When we said “Next year in Jerusalem” at last year's seder, I don't think any of us ever meant it as much as we did that night. Did any of us dream we would still be in lock down for a second Pesach seder?
Zoom was still fresh, and the idea of being alone for seder perhaps had some positivity attached to it. This year it’s different. We are tired, and have had enough screen exposure for a lifetime.
It is clear that the majority of us will still be relying on technology to get through this Pesach too, and although we are zoomed out and desperate for human interaction, we may as well muck in and make the most of it!
I’ve gathered some of my favourite ideas and projects that may inspire your family this holiday.1. Create a family Haggadah
Challenge your family to create a family haggadah this year. There are many sites to do this with but my two favourites are haggadot.com (best for ages 10+) and jistudio.net (best for ages 5-10)
Both are free, and contain haggadah templates that can be printed or used online. If you are really creative you can add in family photos, using the Ji Studio tool to add in backgrounds of the pyramids or pesach scenes from the 100’s of graphics and backgrounds in the site.2. Create a Pesach Game
There are 1000’s of Pesach backgrounds and images on jitap.net where you can design and create your own games and quizzes to play, with no coding skills needed. All that is required is a login and the ‘Create’ section is free to use.
3. Create a Pesach zoom background
If you are zooming loved ones for your seder or before seder starts you can make it more engaging by using these Pesach zoom backgrounds! There are 100’s of Pesach backgrounds and graphics on Ji Tap that can be used or checkout these ready made ones from everydayjewishmom.com4. Make your zoom more interactive
Dress up on screen and using the zoom spotlight function, spotlight a character for each part of the story, or each zoom participant has to be ready to read or speak when spotlighted by the host.
Using the annotate tools to ask children to draw around objects on the screen or highlight an item on a seder plate.
Use the inbuilt zoom poll button to create a Pesach quiz for the family.
Singing some favourite Pesach songs whilst zooming loved ones and recording them on gallery view, using the zoom record feature, is a great way to bring joy to people this Pesach. You can easily create a Maccabeats style fun video that can then be shared on family WhatsApp groups before the holiday or during the week.5. Learn Seder songs with a grandparent
Using the share screen function on zoom, www.JiTap.net has over 50 Pesach games and over 15,000 Jewish and Hebrew games the family can interact with and play. Many grandparents are using the combination of the Ji Tap platform and zoom to have fun, learning sessions with their grandchildren - look at the Pesach Songs course to brush up on that Mah Nishtanah!6. Parent free digital learning
During the pre-Pesach madness, parents have been looking for guilt free screen time while they can get some time out. Ji Bytes (bytes.jikids.org) has been specifically designed by expert teachers for an hour long session for children aged 4-10 with online and offline activities and crafts to do for Pesach, needing minimum adult participation. There are 12 sessions to choose from including cooking, arts and crafts and digital creation activities, and the best thing about it is it’s all free! (Best used on a desktop or laptop)7. Spice up that walk to the park
Bored of going on walks to parks - during the week of Pesach this year it’s somewhat challenging to find things to do but we want to get out the house and off the screens for a bit! Why not download an online scavenger hunt like thesecret.city? These have soared in popularity and I recommend the ones that take you around a city and give you clues to the next location via texts on your phone. They do cost, but really are great fun and can be completed safely and within legal restrictions.8. Photo competitions
Transform hikes or days of boredom with a photo challenge. There are a myriad of photo apps out there -whilst on a hike challenge kids to a “best landscape photo” - which they can touch up when they get home to make it really special, inspiring budding young photographers whilst getting them into the fresh air!9. Activities for children of all needs
Our friends at Beit Issie Shapiro, the leading experts of technology for people with disabilities have a wide range of inclusive apps and Pesach content on their website beitissie.org.il/tech/apps-digital-ideas-Pesach-fun/
10. Online cookathons
There are many chefs offering zoom cooking sessions and you can book a session for some kids as a great Pesach activity. Or do your own with a friend and share a charoset recipe together over facetime. Inspire kids to cook by taking photos at each stage of the process, and then afterwards use an iMovie template to simply select your photos and instantly create a professional looking video of the experience, for them to share. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience and becomes a memory to treasure and to look back on next year, when hopefully we will all be at a seder together truly celebrating our freedom!