Pesach is a holiday with many opportunities to fulfill mitzvot, but possibly one of the most important mitzvot that can be fulfilled during Pesach is the mitzvah of teaching our children the story that led to this holiday.
As many of us have experienced, sometimes it is not so easy to keep children (especially our youngest children) interested during the lengthy Pesach seder. Halachically (according to Jewish law) the seder cannot start before nightfall. This year, candle lighting on the first night is at 7:36 p.m. and the second night is at 8:36 p.m. This late time can make it very difficult for children to sit through a lengthy seder.
When teachers plan a lesson or experience for children, much time is devoted to planning that lesson to ensure that the children are being taught with the utmost intentionality or purpose. On Passover, the leader of the seder is like the teacher for all the participants. Thus, in the days leading up to the seder it is wise to spend some time thinking about the various age levels of your participants, what might interest them, and how to capture their attention. Include your children in the preparation of the seder. This could even include having your children select props to represent the makot (plagues), which is a fun way to keep the children engaged during the seder. After all, the only way we are going to be able to really pass on to our children this important story and the important lessons we learn from this holiday is by including them.
Early Childhood Program Director