Passover is one of the most meaningful holidays in the Jewish calendar, a joyful celebration of human freedom, and the Israelites’ triumph over oppression. Because it falls in spring, it’s a wonderful excuse to revel in all that’s new and fresh.
If your child enjoys getting dirty, why not make some mud in the backyard? Dig deep enough to reach the clay, then stir in some straw and help your little one make bricks. Baked in the sun, they probably won’t last as long as the Pyramids, but they’ll be a lot more fun to make.
Or, with a little planning, have your young farmer provide the parsley for the seder plate. Decorate a small flowerpot and fill it with potting soil. Sprinkle in a handful of parsley seeds, place the pot in a sunny window, and remember to water according to package directions. Within three to six weeks, you’ll be able to harvest fresh parsley for your table.
For carb-loving kids, eight days without bread, cookies, and pasta can sound like a prison sentence. Hand your kid a get-out-of-jail-free card by whipping up a batch of matzo bark. Simply line a rimmed baking sheet with pieces of matzo. Melt some kosher-for-Passover chocolate and drizzle it on with a spoon; let it cool and add splashes of white chocolate or caramel, if desired. While the topping is still soft, sprinkle with toasted almond slivers, shredded coconut, or dried cranberries. When it’s completely cool, let your child break it into pieces and store in an airtight container.
For pre-Passover fun, a search for chametz, conducted by a family armed with a feather and a candle, may be the world’s original scavenger hunt. Make sure to hide some bread or cookies in an out-of-the-way spot, and reward whoever finds the most with a Passover-themed book or toy.
And then when it comes to dinner itself, come prepared. The Passover seder is anything but short. Since you’ll be there a while, you’ll want to make the dinner table a kid-friendly place. Let them toss plastic bugs, rubber frogs, and ping pong ball “hail” during the listing of the plagues; don sunglasses for blindness and a wild animal mask.
At Passover, we are reminded to feel as though we ourselves had been released from bondage. With warmth and laughter, you can show your children how wonderful it is to be free.