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9 Ways to Make Passover Fun and Meaningful

By Merri Cohen, publisher of Macaroni Kid Western Monmouth, NJ April 12, 2021

The Jewish holiday of Passover (also known as Pesach in Hebrew) celebrates the Biblical story of the Exodus, in which Moses frees the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. 

It is customary to hold a seder (which means order) on the first two nights of Passover. A seder is a festive meal in which the Haggadah (story of the Exodus and prayers related to Passover) is recited in a set order. 

During Passover, Jewish people cannot eat leavened products such as bread or pasta. This tradition is based on the fact that the Jewish people had to leave Egypt in haste and did not have enough time for their bread to rise. Instead, they ate matzo, which is flat unleavened bread. 

Here are nine ways to make Passover fun and meaningful:

1. Hold a Chocolate Seder 

The seder plate includes chocolate variations of the usual items. For example, a chocolate drumstick ice cream can replace the shank bone, and a chocolate egg replaces a hard-boiled egg. This is a great way to get your kids familiar with the order and prayers of the seder before the actual night.

And instead of four cups of wine or grape juice, you drink four cups of chocolate milk! 

2. Design unique crafts just for Passover

Consider a jeweled seder plate, colored tissue paper Elijah's cup, or a felt matzo bag. Each year, I bring out all the Passover crafts that my kids made back in nursery school and put them all over the dining room. The picture of my kids dressed in biblical clothes and headpieces always makes me smile! 

3. Roll up some matzo balls

One of the first foods all my kids ate was matzo balls. They love making them with me, getting their hands dirty, rolling up the matzo balls, and throwing them into the soup. I like the matzo balls made from a mix better than the homemade ones, and I just throw them into boxed chicken soup broth and add some round carrots to the soup.

Want to make your own? Try this super easy matzo ball soup recipe!

4. Make delicious desserts

Make some easy Passover desserts such as Macaroon Fudge Bars or my family's favorite, matzo chocolate toffee candy. We go crazy making matzo candy and use different kinds of baking chips (milk chocolate, toffee, peanut butter, dark chocolate, white chocolate).

Then we paint on the chocolates, mix them up, and cover them with colored sprinkles, nonpareils, nuts, candy, etc. They are indeed a work of art — and totally addictive!

5. Create your own hagaddah

The hagaddah is the book that tells the story of Passover and the order of the seder. You can make your own at www.haggadot.com or purchase a special themed Hagaddah. 

6. Enjoy Seder!

  • Craft time! Set the table up with your children's craft projects from past years. You can even make special name tags and assign each person to be a different character in the Passover story.
  • Act out the story of Exodus. Take turns reading the story of Passover and give everyone different characters to play. My son used to dress up in a bedsheet and grab a stick from outside to play Moses. As he got older, he started reading the story with a Yiddish accent, and it was the highlight of the Seder. My daughter would bring her baby doll in a basket to be Baby Moses, and my dad wore a Pharaoh's headpiece that we bought online.
  • Create a special "Four Questions" sing-along complete with hand gestures, claps, and banging on the table. We do it with the "David Melech" hand motions that we all learned at camp. While it is customary for the youngest child to recite the "Four Questions," we all sing along to the chorus part.
  • Go Ten Plagues crazy. Our favorite part of the Passover story is when we recite each of the ten plagues and spill a drop of grape juice or wine for each one. We also have funny masks and finger puppets that everyone wears for each plague. In addition, we make 10 plague prop bags, and one year, we threw ping pong balls for hail. Our favorite plague is frogs, and we have plastic frogs that fly when you snap down on them and chocolate frogs to eat. Another favorite thing is to make edible 10 plagues. Who doesn't love eating chocolate nonpareils and pretending that they are lice?
  • Passover Trivia and games. Create a list of questions about the Passover story and customs, and ask them during the Seder. Buy a bunch of fun gifts from the dollar store and throw them to the kids when they answer a question correctly. Or play Seder bingo with chocolate chips or raisins.
  • Sing-along. At the end of the Seder, we always end with everyone's favorite song, Dayenu. You can vary the choruses for even more Dayenu madness (e.g., only women singing, shouting, whispering, with a funny accent). We also have a crazy sing-along with Passover parodies sung to our favorite songs following our meal.
  • Recreate the splitting of the red sea. Hang blue streamers or a blue mylar curtain with a sign that says, "You are now leaving Egypt." You can even do a Red Sea experiment using red food coloring, water, pepper, and dish soap. Or set the table with the Red Sea in the middle by using a blue table runner topped with your kids' LEGO® people or character figurines.
  • Hide the Afikomen. It is customary to take a piece of matzo, put it in a bag or napkin, and then hide it for kids to search for it after the Seder. You can also give out fun little flashlights to search or even make 10 plague cards and hide them around the house. Each kid usually gets a gift or money at the end.

7. Keep celebrating

Have a Matzo Pizza & S'mores Movie Night in the middle of Passover. To make matzo pizza, add tomato sauce, cheese, and your favorite veggie toppings on top of the matzo, and throw it in the oven or microwave. Why should all the fun be limited to the seder? 

To make matzo s'mores, add chocolate and marshmallows on top of the matzo and put them in the microwave.

For a movie, depending on your children's ages, check out the classic Ten Commandments movie with Charlton Heston, the animated film Prince of Egypt, or the Rugrats Passover episode from 1995.

8. Enjoy a Matzo Brei breakfast

Every year, our synagogue hosts a breakfast with several types of different matzo brei. You can also have a matzo brei breakfast at home and include a buffet with various toppings such as maple syrup or powdered sugar. 

9. Do a good deed and give to charity

Do a Mitzvah (good deed) and give Tzedakah (charity) to Passover-related organizations. On your pre-Passover shopping trip, pick up an extra box of matzo, macaroons, or a Passover baking mix to donate to local food banks. You can also send Passover food packages and personal notes to Israeli soldiers through unitedwithisrael.org.

Happy Passover!


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