Tailoring the Seder for Young Children

Miriam danced with her timbrelsWe’re planning to tailor our Seder this year to the youngest among us.

The little ones coming won’t be able to sit through a Seder that is even as long as our usual ones.  But they will enjoy some “big” moments, I think.

They are used to joining us for parades around the house, where we play instruments and march to the beat of popular tunes.

So I believe we can translate this to Passover, in the form of a simple re-enactment of the Exodus from Egypt.

Passover Story Re-Enactment

For the play part, we’ll need:

  1. A narrator (with a basic script) to tell us what actions to take, since there’s no Seder rehearsal!
  2. Boxes (like shoeboxes) to build pyramids and such.
  3. Rocks (or something that appears to be rock-like) to bake matzah on.
  4. Costumes for the Israelites with small bags to carry matzah and other provisions into the desert.
  5. A Red Sea that we can split.
  6. Miriam carrying her tambourine.
  7. Moses, dressed in a long robe (probably a bathrobe) and carrying a walking stick.
  8. Maybe a donkey to accompany the Israelites?
  9. More tambourines, so we can all play when we get through the Red Sea. I’ll put on a version of Debbie Friedman’s Miriam Song (about dancing with her timbrels) while we frolic in the desert.

For the seated part of the Seder, in addition to the usual symbolic foods, I love the idea of using mini-marshmallows as hail. I’m OK with sunglasses for darkness. And plenty of jumping frogs. But, this year, we’ll keep the boils, lice, and cattle plague under wraps.

Yes, we’ll use scallions as whips for pretend beatings.

The rest is, so far, a work in progress.

My goal, really, is to create warmth.

A friend reviewed our new 36-page downloadable booklet, “Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder.  She did a wonderful job of sharing what she liked and what we could change or add to be more helpful.  Like a photo of an already set Seder table. (Great idea!)

Focus on Making Memories

But this is the part of what she said that makes me remember why I’m doing this – what’s important for me and perhaps for you, too:

“What I love most of all, is your emphasis on creating memories. For some people, it is so easy to get caught up in the details of a Seder and not enjoy it. Or worse yet, get anxious that you aren’t doing something right. Everything you write is so comforting. Yes, I can host a Seder! Dinner at 9? Sure! Swedish meatballs? Why not?”

 Wishing everyone a Happy Passover – a chag sameach!

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