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How to celebrate Passover with kids: 13 engaging ideas for the springtime holiday

Make Passover for kids festive and thought-provoking with these creative activities that celebrate the ancient story of survival, hope and resilience.

How to celebrate Passover with kids: 13 engaging ideas for the springtime holiday

The Jewish holiday of Passover is essentially a celebration of freedom that gives Jewish people the opportunity to pass down a story of survival from generation to generation. Yes, there is matzah (unleavened bread that represents the dough that baked on the Jewish people’s backs as they quickly left Egypt). But the holiday is also chock full of other symbolic foods, songs, family traditions and the retelling of the ancient biblical story — all of which can be presented through relevant, age-appropriate, kid-friendly activities so that families can joyfully celebrate, mark the occasion and make Passover for kids meaningful.

When is Passover?

In 2023, the Passover begins at sundown on April 5 (although many families may choose to gather a bit earlier to start celebrating). The holiday is ushered in with a seder — or special ceremonial meal on the first and often second night — and lasts for either seven or eight days, depending on a family’s traditions. Of course, like all Jewish holidays, the date is always the same on the Hebrew calendar, falling in the month of Nisan. This is both the first month of spring and — despite the Jewish New Year being celebrated months later in autumn — actually the first month of the Jewish year.

What is Passover?

The springtime Passover celebration is one of rebirth and renewal, resilience and hope for the Jewish people. During the seder that begins the holiday, Jews read from a book called the Haggadah to tell the story of their ancestors’ exodus from Egypt after a new, cruel pharaoh enslaved them and ordered their newborn sons killed. 

Eventually, Moses — whose mother saved him from this fate by floating him in a basket down the Nile river — begged Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go. (Read details of the story here.) Pharaoh only agreed after he and his people had to contend with 10 plagues that got progressively worse and ended with the death of the firstborn from each Egyptian family. The Jewish people had to pack up quickly with unleavened dough on their backs (hello, matzah!) and follow Moses — who was miraculously able to part the Red Sea just long enough for them to reach the shore, escape Pharaoh and his soldiers (after 40 years of wandering in the desert) and reach what is now the land of Israel.

While Passover commemorates that story of freedom from slavery, the seder acknowledges the suffering of those who faced the plagues. That’s why during a reading of the 10 plagues, participants are instructed to dip their pinky into their wine — or grape juice — to remove a drop for each plague. The ritual represents a cup of joy that “is not quite as full,” according to PJ Library, a program that provides resources for Jewish learning.

The Passover story for kids

Playing down violent details and focusing more on the Passover story’s main plot may be the way to go for younger kids. The Passover River Ride, a downloadable story in 10 scenes created by PJ Library does just that. It includes a kid-friendly version of the plagues, the tale of a courageous Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt and the excitement of freedom that follows. Feel free to add in the more graphic details, including the supposed origin of the holiday’s name (the Jewish homes were “passed over” during the tenth plague) when the time is right.

Passover activities for kids

Passover is often celebrated with family at home, so PJ Library suggests that it is easy for even the youngest children to experience the holiday through their senses, which to many people is both familiar and personal. This might include the tastes and smells of Grandma’s cooking, the sounds of singing, the beauty of spring and the feel of family. 

Of course, these activities (along with several Passover crafts) can help kids and their grown-ups celebrate together, give purpose to traditions and learn about the spring holiday in fun, meaningful ways. Even if you don’t observe Passover, many of these ideas can be used to usher in the season and celebrate the ideas of freedom and resilience at the heart of the story.

1. Welcome spring by planting this seder plate staple

Image via Jennifer Cohen/Instagram

Welcome the season by getting kids outside to connect with the earth through play and simple parsley planting. Parsley is often the green found on the seder plate and dipped in saltwater during the meal to remind Jews of the tears of slavery. Ultimately, though, it represents hope and the excitement of a new season.

Short on time? Simulate “planting” parsley in yummy chocolate mud pies, a fun idea courtesy of Jennifer Cohen from Our Happy Tribe. All you need are waffle bowls or mini pie crusts, chocolate pudding or ice cream, gummy candies or chow mein noodles for worms and green sprinkles and/or a sprig of parsley to top it off. Just follow the simple step-by-step instructions

2. Snuggle up with books — and a game of Passover reading bingo!

Image via With Love, Ima

Grab a stack of age-appropriate Passover books (check out “A Seder for Grover” by Joni Kibort Sussman and other titles on this list from Read Brightly) and this Passover reading bingo challenge sheet from With Love, Ima.

As kids come across Passover symbols (like the seder plate, the 10 plagues, a burning bush through which God supposedly spoke to Moses) in the books, help them mark the spaces on the bingo sheet. Of course, the game will probably get easier as children get older and books tend to include more details of the story. (Also, note that this creative Passover book box that holds the materials for this challenge is an activity in itself!)

3. Turn Passover into a pajama party

Image via

Whether worn during the seder or while winding down after the big meal, these two-piece, matzah-print pajamas — created by Rabbi Yael Buechler of Midrash Manicures — have Passover written all over them. (And, yes, there is more than one way to spell matzah.) 

“[During COVID,] I bought my kids PJs for the seder because we weren’t having guests and my younger son [pictured here] called them his matza pajamas,” she explains, “so I decided to create actual matza pajamas.”  

Clever children might even tell you that we lean on this night (Jews ask why they recline as one of the traditional Four Questions) … because they’re wearing their PJs! (Psst, they’re also available in adult sizes.)

Where to buy: Matza Pajamas ($36, 

4. Take an interactive trip back in time 

Passover for kids activities
Image via K’ilu Company

Children certainly learn through imaginative play, and that’s exactly what is intended with this downloadable family K’ilu Kit that basically puts kids on the Passover stage. The “audio-based and participatory” program, explains K’ilu Company founder Jonathan Schmidt Chapman, “guides kids and families with easy instructions to act out the story along with the voices of the characters … using objects from around the house and your imagination.” 

While the program may have kids gently guiding baby Moses down the Nile or pretending to run alongside him as he parts the Red Sea, Chapman explains it is done in an kid-friendly way (no nightmarish mention of the death of the firstborn to catch you off guard!). 

Passover for kids activities
Image via K’ilu Company

The audio kit (which can be used during the seder) includes a printable set of materials to help tell the story and a scavenger hunt for additional props.

Where to buy: Family Passover Adventure ($18,

5. Choose a Haggadah with kids — and kindness! — at its core

Image via The Haggadah Collective

Make your seder different by keeping kids as the focus. Children will likely see themselves in “Hug-It Out”— a “li’l Haggadah for kids” created by mother-daughter duo Pearl and Maxie Richman. It is intended as a direct companion to The Haggadah Collective’s main text, but it can be used on its own for a seder that caters to a younger crowd.

“We wanted to give kids a voice at the table,” explains Pearl Richman of the book that follows adorable characters Annie and Arnie who playfully appear on the pages alongside the blessings, story and rituals of the meal. Modern and inclusive details are intertwined in all that tradition and presented in a kid-friendly way, which might even encourage little ones to want to lead the seder.

There’s a special cup of water for Miriam (Moses’ sister) to celebrate women, an orange on the seder plate meant to represent equal rights, a moment to remember the children who did not survive the Holocaust and a prayer to honor refugees across the globe

Where to buy:Hug-It-Out” ($25, Jewish Museum Shop)

6. Connect to the refugee experience

Image via the HIASRefugees/Instagram

In the spirit of Passover, download this printable seder plate activity from HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Through this activity, children of all ages can offer words (such as hope and resilience) and pictures of meaningful objects to understand both the Passover story, their own family’s migration story and the plight of those around the world searching for refuge today. This is a great way to start complex conversations with kids about other historical instances of Jewish expulsion and ongoing suffering in the face of antisemitism. 

It’s also a good way of reminding children that even as they celebrate, there are many people who cannot. That’s why during the seder participants pour a fifth glass of wine (the seder traditionally involves four ceremonial cups) and open the door to symbolically welcome the prophet Elijah.

7. Tell the story through songs

Image via Kar-Ben Publishing

Every seder usually includes a rousing rendition of the song “Dayenu,” which translates to “it would have been enough.” But my favorite recollections of the family dinner involve some (particularly out-of-tune) children’s songs from the coloring book Haggadah my family has used for decades. 

Tunes like “One Morning” (to describe Pharaoh waking up during one of the plagues with frogs in his bed) and “Listen King Pharaoh” (with lyrics that beg him to “let my people go”) not only help retell the story, but they keep seder participants singing throughout the festive meal. 

Also not to miss are the many holiday playlists, as well as more modern parody performances that range from pop tunes for older kids to preschool delights. A few to play during Passover prep include:

Where to buy: My Very Own Haggadah” ($5, Amazon)

8. Adorn kids’ place settings with hands-on activities

Passover for kids activities
Image via Amazon

Sure, the story and songs of the seder will lure kids to the table, but get them even more involved by adding easy activities and props to the festivities. These individual DIY seder plates can be colored and completed before or during the holiday meal so children can have a seder plate of their own. 

Another tradition some families have is to pass out headbands, finger puppets or even bags filled with symbols representing some or all of the 10 plagues while the adults are dipping their pinkies in wine. Again, this is not to glorify, but to recognize and engage children with that part of the Passover story. 

With Love, Ima offers instructions for a DIY Passover bag with homemade images and household materials that can become somewhat of a guessing game for both children and adults. 

Passover for kids activities
Image via With Love, Ima

Where to buy: Rite-Lite DIY Seder Plates ($14,

9. Make a menu of sweet treats

Image via Jewish Together

It might not be easy to get kids excited for the bitter herbs (one of the six symbolic foods on the seder plate), but chocolate covered matzah and coconut macaroons will likely make it onto their must-have Passover menu. 

Take a cue from this eight days of Passover coloring page from Marni, the surface pattern designer behind Jewish Together, and spread these yummy treats out over the holiday or incorporate them all into the seder meal. (Kids can drink grape juice instead of wine.) You might also turn those sheets of matzah into matzah brei, which is a yummy Passover breakfast, or even matzah pizza! Plus, kids will love coloring in the treats as they eat.

Where to find: Printable 8 Days of Passover Countdown coloring page (free with newsletter subscription email sign-up, Jewish Together) 

10.  Use a question catcher to spark discussion 

Passover for kids activities
Image reproduced from PJ Library with permission of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation

The classic Four Questions, which help answer why the seder night is different from all other nights, aren’t the only ones children can be tasked with asking and answering during the holiday. Grown-ups can also encourage them to pose other questions about the holiday, its meaning and its many connections to the present. 

To help make the holiday relatable for children, take a page out of PJ Library’s Passover planning ideas and create a fun Passover Question Catcher (like the old-school origami fortune teller catchers). Simply download the PDF that best fits the child’s age and follow the step-by-step folding instructions. In no time, children 4 and younger will be expressing gratitude and showing off their best happy dance — and those 5 and up will be talking about ways they can help those in need or welcome a guest into their home.

11. Set up an afikomen scavenger hunt

Image via Make It Jewish

Maybe it does all begin and end with matzah … At the start of the seder, a sheet of matzah (the second in a stack of three) is usually broken so that a piece called the afikomen (based on a Greek word meaning “dessert”) can be wrapped and hidden for the children to find at the end of the meal. (Part of the pre-seder fun can be making a homemade afikomen bag, like this colorful paper bag creation from Make It Jewish.)

For a creative twist on the ordinary game of afikomen hide and seek, take a cue from Shanna Silva’s book “Passover Scavenger Hunt,” and create a collaborative game using clues that lead the kids from one Passover symbol to the next. Final destination? The coveted piece of matzah and usually a prize!

Where to buy: “Passover Scavenger Hunt” ($5, Amazon)

12. Choose an all-in-one Passover prep kit

Passover for kids activities
Images via Days United

The Passover boxes from Days United help take the guesswork out of teaching kids about the holiday. Each box includes a Haggadah and holiday guidebook. Choose the box that matches kids’ ages and traditions at the core of your family’s celebration. The Night to Remember box features ten plagues pixel art and a DIY TV project to accompany the song many sing at the end of the seder while the DIY Seder box focuses on crafts to enhance the special meal. The Journey of Exodus box includes activities like baking mini matzahs in the shape of pyramids. Something for everyone of every age, indeed.

Where to buy: Passover in a Box: A Night to Remember, Passover in a Box: DIY Seder and Passover in a Box: The Journey of Exodus ($53 each, Days United)

13. Involve the kids in holiday cleaning — and in giving back to others

For many Jewish families, spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning before Passover. It’s customary to clean the kitchen of chametz (foods like bread that contain leavened grains that are not supposed to be eaten during the holiday) to make room for matzah and other kosher for Passover staples. Have the kiddos help pack unopened bread and grain products to give to local food pantries. 

It’s also a good time to clean out closets and drawers and donate no longer needed items to help families nearby and around the world, like those fleeing war torn areas like Ukraine

After all, while Passover is a celebration of the Jewish people’s initial freedom from slavery, it is also a reminder to teach and embrace the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam (or repairing the world) and help those who are still suffering.