Joyful Jewish

Posts Tagged ‘Pesach

Afikoman hunt

This is a neat game for kids, combining the fun of a treasure hunt with some Hebrew learning!

The afikoman is the piece of matzah which is traditionally hidden during the course of the Passover seder for children to find later, and it becomes the last thing to be eaten at that seder.

In this game, I printed and laminated copies of each Hebrew letter in the word “afikoman” (which curiously enough is actually derived from a Greek word), and the full word.   I made a set for each team taking part and hid the letters around the yard.


The rule was that only one child per team could run off to search at a time, and they could only bring back one letter.  If it was a letter that team had already found, it needed to be rehidden.  (Eventually the kids realised it was worthwhile checking and remembering which letters had been found before they ran off looking for another one!)

Quick, easy, and with a big enough yard, quite good exercise too.

You can download my copy of the Afikoman hunt cards here. Happy hunting!



Some time ago I made a Sukkot guest book, so we could remember who shared our sukkah each year.   It was a hit with my family, so this year we decided to extend the idea and make a Passover guestbook, to record who came to our Seder and all the other things that would blur as years go by.


I designed the book myself using photobook software, and it has been commercially printed.  On each double page, one side has spaces for the date and location, who came, what we ate and any special things we want to remember from that evening.


On the other pages,  I have included such things as a list of memorable moments from seders past, the evolution of our bespoke Haggadah,  some alternative questions (with space to add more), a favourite recipe and space for future menu suggestions, a list of things we’ve made especially for Pesach (from placemats to Moses & Pharaoh figurines), and space to list any new traditions we develop or things we want to remember for the following year.


Next year in Jerusalem!  But more likely back at our place… 🙂

I decided to decorate a t-shirt for my daughter for Pesach.  I wanted to make something easy but cute, incorporating some matzah-coloured fabric I bought online. After brainstorming a couple of designs, we agreed on this one: four hearts on four squares.

Pesach shirt design

I used an image from the internet as a template for the heart.  It was very simple to cut and assemble the fabric pieces onto a plain t-shirt using iron-on fabric adhesive (heat and bond lite), after which I zig-zag stitched around the edges of each shape.

We have another little girl coming to our seder this year, so I made a shirt for her too.

Pesach shirt with flowers

They are going to look so cute together!

My daughter was very excited and wanted to wear her new shirt right away.  And to bed.  And to school the next day. 🙂

Pesach shirt modelled

When my daughter was very young, I took a photograph of her, just before Pesach, holding a box of matzah.  It became an instant family tradition, and it’s a great way to see how much she has grown from year to year.  (Either that or matzah boxes are getting smaller!)

One year old

Three years old

Five years old

Last year my daughter was four, old enough to stay awake for our Passover Seder, but not quite old enough to sing the four questions, the role traditionally assigned to the youngest child.  Instead, she was delighted to score what seemed to her to be the best job in the world: Chief Frog Wrangler.  However, frogs alone do not constitute ten plagues, so I set about trying to concoct something visual for the other nine.  And once we had the plagues, we needed someone to inflict them on.  I have recently discovered that you can obtain actual figurines of Moses and Pharaoh, but not from anywhere near where we live.  Thus it came to pass that Moses and Pharaoh were created from cardboard tubes and pipecleaners, and they made our Seder so much fun that we have booked them to appear again this year.

Initially this was going to be a Passover craft for my Shabbat Tot group and I found instructions for making a cardboard Moses on the internet.  My first effort was decorated by my daughter, who may have been subconsciously channelling Joseph and his Technicolour Dream Coat.

So I decided to dress Moses up more elegantly, by glueing some fabric scraps to the outside of the cardboard tube rather than using paper.  At this point I realised that the paper arms would not really match the new look, so I ditched them in favour of threading through a pipecleaner.  I also decided I wanted a less cartoon-like face, so I used google images to search for a more realistic (?) version of Moses.  This returned way too many photos of Charlton Heston, but eventually I found one of the very talented Ben Kingsley.

Let my people go!

For Pharaoh I also wrapped fabric around a cardboard tube and inserted pipecleaner arms.  For his head I attached a picture of King Tut.  (I know this is actually his death mask, but seriously, how much more Pharaoh-y could you get?) The finishing touch was bending his arms so that he is “walking like an Egyptian”. Personally I think he looks awesome!

Bwa-ha-ha, I think NOT, Moses!

So, last Seder Moses and Pharaoh battled it out, and my daughter had a great time showering down plagues of hail/locusts/frogs etc.  Then a few days later I discovered she had fed him to a lego crocodile for good measure.  That’ll teach him to be mean to us!

This past week, I designed a little Jewish card game/board game for my daughter (aged 4).  In it, you need to match 3 pictures to each of a selection of Jewish holidays.

For example, Shabbat is represented by candles, a kiddush cup and challah; Chanukah has a menorah, dreidel and latkes; Pesach has a seder plate, the plagues and matzah; and Yom Ha’atzmaut has an Israeli flag, a map of Israel and some Israeli dancers.

I found this game to be a fun way to review a lot of the festivals, identify some key symbols and talk about what we do, what we eat and so forth.  Please feel free to use it yourself.  The instructions are included on the pdf.  I suggested putting the pieces into boxes or bags during the game, but I’ve thought of another way to do it (especially for older children) – put all the pieces face down in the middle, and turn over two at a time as you would if playing Memory.  If either matches your card, move them to your card.  If not, turn face down again and let the next person take their turn.

Jewish calendar game for website

This is a very easy way to introduce the main elements of the Seder to your young children without any food getting into the carpet!

– paper plates
– pictures of the ceremonial foods placed on the seder plate. If you don’t have time to find your own, you are welcome to print out the pictures I used of of Seder plate foods and matzah (all found via google images).

I included matzah as it’s the main event in this festival, even though it doesn’t actually sit on a real seder plate.

This craft couldn’t be easier.
1. (optional) decorate plate (can also be done after steps 2 and 3)
2. Cut out food pictures
3. Stick to paper plate

Have fun!  Here’s the plate my daughter made last year (aged 3).

When I decided to do the same activity again this year, she immediately made herself another one (this time doing all the cutting out by herself) and then decorated it extensively with bug stickers.

I tried to point out that insects in plague proportions were indeed part of the story, but do not usually feature actually on the food…  🙂
We are going to have so much fun this Pesach!!

Recently I stumbled across this fabulous idea from Felt So Cute:  a bag of 10 plague-themed items for your Seder guests.

Guaranteed to keep the younger participants amused and probably the older ones also!  I think the sunglasses and the bubble wrap are particularly inspired.

So, I decided to include something similar in our Seder, although I will not bag them up individually.  My plan is to construct “Egypt in a box” probably featuring Pharaoh made out of a toilet paper roll, and then let my family indulge in a spot of plague flinging mid Seder.

My daughter is obsessed with frogs, so we already have about 20+ small plastic frogs in the house – so that’s one plague sorted!  I have a bag of packing beans for hail, and plenty of plastic wild animals (it’s tempting to include dinosaurs and unleash Jurassic Park on Pharaoh).  I plan to turn off the lights for darkness, and drop some red food colouring into a glass of water to show rivers turning to blood.

But I still need some lice and locusts, so we’re on a mission this week to find some (of the plastic variety).  And if anyone has any good ideas to represent dead firstborn in a way which will not upset a sensitive 4 year old, please let me know.

Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

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