Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Adar 5759 - March 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

















Home and Family
Creativity Corner : Homemade Pesach Games That Review The Haggada - Part One
by Devora Piha

These games can be keep-busy activities for that mad pre- Pesach time around the house, first in creating them and then fun for playing. Give the children a CLEAN corner without nosh so that this game can really be Kosher lePesach.

It is Nisan. The rotating wheels of the Jewish calendar are about to bring us back to Pesach. We jump in and begin our pre-Pesach activities, organizing, cleaning and reviewing the halochos of Pesach and the Haggada. Here is an extra activity, one that is not essential to meeting the seder schedule, but one that is of educational value and that can add enjoyment and relaxation with your children to the busy days ahead. In this project, we and our children make our own Haggada Board Game, Memory Game and Lotto cards.

The following games are designed to teach and familiarize your children with the order of the Haggada. As you and your children are creating and playing this game, open the pages of the Haggada and look inside. The Haggada Game board, the Memory game and the Lotto game is a companion to the Haggada to reinforce its contents and message. Prepare the games in ample time before Pesach cleaning and your seder so that you have non-pressured time to spend with your child reviewing or acquainting them with the order of the seder. During Pesach, they will have their own homemade game to play with and keep busy. The more information you give over to the children as you play the games the first time with them, the more they will have to share with their friends as they play the game without you. Make the games along with your child. Let them do as much of the coloring and cutting and decision making as possible. After all, it's only a game. Older children will be curiously watching your preparations and may decide to take over and finish the construction of the games.

Games are educational. They teach turn taking and encourage order. Some games require skill and knowledge. Some rely on chance and others provide information. They can be costly. By making your own Pesach games, not only will you save a bit of money but you will be providing your children with skills that involve planning. Together with your children, you will devise a plan and ground rules to play by. The children will be required to envision the outcome of the game (as well as their own actions). Designing, illustrating and coloring the game is another plus for developmental skills and confidence in expression. The goal is not perfection in this area but simply for the fun and practice.

The description and rules of the games are here for you to follow. But, be sure to make any adjustments or additions as you like to emphasis the concepts that you want to teach your children, such as yiras shomayim, middos or whatever we can learn from the Haggada.

The Haggada is multileveled with several stories running through it simultaneously. As we sit at the seder table in 5759, we travel between the period of slavery in Egypt to the time of R' Akiva in Bnei Brak and up to our present day.

Games #1 and #2 are ready to play after you make your own set of lotto cards with illustrations from the Haggada.

Game #3 is played on a homemade game board using the lotto cards as illustrations. The cards may be attached permanently to the game board or laid out on the board, a table or floor, played and then removed as in a game of solitaire.


Note: the dimensions of the game board will depend on the size of the cards.

* 1 or more illustrated children's Haggada, preferably with black and white illustrations. Or use the illustrations of the Ten Plagues that accompany this article.

* White paper * Cardboard or heavy paper * Pencil and eraser * Scissors and glue * Ruler * Black and colored fine or medium tip markers * A box or plastic bag to store the game board and cards.

* Space markers, one for each player; bottle caps, large buttons or small toys. Check for safety when using small children. * Optional: clear plastic contact adhesive to protect the board and the cards.


In this game, children match pairs of cards requiring recognition and identification of the subject or concept.


* Choose a game theme from the Haggada. The simplicity or complexity of the theme will depend on the ages of the children who will be playing it. For example:

3-4 year olds: the Ten Plagues / 4-5 year olds: the 15 parts of the Seder (if motzi and matza are combined, there are 14) / 6 years and up: all of the Seder, page by page

* Make 2 photocopies of each page from an illustrated Haggada, according to your chosen theme. Choose from 10 to 44 illustrations.

* Or, make 2 copies of the Ten Plagues with these instructions:

* Reduce the size of each to approximately 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (9 x 6 cm.) or a size suitable for lotto cards. Three- year-olds may prefer cards larger than a standard card size for easier holding.

* If several illustrations of the theme appear on one page, such as the 10 plagues, photocopy that page twice and cut out the ten (20) separate pictures.

* Color each illustration in with a fine colored marker.

* Be sure to use the same colors on each set of 2 cards.

* If there are not ample illustrations in your Haggada, photocopy the written print on the pages that read according to your theme. The children will have to search for matching texts rather than matching pictures when they play the game. If desired, draw in by hand the illustration or symbol.

* Color-code the text by coloring both sets of photocopies the same color of the Haggada and the Seder at the same time. Color coding identical or similar objects reinforces memory in children that have heightened visual senses. Use color coding throughout the two games for added memory retention and interest.

* Attach each picture to a piece of cardboard or heavy paper.

* Cut out the cardboard of all the lotto cards in the same size.

* Add texture to the cards for added impact. This is a helpful aid for children who learn better by touch and feel. This is easily done by pulling off little tufts of colored pom-poms or differently textured materials, leather scraps etc. and gluing the pieces onto parts of the illustrations such as the fur or wool of animals.

* Write the name of the scene or selection from the Haggada in bold clear letters in Hebrew on the front of each card. Write the English word on the back of the card.

* Optional: cover the cards in clear contact paper.

TO PLAY: Mix up both sets of cards together. Find the matching pairs and say what they are. Use the rules of other lotto games that you are familiar with as well.

GAME TWO: Memory Game. Make twelve (or more, depending on the theme you choose) pairs of identical illustrations but do not mark on the back. Shuffle them and lay them out on a flat surface in rows, face down, four rows of six cards each (etc.). Each player is allowed to lift up two cards at each turn to try to find a pair. If they are not matched, he must replace them and the next player gets a turn to remember which card he saw where. Players keep each matched pair and get another turn. The one with the most pairs wins.

To be continued next week with Haggada Board Game.


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