Jewish holidays operate according to the lunar cycle, not the news cycle, which means that in the midst of global pandemics, canceled/postponed conferences and events and mandated quarantines, they will still arrive perfectly on time, whether we like it or not. Passover is fast approaching, and while many of us had spent time meticulously curating plans for our kids—hotel getaways, time spent with relatives, family trips—those plans have been kiboshed. Instead, we are faced with a house full of cooped-up children and a Passover seder to prepare.
But as inconvenient as it seems, one could argue that Passover couldn’t fall at a more ideal time. Of all nights, this night will certainly be, well different, and perhaps the millennia-old theme will be just a tad more relatable to us all this Passover. And if we look on the bright side, an intimate family gathering gives us an extra dose of distraction-free time to bring the next generation into the fold.
Here are a few kid-approved activities to consider:
Make care packages for relatives and friends: Due to quarantines and shelter-in-place directives, most of us will be home with just the people we live with, having canceled our own travel plans or had guests cancel theirs. To help feel a bit more connected, task your kids with assembling care packages for friends and relatives who couldn’t make it and send or drop them off. Include Passover-friendly sweets or snacks; beverages such as tea, coffee or wine; your favorite family Haggadah and a homemade card.
Get dramatic with seder prep: A little more time on your hands than usual provides the perfect opportunity to get kids more involved in the story of Passover. Challenge every family member to take on a different plague, or part of the saga, and be prepared to retell it on Passover evening. Encourage costumes, props, physical movement—whatever they need to get into the spirit of the holiday.
Make room for gratitude at the table: Gratitude is one of the major themes of this holiday and especially important and meaningful for times like these. To remind ourselves of what we do have, create personalized name cards and ask each member of the family to write down one thing they’re grateful for before the meal. When you sit down, have everyone go around and share theirs to get dinner started off on a particularly positive note.
Get cracking on matzah crack(ers): When all else fails, this sweet matzah snack is a tried-and-true vehicle for instant happiness. Let the kids stir the caramel, watch the chocolate melt and then sprinkle fun toppings like chopped nuts, shredded coconut or sprinkles onto the crackers once the caramel base is laid down. This recipe is foolproof and well-loved by all, and kids will take particular pride in their sweet, addictive creation.