Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Countdown to Passover: Plague Playthings

The Passover Seder, the ritual Passover meal, was designed with children in mind.  All kinds of tricks and gimmicks are employed to keep the children involved: the asking of the Four Questions by the youngest child, staying up late to hunt the for the afikomen, sweet special-for-Passover foods, kid-friendly songs.

If you're a little kid, all these things are very cool.  But there is one more thing about Passover that is cooler still.  The central element to the Seder is called "Maggid," which means "telling."  We tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, where, in order to push Pharoah to let the Jewish people go, G-d sent a series of plagues to afflict Egypt.  Those plagues included: Lice, Locusts, Frogs, and Vermin.  So of course, for Passover, we've got to have frog, bug, and snake toys to play with!

I think it is this very reason that Passover brings out the kid in me.  Have you ever gone to and searched for "frogs?" 

If your kids are obsessed with superheroes like mine (yes, I'm talking to you, Mara), they'll love that a lot of them have the same colors as their favorites.  Here's Iron Man:

This year, the dollar section at Target had the most awesome giant bug toys, and I found some insect finger puppets at Oriental Trading.

These snakes were a dollar at Wal-Mart.

My favorite find of the year?  Hefty zooPals products.  They make frog plates and utensils in the shapes of frogs and snakes (you do have to pick through the packs to find ones you want.)  The plates are disposable, but you can use the utensils all Passover long, or probably year-to-year if you want.

I have been known to decorate the Passover table with frogs and bugs.

(If you are reading this and you are one of the kind souls hosting us for Seder this year, I apologize in advance.  My kids will probably insist on bringing at least some of our creepy-crawlies with them, unless you are seriously opposed...)

I collect a few things each year.  This year's haul was disproportionately large because all the toys I've collected are sitting in storage somewhere in Columbus.  But I'm happy to add to the stash!  In a normal year I'd spend about $10-$15  on Passover plague toys and accessories - I spent about $30 this year.   It is so, SO worth it to see my kids excited about Passover!

Stay tuned for a post on Passover books and haggadot for kids, and one on Passover music as well!

What are you doing to get your kids (and yourselves) excited for Passover?


  1. Have you seen the plague masks? We all get into those too :)

  2. Totally FUN! Love all the things you found! You got me excited to go do my Pesach "kid" decorating shopping it was on the "to do list" for tomorrow:)
    Gotta see if I can find anything like those here in Israel (at a good price)
    ...oh Oriental Trading always loved that site:)

  3. @Phyllis my kids have some weird phobia of masks, but I *have* seen them. In fact when I worked at HIllel we let them do double duty, once for Purim and once for Pesach. :)

    @Daniela have fun decorating! I'll be psyched to see what you do!

  4. got a big kick out of picturing you "playing" with those things to prepare for the photos!

  5. This is from last year but it's really cute!


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