I lead our family Seder – and I am under “strict” orders to keep it short.
One way we do this is by creating mini-Seder plates for everyone.
Power of the mini-Seder plate
To engage the kids and to make it a great learning-by-doing opportunity, we (adults) get the components together first. Then we invite all the kids in the house to build an individual mini-Seder plate for everyone who will be with us for dinner.
We use small paper plates (easy to toss before dinner) which are also simple to cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled in the fridge – so this doesn’t have to be done immediately before the Seder.
Here’s what we prepare:
- Parsley (washed and torn into individual batches)
- Charoset (the wine, apple, nut mixture)
- Half a hard-boiled egg
- Gefilte fish
- Maror (either bottled horseradish – red or white – or little strips of raw horseradish root)
As the kids assemble the plates, we talk about what the symbols mean.
Having these little plates achieves several goals:
1. When it’s time to dip parsley, we don’t have to wait for the big Seder plate to get passed around the table. We do pass the salt water which we put into little bowls at each end of the table.
2. We also “nosh” on the egg, celery, and gefilte fish well before dinner, by building a snack break into our Seder when we get to the third step, Karpas. This little trick has been a huge help in keeping spirits high. (And I’m not just talking about the kids!)
Using art to “discover” the 15 steps
The more engaged the kids are in the journey through the Haggadah, the more active interest they’ll take, which is why we created our Passover Seder Steps Follow-Along.
But you can also have your kids come up with their own versions of this.
Here are two approaches that would work well for children 5 – 14. Plan to help the younger kids a bit more. By age 8, if they’re independent, you can probably just step out of the way.
1. Provide a stack of magazines and tell them to find visual icons for the 15 steps. Ideas: water images represent steps #2 and #6, washing hands. Any green vegetable works for #3, Karpas. A picture of a cooked dinner would work for #11, Shulchan Orech.
2. Glue these images onto a large piece of cardboard and write the numbers and the Seder step beside each one. You can glue these in a big circle or in two rows or even in a snaking-up-and-down pattern, according to the size cardboard you have.
3. Alternatively, give them 4 x 6 cards, so they write the step numbers and names on each one. You can them hang these cards from a ribbon around the dining room, representing the visual journey.
4. During the Seder, have them point out when you move from one step to the next.
How can your younger kids (age 2 – 4) get in on the fun? Give them the job of announcing – when you give the signal – that you are ready for the next step by shaking a tambourine or maraca. What power they’ll have!
What’s your favorite tip for keeping kids and adults engaged in the Seder?
Can you see in the picture of our mini-Seder plates from last year that we had little ones with us? The knife is at the top of the plate, to keep it away from little fingers. And, if you look carefully, you’ll see that the green tablecloth is plastic. No need for fussing when the spills happen.
Wishing you a Happy Passover!
For more tips, check out “Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder,” our downloadable guide full of ideas to make it easier for you to host a Seder.
You might also enjoy our Passover Seder Steps Follow-Along activity – perfect for before or during the Seder.
And don’t miss the fun Passover art activities and recipes on our Passover Pinterest page.