Middle School Prepares for Pesach

BT Middle School students prepared for Pesach with special activities, including baking their own matzah and hosting each other for interactive model seders.
In preparation for Passover, some BT Middle School students baked their own matzah, while others observed professionals baking it at the matzah factory in Columbia. 

Next, all Middle School classes partnered up for interactive model seders. Rabbi Levi's 7th grade class hosted Rabbi K's 5th grade class, while Rabbi Abraham's 8th grade paired up with Rabbi K's 6th grade class. Each class came prepared with material and thoughts to share. The students, seated in small groups, engaged each other in dialogue, Seder thoughts and song, gaining a lot in the process.

Make Your Own Seder More Engaging 
For years, Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky has compiled games and activities to enhance his family’s Passover Seders, and now he wants to share them with you to use at yours!

Great Site:
http://joidenver.com/passover/
 
Games and Tips for the Seder
The Seder nights are some of the most memorable of the Jewish calendar. Many of us have fond memories of our family Seders. Others just remember the grown-ups reading the Haggadah round the table, as our tummies rumbled and we wondered if dinner was ever coming.
But the Seder shouldn't be dull. Long before the days of multimedia, in the times of the Mishna, the Seder was an audio-visual re-enactment of the going out of Egypt for the children. In some communities the father would dress up in a white robe, holding a stick with an attached cloth and walk around the table chanting the passage, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…”
The whole aim was – and continues to be – to stimulate the kids to ask questions and get involved in the Seder. The "props" – be it the Seder plate, or the cushions for leaning – are all there in order to arouse curiosity in our kids and get them asking questions.

Here are a number of ideas to make the Seder fun and meaningful for everyone. All the games are suitable for all ages and are a lot of fun.
 
 
1. Questions
For many years we asked each child to come up with 2 questions for each of their siblings. During Maggid, every 5-10 minutes, we would stop and hand out a question to each child. Once theyhad all their questions answered, they received a piece of theAfikomen which they could "redeem" for a present at Tzafoon.

I've broken up the questions our children came up with into "Easy" and "Hard", but that is relative, since it depends on the child's age. I've listed the answers to most of them. Questions and More Questions.

One year we put the questions in a format that we handed out as cards. Different style questions are very important for older children, such as "What doesn't belong?", "What is the common theme?", Multiple Choice, Jeopardy, etc. Here are some more questions for you to check out: Different Questions

Finally, here is a list of "Which Makka?" questions (in Hebrew) based on Midda Kenegged Midda. In other words, based on the particular torment, or pain inflicted, the Egyptians received a particular Makka. This could also be played as a Charades game (see below).

(This list is compiled in "MiTa'amei Hashulchan," where there are almost 100 of them!).

The answers are left as an exercise to the reader.
 
2. 20 questions
Tie a scarf around person's head and put a piece of paper in between the scarf and the forehead. The paper should have a Pesach related noun on it. The person has to guess the noun on his/her head. The people around the table who can see the noun can only answer “yes” or “no,” but often some will say “yes” and others will say “no” (lots of fun) and other times the answer isn't yes or no. This game should *not* be limited to just the children - it's fun when the adults have to guess as well! You typically start out with "Is it a person?", "Place?", "Thing?". This worked out *very* well, great for all ages (pick nouns that are age appropriate). See Scarf attachment

3. Numbers
Have children come up with various number trivia. Here are some examples.
 
4. Grab bag
Another very fun game. Put lots of interesting stuff in a bag (about 10). Older kids like the creative nature of choosing unique items. Every once in a while in Maggid we would pass the bag around and pull one out and say how the item was connected to Pesach. This worked out *very* well, because after the person answered, the original person who picked the items would say why they thought it was connected, often not the same answer! Then other people gave their reason and it generated good conversation. We had things like a sneaker (leaving Egypt in the middle of the night), teddy bear (Arove), stuffed dog (the dogs didn't bark), fruit, toy sheep, gold/silver/jewelry, red item, band-aids, plastic cow (Devver), keys on a ring (can't remember), etc...

5. Bingo
This is wonderful for younger kids (or grandkids). Make up a card, 5x5, of words from the Hagaddah, and give each kid 25 marshmallows. Whenever they see or hear a word on their bingo card, they cover that word with a marshmallow. When they get a bingo, of course they get to eat the marshmallows!And when they finish all 25 marshmallows, they get some other prize(or we used give them a piece of the afikoman which they redeemed later on in the Seder for a present).

Don't worry - they generally don't eat all 25 marshmallows, but if you think they might ...) - then give them different "healthier"items for each row, like carrots (or whatever you use for Karpas!), etc... Make a picture at the end of the row, so they remember which item to use.

Even better, we had our older siblings spend time before Pesach making up the bingo cards for the younger kids!  Bingo card (Hebrew)

For pre-readers, use pictures of familiar words mentioned throughout Maggid, such as: Frogs, Mitzrayim, Horses, etc...Words that younger children will recognize and know the pictures of...Make sure to emphasize the word while you're reading them to catch their attention.

Also use chocolate chips - smaller and less sugar content than marshmallows.
 
6. Charades
Younger kids prepare charade scenes before Pesach and the adults have to guess what the scene is about. Keeps them busy for hours before Pesach. Or kids & adults can play a speed game version, using these cards:
The even pages are the "back-side" of the cards. If you don't have a double-sided printer, then just print the odd-page numbers ("subset" field in the PDF print dialog box).You can then re-insert the pages and print the even-page numbers.
Playing Charades of the 50 Miracles on the Yam Suf (see your child’s Hagaddah pages 110, 111) is also a great way to envision what is was like to be there.

7. Interviewee guessing game
Basically, the person interviewed had to guess who he was, based on the questions he was being asked. For example, if the interviewee was: "The last person in line in Yetziyat Mitzrayim". The questions were things like "So, could you see the Mitzriyim over your shoulder?", etc. Or: "Pharaoh on his day of retirement". Only worked with much older children.

8. Taboo
If your kids ever get into Taboo, have them make up cards related to Pesach and have their friends do it too - then you switch sets of cards so nobody knows the words. This game is lots of fun! Do it at Shoolchan Orech, or on Shabbos Hagadol or Shabbos Chol Hamoed (we found it too much fun - and disruptive - during Maggid). Depending on the mood, we had each team say something about one of the cards they won. This is also a great game to foist on guests! Taboo cards - front

Depending on the paper, you may be able to see the text through it, if so, you can print the following on the back-side of the cards: Taboo cards - back
9. ImaginIff
ImaginIff is a great game - highly recommended. To setup the full game and instructions, click here.

Here is a simple way to play the game:
Each question has up to 6 answers and each person gets voting 6 cards, numbered from 1 to 6. One person reads a question out loud and each person places 1 voting card face down in front of them. Note that for some of the questions you can substitute a family member, guest, famous person, etc.
 
Scoring: For the most popular answer you get 2 points. If there's a tie, then you receive 1 point.

Everybody can play for themselves or you can play in teams. Remember at the end of each round to explain your reasoning - it'll generate *great* discussions!

We made voting cards and 20 questions for Pesach for you to play with - but make your own! Excellent for kids 10-12 years old and above: Examples for Imaginiff
10. Treasure hunt
Setup a treasure hunt with 5 clues for each child. Have a break every 10-15 minutes during Maggid and let the younger kids search for the next 1 or 2 clues. The last clue brings them to a piece of the Afikoman which they "redeem" for a present. This worked great when our kids were much younger.

11. Jeopardy
An idea we used for our Purim Seudah, which could be used for the Sederis to put together Jeopardy questions. Here are some sample categories: Personalities, Numbers, Places, Emotions and Dates.

Take a look at what Rafi Goldrich put together - a full blown Jeopardy Game!

12. Fill in the Blank ... NUMBER!
Thanks to a bunch of people - we've put together 25 "number" trivia questions about Pesach.

Here's an example: 4 = K_______ of W_______ at the S_______4 = Kosos of Wine at the Seder. Passover Numbers Trivia - Have fun everyone!

13. Categories
Hand out to each child/couple one or two categories before Pesach. They then have to come up with a: Question/Pshat/Devar Torah/Answer/Gematriya/Poem/Whatever. Tie your category into Pesach some way! You can use Haggadot, friends, Google, whatever - but challenge everyone at the Seder! Here are some starter categories.

14. Headlines
This is a variation on Categories. Instead of giving categories, give a list of verbs, nouns, adjectives and prepositions and have each person choose 2-3 from each pile and make a headline connected to Pesach. Lots of fun for the creative writers in the family! 

15. Letter Rip
Split the table into 2 teams and throw out "generic" questions (see below). Each team alternates with answers. Here are some sample questions (use Hebrew or English letters, depending on your Seder participants - or both!):+ Name chametz items that start with the letter "d" or "s"+ Words connected to freedom that have the letter "l" or "b" in them+ Emotions felt at the Seder that have the letters "n" or "t" in them+ Food associated with Pesach that begin with an "f" or "m"+ Fundamental words associated with Pesach that begin with a "Mem."

16. The Why Game
You will need a basket full of questions and answers about Passover on individual index cards or paper. Get your kids, ahead of time, to prepare as many questions and answers as they can from the Haggadah and write the questions and answers down. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
  • Why do we eat Matzah on Passover? To remind us of the dough that didn’t have time to rise as our forefathers were rushed out of Egypt.
  • Name the Four Sons? The wise, the wicked, the simple, and the one who doesn’t know how to ask.
  • How many cups of wine do we drink at the Seder? Four.
  • What things connected with Seder night are associated with the number four? Four sons, four cups of wine, four questions.
  • Why four cups of wine? To celebrate our freedom.
  • What is the second plague? Frogs.
  • Why do we dip in the Charoset? The Charoset represents the cement that the Jews used to cement the bricks together in their slavery. Today we dip as a sign of freedom.
  • What does the shank bone remind us of? The Passover lamb which our forefathers sacrificed to God when they came out of Egypt.
  • Can you say all ten plagues in order? Blood, frogs, vermin, wild beasts, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, plague of the firstborn.
  • Can you say the ten plagues backwards? Plague of the firsborn, darkness, locusts, hail, boils, pestilence, wild beasts, vermin, frogs, blood.
  • Who am I? I am the last thing you eat before you bensch, say the blessing after the meal. There are often lots of fights over who hides me and who finds me. Who am I? The Afikoman.
  • Who am I? I am one of the key figures in the story of the going out of Egypt. I lost my whole army and half my country in my stubbornness. Who am I? Pharoah.
  • Who am I? I am one of the plagues. I made the Egyptians itch like crazy all over. Who am I? Lice.
  • Who am I? My name does not appear once in the Haggadah, but I went several times to Pharoah with my brother to try and persuade him to let the Jewish people go. Who am I? Moses.
  • Who do we fill a cup for on the Seder table and hope he comes and joins our Seder? Elijah.
After the Mah Nishtana, you ask one of the kids to blindfold one of the guests or another family member. Then the blindfolded one has to pick a card out of a box or hat.

Someone is chosen to read the question. If the blindfolded one answers correctly he or she gets a point/sweet/nut/small prize. The game can be played at different intervals during the evening.
 
17. The Story Bag Game
This humorous game reveals how creative and clever participants are in connecting random items found around the house to the Passover story. The game can be played at different intervals throughout the Seder, in between reading the text. It requires very little preparation.

Get your kids to collect a bag full of small items from around a house – almost anything will do. For example: Duplo man, plastic animals, a plastic crown, a toy car, an envelope, a cup, a jar of red colored water, pajama trousers, a Kiddush cup, lice shampoo, any stuffed animals, etc.

Pass the bag filled with the items around the table and get people to pick out an object without looking. Now each person has to connect the item in his hand to the story.

Here’s an example of what someone might say who selected Duplo man from the bag: “You are probably very curious who I am? Well, many years ago, our people were enslaved in Egypt by a very powerful King called Pharaoh. One day God appeared to me at the burning bush and told me to remove my shoes. That’s why I don’t have any shoes on. God then told me that I was going to lead the Jews out of Egypt."

This game gets young and old involved and is a lot of fun.

18. Pharoah’s Telephone
You could use a simple plastic toy telephone that doesn’t make noise, or any object that you can pretend is a phone, and lots of blocks on the floor next to the Seder table.

At any time during the Seder, you make a pretend ringing noise. There is a hushed silence and you pick up the phone. It is Pharaoh on the other end. According to your improvised one-sided conversation, it becomes clear that all children under 8 have to get down from the table and start building a pyramid.

You can get one or two of the older children to be the task masters and shout out orders to work faster, etc. Children love doing this.

If you have several children at the Seder, you can do a competition who can build the tallest tower/pyramid.

19. Radio Game
Ahead of time get the older kids to prepare a news report about the Ten Plagues and the Crossing of the Red Sea.

As part of the "broadcast" they can interview some of the guests as Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, etc.

These characters can be totally improvised or described on an index card that you hand to the guests. For example: "You are Pharaoh. You have just been woken up in the middle of the night by your adviser who has told you that there is no water to drink in the whole of Egypt, only blood. The radio reporter wants to hear your statement about what you’re going to do."

20. Who or What Am I?

In advance of Seder night write out on separate pieces of paper the names of characters or objects associated with Seder night. For example: Pharoah, Elijah the Prophet, The Wise Son, Maror, Charoset, Matzah, Chametz, Frog, Wild Beast, etc.
During the Seder choose a volunteer. Tie a scarf around his forehead and stick a name on the scarf so that everyone can see it but him. Now he has to ask questions about himself, to which everyone answers Yes/No until he figures out who he is.
If he guesses in five or less questions, he gets a prize.

21. Give Us a Clue
This game is for a more advanced or slightly older age group. It works like charades. Prepare different verses from the Haggadah ahead of time, and write them on paper. Each participant randomly chose a card. He then has to mime the sentence and the rest of the guests and family have to guess the passage.
 
The participant is not allowed to talk, but he may indicate how many words are in the passage with his fingers. He can show that a word rhymes with another word by touching his ear. This game can be adapted for younger kids to act out the Ten Plagues or simpler words connected to the Passover story.
 
22. The Four Sons
To get children excited in advance of the Seder, have them prepare plasticine or clay models of the four sons.

These can be placed on the Seder table and held up when that section of the Haggadah is read. They can also be used to stimulate a discussion as to what the Haggadah means by wicked, simple etc. (To get the conversation going, you might ask: Is it a bad thing to be simple? Why doesn’t the fourth son know what to ask?)

23. Passover Bingo
Games like Passover Bingo (www.passoverbingo.com) bring the Haggadah alive, keeping kids and adults eagerly participating at your Seder. The Passover Bingo board game has words and images that are central to the Passover holiday. It's professionally designed to help people learn about Passover. This game can be used at any time to learn about the important events and personalities of Passover, or during your first and second Seders for Passover.

This unique Jewish board game, which is fun and educational, can be enjoyed by the entire family. It helps motivate people to follow along with the story of Exodus. Guests at your traditional Seder will be participating and paying rapt attention to the pages, thanks to this easy-to-play game. People who play it before or after the Seder will leave satisfied that they have grasped the basic concepts of Passover, made so accessible in a colorful graphic format.

The Passover Bingo game features bright colors, cards that are durable, large, and easy to read, words and pictures on the boards that correspond with the Hagaddah and story of Exodus from Egypt, and enough cards for up to six players. A word list and explanations are included, so the bingo game can be played any time people get in the Pesach mood.

This popular board game makes a great gift for family or friends. It's available at www.passoverbingo.com for $24.95, and a portion of profits are set aside for tzedakah

Plague Props:

Blood: Take a clear plastic cup and put some Kosher for Passover Jello powder in it.  Then Take a pitcher of water and slowly pour into the cup
Frogs: Buy Stretchable Flying Frogs - they’ll love it
Lice: If you have the stomach for it -- buy here
Wild Animals: Face Costumes work well.
Pestilence: Take toy animals and knock them over
Hail: Marshmallows…place 1 red jellybean like candy in it...yum
Hail: Make an ice tray filled with water and put 1 red candy in it…then let it freeze
Darkness: Blindfolds
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