Teaching the Four Children of Passover with Video, Activities, and More
Passover is a holiday already filled with questions: Why is this night different from all other nights? Why do we dip, eat bitter herbs and recline? Why does matzah taste like that? When do we eat?
The good news is that our friends at BimBam have videos that cover nearly every question you or your children can come up with, from what to expect at the seder to the words to the famous "Frog Song". You can even learn how to make your own matzah!
One area that often gets overshadowed in all the questions is one that often resonates with parents of multiple children – the Four Children. Don’t worry: There’s a BimBam video for that, too!
Learn About the Four Children (Kind Of)
“A Passover Seder…with the Four Sons” explains the concept in a way that most kids should be able to understand, with just the right amount of snark. You can use the video to get kids to think about their own questions about Passover, which child they relate to the most, and whether it is even right to put children into these kinds of categories.
One drawback of this video, though, is that it only speaks about Four Sons, not Four Children. At the very end, one of the characters asks, “Why don’t we have any sisters?” – but other than that, there is no mention of the fact that the children could very well be daughters.
Extend Your Learning
You can use this video as a jumping off point to discuss the many, many portrayals of the Four Children that are out there, from contemporary fiction characters to feminist and liberation portrayals to the verses in the Torah behind this part of the seder.
Consider the following options:
- Which of the Four Children are You?: This family activity guides parents in exploring the text of the Four Children through contemporary movies and pop culture.
- The Four Children of Climate Change: Guide discussions about our Jewish obligation to “till and tend” the earth and varying beliefs on climate change.
- The Four Children of Racial Justice: Spark conversation about the importance of racial justice and the Reform Jewish commitment to equality.
- The Four Children of Reform Zionism: Rabbi Neal Gold offers a way to reintroduce Israel into our seder by asking: How is our freedom connected to Israel?
- The Four Children of LGBTQ Inclusion: Rabbi Dara Lithwick offers model for teaching about LGBTQ inclusion in an effort to make our seder tables – and our communities – ever more welcoming and free.
- The Four Children of Star Wars: Not all discussions need be serious! Rabbi Micah Streiffer pairs beloved Star Wars characters with corresponding Passover archetypes.
Which of these feel the most relatable to your children? If they had to write their own, what would they say? Which characters from their favorite books or shows would they put in each category?
At the end, the video outlines some Passover traditions from around the world. Let your kids try to figure out why different communities do different things and what the answers to those questions might be. Want to take it a step further? Check out “10 Passover Recipes from Around the World” to bring your lessons to life… in a delicious way!
The possibilities are endless – and your family might even create its own lasting Passover traditions.
Stephanie Fink is the associate director of family engagement for Engaging Families with Young Children, part of the Union for Reform Judaism's Strengthening Congregations initiative.