Pesach, the Hebrew word for Passover, is an eight-day springtime festival representing rebirth and new beginnings. This year’s Passover celebration starts March 27. It is celebrated for eight days because although the Israelites left Egypt on the first day of Passover, they were chased by Pharaoh’s army for a whole week.
The holiday that honors the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. Before the ancient Jews fled Egypt, their firstborn children were “passed over” and spared from death, thus dubbing the holiday “Passover.” (Parents.com)
It is also said to commemorate how the angel of death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites during the 10th plague of Egypt. (Wikipedia.)It is especially significant against the backdrop of the pandemic this year and for many the Seder demonstrates that hope prevails and freedom should be cherished.
All in all, it’s a pretty violent history to share with kids, but this article on parents.com lays out the basics in a kid-friendly story format: https://www.parents.com/holiday/passover/how-to-explain-the-passover-story-to-kids/
The Sedar Plate
The most recognizable item on the table is the large round plate with six indentations. (That being said, a plate is not actually required—you can simply set out a napkin and place the ceremonial foods on it if need be.) The Seder plate holds a roasted egg, which is a sign of new life; bitter herbs to remind us of the ancient Jews’ hard lives; parsley to represent spring (which we dip in salt water depicting Jewish people’s tears); charoset, a sweet mixture of apples and honey that represents the mortar used by the slaves; a shank bone to remind us of the slaughtered lambs; and lettuce or horseradish to symbolize the slaves’ bitter lives. The oldest family member usually leads the Seder and refers to each object while telling the story. This helps to visualize the past and look forward to a better future. (parents.com)
From Spruce Eats, some typical food to be enjoyed during the holiday are of course the matzo, matzo ball soup (https://www.thespruceeats.com/matzo-ball-soup-meat-2122297)
sweet brisket (https://www.thespruceeats.com/coca-cola-brisket-2121542)
and gefilte fish.
Some fun crafts include creating a Afkomen bag for hiding the Matzo Bread. This is a kid’s game in which whoever finds the hidden matzo gets a prize. Here are the instructions from Creative Jewish Mom for the bag: https://www.creativejewishmom.com/2011/04/a-no-sew-felt-afikomen-bag-thats-really-an-envelope-1.html
The ten plagues are an integral part of the Passover story (blood, frogs, darkness, beasts, etc.). You can make cute little finger puppets of the ten plagues using felt, glue, and googly eyes, and a “plague bag” to keep them in. During this portion of the seder, you can have the kids take over by explaining each plague performing it.
Make a Matzo house from matzo bread, gummies, and nut butter! Here is recipe from epicurious: https://www.epicurious.com/holidays-events/make-your-own-matzoh-house-article