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Passover Fun for Everyone

Updated on May 30, 2016
Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny is married to a Conservative rabbi and has extensive experience with living an observant Jewish life.

The seder table
The seder table | Source

Passover

Some people love Passover — the matzo ball soup and brisket, the long evenings with family at the seder table, and the freshly cleaned house. Others (realists like me) have to work a little harder to get over the stress that comes with all that cleaning and cooking. Here are a few ways I've found to make Passover more fun for everyone (and no, it doesn't involve drinking more than four cups of wine at the seder).

Preparing for Passover

Let's face it: preparing for Passover can be stressful. You've got to clean the house top to bottom, scrub the kitchen until it shines, and toss all the leftover bits and pieces of chametz from your pantry. But there's one saving grace that can make this task a bit more fun: EATING ALL THE CANDY.

That's right. Go ahead and start noshing on the candy your son brought home in the goody bag from that birthday party last week. Did you find a half-eaten bag of Twizzlers hiding behind the boxed pasta? It's got to go, so why not into your mouth? While you're at it, eat up the last few hamantashen left over from Purim. And to get your whole family into the Passover mood, share the bounty; I'm sure there's plenty of junk in that pantry of yours (there always is in mine)!

The night before Passover starts, once you're all sick from candy and the house is clean, let the kids go on a chametz hunt (called bedikat chametz). There's nothing for kids like peering behind books on the shelves and under sofa cushions to find the little pieces of bread that you've hidden. (Don't forget to wrap them in a napkin so you don't actually get crumbs all over the freshly cleaned house; that would suck. If you're adventurous, you can burn the chametz yourself in the morning — another fun thing for kids to see. (If not, some synagogues hold a group chametz burning as part of the Fast of the Firstborn service.)

Kids' Passover artwork
Kids' Passover artwork | Source

Passover Decorating

Another thing to keep the kids having fun while you're stuck at the stove is decorating the house. Have them draw pictures of the Passover story or their favorite part of the seder, and stick them up around the house (especially in the dining room, so all the aunts and uncles can shower praise on the artistic skills of your little sweeties at seder later that night).

If that doesn't catch their attention, have them make elaborate place cards. This serves the dual purpose of keeping the kids busy and allowing you to assign seats so you don't get stuck listening to the details of Great-Aunt Gertie's hip replacement surgery all night.

Seder Fun

The seder doesn't have to drag! It can be lots of fun for young and old alike, if you take the time to assess your guests' interests.

  • If you have lots of kids, it goes without saying that they'll need some encouragement to stay interested (and awake!) for the whole seder. Try a Pesach bingo game, or reward a child with a small piece of candy for asking a good, relevant question. (Yes, it's bribery. But just try it, and you'll see how well it works. The kids will be knocking each other down to ask questions!)
  • You can let them stir up a little mischief by putting sticky notes into predesignated spots in people's haggadahs, suggesting the participants engage in flash-mob style dancing to accompany some of the more rousing seder songs. That's sure to befuddle your seder leader at first, but it'll get a good laugh.

Ask the Four Questions in 300 Different Languages

300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions - new edition
300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions - new edition

Do you know how to say the Four Questions in Japanese?

 
  • For an international group, or people who are interested in language, have each person read the Four Questions in a different language. What? You don't have the Four Questions translated into Gaelic, Zulu, and Klingon in your haggadah? 300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions does! This fantastic book includes just about every language you can think of (and many more that you can't). There is a CD included that allows you to hear some of the more obscure languages spoken.

  • If your guests are a varied group, Passover parody songs are always a big hit. Print out some lyrics to a favorite parody and sing it before you start, or include it in the appropriate place in the seder. If your seder attendees are not very observant, you could even cue up a few YouTube videos to illustrate points in the haggadah, or provide a few moments of comic relief. (Just be sure your guests won't be upset by your use of electronics on the holiday! We wouldn't do this in my family, but we have plenty of friends who do.)

During the Week of Passover

Passover is a very long eight days, and can feel like much longer. Here are some things to try to keep you and your family busy having fun (and not obsessing about bread products) during the week.

  • Traditional Passover foods are heavy, and can make your digestive system feel like it's weighted with lead. If you like cooking, this is a great time to experiment with kosher for Passover foods. Challenge yourselves to see who can list the most uses for a potato, or learn to make a flourlesss chocolate cake. Involve your kids if they like to cook, or do it with a friend and a bottle of wine if you like a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • For kids, have a special outing or two so they don't feel like they're cooped up for a week with nothing to do. When we were kids in New York, an annual trip to the Bronx Zoo was practically the law during the week of Passover. We packed matzah in baggies for lunch, and if we got tired of it, we fed it to the pigeons. They didn't seem to mind it as much as we did. A friend of mine always went to a Mets game with her dad to celebrate the start of baseball season, which usually coincides with Passover. Create a fun tradition for your family.

At the End of Passover

When the end of the holiday finally (finally!) approaches, you may be feeling worn out, stopped up, and crabby. But turn that frown upside down and make a game of packing Passover away! Put on a little music and dance your heart out while you shake the matzo crumbs out of the tablecloths and put the linens in the wash. Rip off your counter liners and slam dunk them in the trash. Need to make half a dozen trips to the basement to put away your dishes? Consider that extra cardio for the day, and reward yourself with a nice, big sandwich when you're all done.

What's your favorite thing about Passover?

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    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Love the Hub! These are very useful and fun ideas for involving the kidlets and it made me smile. Voted up, funny, and useful!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thanks, theclevercat. I think that after 30-some odd years that I'm finally able to have some fun on Passover. (I must admit also that having the cleaners come beforehand to help lifts a HUGE weight off.)

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 4 years ago from San Francisco

      It's my favorite Jewish holiday (such an important message, bears repeating annually) but we don't have kids so haven't thought about the impact on them. Great suggestions! As a chocoholic myself, a flourless chocolate cake sounds delectable...

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, livelonger. Kids are a wonderful, joyous addition to the seder, but they do require some wrangling, both before and during. After's not a problem; they usually conk out by the third cup of wine. ;-)

      I've been hearing about Passover flourless chocolate cake recipes for the past couple of years, but I haven't had a chance to try one myself yet. The kosher l'pesach bittersweet chocolate is awfully pricey around here.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Fantastic tips, Brainy Bunny! Oh, the magic of crafts, candy, challenges, and cooking!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, Simone. I'm really looking forward to making Passover fun this year (just as soon as I get the cleaning done!).

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 4 years ago

      This is my first Passover. I am trying to wrap my mind around flour less chocolate cake.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 4 years ago

      Great hub.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

      Congrats on your hub of the day! I'm not Jewish so I don't celebrate Passover but I found your hub very interesting and entertaining. Thanks for sharing your traditions and ideas to make it fun!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, davenstan. There are a lot of wonderful Passover traditions, and I hope you have a wonderful experience.

    • profile image

      tccat 4 years ago

      I did manage to make a wonderful flourless chocolate raspberry cake with fresh berries and jam a few years ago... it was wonderful!

      Congrats on HOTD!!! Great Hub, voted awesome and UP!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thanks, cardelean! I had a lot of fun writing the hub, and I hope to have even more fun at seder tonight.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      tccat: You'll have to teach me how to do it. Let's get out that bottle of wine and get started! ;-)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      I learned so much from this hub! Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful. Congrats on HOTD!!!

    • profile image

      win-winresources 4 years ago from Colorado

      Hi BB-

      How could you leave out the Hillel sandwich (matzo, haroset and horseradish) as a Pesach favorite? And "Who knows One?"

      -DW

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Hi, kelleyward. Thank you!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Hi, win-winresources. There are so many wonderful seder rituals that I couldn't include them all, but of course they're what bring true meaning to the holiday. Your bringing up "Who Knows One" makes me smile because I think of my grandmother at seder during my childhood, reading Two as "two tables in the convent" instead of "two tablets of the covenant." It always made us giggle, and I miss her and my grandpa terribly, especially at holiday times.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Congrats on winning HOTD Brainy Bunny! Interesting hub - voted such.

      I go to a nearby famous deli called "Juniors." They make really good matzo ball soup and, the Ruben Sandwich is my all time favorite - ever!

      Take care

      John

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Dear Rebbetzin Brainy Bunny ~ Quick thinking and hopping humorous little vignette for the Pesach holiday. We must make merry of one of the most difficult celebrations of the year, especially for the mom running after kiddies and trying to clean and cook for so many.

      Mazel tov on the HUB OF DAY award! I'm sharing with family. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Passover. Blessings, Debby

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      John Sarkis: Thanks for reading. Matzo ball soup is one of the best things about Passover, isn't it?

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Hi, Debby Bruck. Thanks for stopping by and reading my hub during this busy time. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you have get to have some fun this week. A zissen Pesach!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Congrats for the Hub of the Day.

    • Vinsanity100 profile image

      Vinsanity100 4 years ago from Michigan

      I enjoyed this article. also, congrats on making to the feature.

    • raakachi profile image

      raakachi 4 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

      Congratulations for the accolade that everybody wants to get. The tips are really interesting and for that voted 'Interesting'.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Vinaya, Vinsanity, and Raakachi: Thank you for your good wishes. I'm very excited to have my first Hub of the Day, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Great hub! Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thanks, urmila. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • Lyria profile image

      Lyria 4 years ago

      Very nice hub. I didn't know much about Passover so your hub taught me something! It sounds like a lot of work but probably very fulfilling once the night gets started.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      David...Melech Israel...Hi..Hi Hi Hiome! The songs are my favourite. :)

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Lyria: Thank you. Preparing for Passover is a lot of work, but there is great joy to be found in the holiday once the heavy lifting is done. Special food, time with family, thanking God -- all wonderful things we don't always take the time to do.

      Woody: I'll sing the 800th verse of Dayenu tonight in honor of you. :-)

    • profile image

      win-winresources 4 years ago from Colorado

      Hi BB-

      DW here again. Having been president of a shul for 10 years I know what it is like to be married to a synagogue. Heck, I could have held up a liquor store and been out sooner.

      Watching my wife and daughter do "Who Knows One?" each year is emblazoned in my mind.

      Be well.

      -DW

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 4 years ago from USA

      Dear Rebbetzin BB! I am your instant fan after this hub! I don't frequent Hubpages anymore, so I miss a lot of new great memebers! I am definetely glad i stoped here today and your the hub nominated for HOTD! Mazal Tov and hag pesach sameach ve kosher!

      I really love your hub with all its humor. Just LOVE Passover Bingo ideas! I ROFLOL imagining all these meowing, barking and maa'ing, keeping "Dayeinu" going for 5 minutes and making a peace sign for "shalom"! Groovy!

      I love the video too!

      I voted your hub UP and all what I could, also shared in on my Facebook.

      I also voted on the poll (for family time, no joke!), but it did not have my favorite about Passover- watching kids searching for afikoman. Also, every time I manage to get my son with that additional glass of wine (for Eliahu). No matter how my son tried to watch it, I always managed to switch the glass with wine for an empty one, so for many years my son was sure that Prophet Eliahu did come and drank it! LOL.

      Thank you again!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      Great hub! Congrats on hub of the day AND Happy Passover ;)

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Brainy Bunny, thanks for sharing this information, as its great for people to learn about other cultures and religions. I find it very interesting. Cleaning, preparing food, and all the rest IS very time consuming and exhausting.

      Thanks for sharing your ideas. Great hub and congrats on your hub of the day!

    • profile image

      Ann McKay 4 years ago

      Great tips! I'm adding getting a manicure after all the Pesach cleaning!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Hi, ReuVera. Thanks for the kind words and stories. My kids are already too wise for Elijah's cup, but our experience with afikomen was hilarious this year. We were at a friend's house for the second seder, and their custom is for the kids to steal it. However, my friend put out a decoy afikomen bag, and the kids fell for it, never bothering to open it up and see if the afikomen was actually inside! They were so confident after the meal, demanding their bribes, until we asked them to produce the afikomen and they couldn't. You should have seen the looks on their faces! The adults then played keep-away with the real thing under the table until the kids gave up. (They got their prizes anyway, and we all had some good laughs.)

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, Heather! Happy Passover and Easter to you and yours, as well.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, oceansnsunsets. It definitely pays to plan some fun after all the hard work.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Ann: I love that idea (assuming manicures aren't verboten during the omer -- I never thought to ask before, and probably shouldn't now, in case I don't like the answer!).

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      I am not Jewish, but I have a great appreciation for Tradition. Growing up Catholic, we have our traditions. I enjoyed reading more about Passover preparation and some of the fun you have. Traditions are special, regardless of what and how you celebrate. Great read!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thanks, twinstimes2. My next-door neighbors were Catholic when I was growing up, and we used to spend lots of time comparing our traditions and rituals. The only time I flat-out envied them, though, was when they were eating chocolate Easter bunnies while we were stuck with matzah!

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Brainy Bunny, I used to ask my Mom to buy me matzah during Lent!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Ha! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, huh?

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