school craft is to decorate a goblet for Elijah, using a variety of colorful materials. Here is an extension of that theme for school-age kids: Hand-lettered placecards for everyone at the Seder table, decorated with a glittery, bejeweled pop-up Elijah’s cup. This activity requires only a few simple materials—along with a happy dollop of kid-creativity thrown in!
What You Need:
- Card stock paper in white or another color, 8-1/2”x11”
- School Glue
- Stick-on flat “jewels” (available in craft stores)
- Permanent marker
- Scissors (optional: you may also want a utility knife)
- Place card template
What You Do:
- Make a place card template as shown in the picture. Design it so that four fit to a regular page. Print it onto a piece of card stock paper in white or another color that fits your Seder table setting.
- Have your child cut the card stock into four pieces, on the solid dividing lines. Then, before doing any folding, or cutting, have your child decorate Elijah’s cup with glitter and jewels. Our picture shows one example, but don’t hold back! Every cup can be different and special, as long as it’s shiny and ornate!
- Now, again before folding, have your child cut out the top of Elijah’s cup, as shown below. Sharp pointed scissors can work; or you may want to help your child out with a utility knife for this step.
- Once you have cut out the top of the cup, fold the paper in half, so that the cup pops up! Have your child create place card for every guest at the table, with a little help, of course, if the crowd is large!
- Finally, to show off those growing literacy and handwriting skills, have your child write each guest’s name neatly on a card. Keep extra cards and materials handy, and save this year’s versions, and you may even have the start of a great addition to your family’s Seder traditions.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.