Jews are encouraged to ask as many questions as they like during the Seder. Of course, younger children may yearn to linger at the table, but not have the patience for every discussion. You can help them out by making Pesach place mats filled with holiday games.
All you need are:
• strong, white paper;
• various colors of felt-tip markers;
• access to a business that does laminating (this includes most photocopy shops, where each laminated piece costs about $1).
The games you select will, of course, depend on the age of the child, but here are a few ideas:
• Draw (or write the names of) various foods, from apples to almonds to rice, and ask the child to say which can be eaten on Pesach and which cannot.
• Write the word matzoh, then have the child create 10 silly uses for matzoh (glue four together and make a handbag, place in front and behind paper to make a book, top with feathers for a hat).
• Make a drawing with a bunch of hidden afikomans the child must find (is there anyone who doesn?t like finding the afikoman?).
• Have a maze with baby Moshe in a basket. Ask the child to trace his finger from the start of the river to safety with Pharaoh?s daughter.
• Write various Pesach terms and ask the child to find rhyming words. It?s best to separate these by syllable, as even the most articulate child may have difficulty finding something to rhyme with, say, charoset. Here?s how your words might look: PE - SACH (so the child could rhyme a word with either “Pe” or “sach”) AF - I - KO - MAN
• Write the names of the rabbis mentioned in the Haggadah, and have the child tell you something about each one at the end of the Seder.
• Make your own illustration for “Chad Gadyah,” then have the child point to each figure as you sing the song.
• Write the letter of the first word in each section, for example chaf or “K,” for Karpas, mem for Magid (or “R” for “Retelling the story of the Exodus”), then see if the child can guess which letter begins which part.
When you have completed your place mat, have it laminated, then place under your child?s plate at the Seder. He or she will have a great time!