10 Ways to Gamify Your Passover Seder
Great games to add excitement to your Passover seder.
My husband often lies to me. Intentionally. And I do the same to him.
It’s all part of a weekly game “Two Truths and a Lie.” We take turns picking a theme and making a series of statements about our days, one of which is completely false.
Pre-pandemic, the themes were a bit more interesting (“Things that happened to me on the subway”). Now, they’ve taken on a more mundane flavor (“Three funny things that happened on a Zoom call today”), but the game is still fun.
I think I’ve always lived this way. Gamifying life.
- I saw someone you know at the store? Let’s play 20 questions.
- I’m serving you a food I made? Close your eyes and guess the main ingredient.
- I don’t want to put away an item? Here, catch! Now, you touched it last.
Games have kept me company everywhere: long car rides, boring dates, and even routine dentist appointments. In my decade as a classroom teacher, I’ve used them every single day. Games make everything more interesting, engaging, exciting.
Which is why the Passover Seder gets me so excited. There are so many good game opportunities! Over the years, I’ve built up a pretty big repertoire of engaging activities to whip out at any time. (I’ve even written a book about it!)
Here are my 10 tips to how you can gamify your Seder. Ready?
- In Six Words: Come up with discussion questions before the Seder about Passover, freedom, and related themes. When you ask the questions, your Seder participants must limit their answers to exactly six words: no more and no less.
- Truth or Dare: Keep people on their toes! Prepare a bunch of cards beforehand. On some, write out Passover questions which are answered in the Haggadah (Ex: what is the 3rd question of the Mah Nishtana?). On others, write a dare that participants have to do at a specific point during the Seder. (Ex: Whip out your Egyptian dancing moves at the first mention of Egypt). This will lead to many truths and silly antics throughout the night.
- Catch the Phrase: Using an online noun-generator before the Seder, prepare a bunch of cards. Each card should have two random nouns and one word related to Passover. (Ex: shoelace, pickle, Haggadah.) Each participant should get a card at the beginning of the Seder, and the challenge is to incorporate all three words in one sentence at some point during the meal. A player is successful if a full minute goes by after saying their sentence without being called out.
- Stop and Pose: Challenge your Seder participants to come up with a yoga pose, based on an action from the Haggadah. They should name the pose and demonstrate it of course. (Ex: Walking through the split sea.)
- Get Rid of the Chametz: Print out a paper containing a little piece of bread before the Seder. Instruct all your participants that the person who has the chametz in their possession at the end of the Seder loses. Get the game started by sneaking it into someone’s shoe or pocket. The fun begins.
- Hidden Qs: Why just search for the afikomen? Hide little question slips of paper around the room. When participants find them, they answer the question and receive a point for the correct answer. Whoever has the most at the end of the night is the winner.
- The Search: Beforehand, create a bunch of cards, each with a phrase from the Haggadah. Give out the cards at the beginning of the Seder, and instruct each participant to dance, cheer, or clap when their phrase appears.
- Jeopardy: Throughout the Seder, keep people engaged by asking questions, Jeopardy-style. Ask the other participants to come up with the correct questions.
- Reverse Charades: Create a bunch of cards before the Seder, each with an action or noun related to Passover. (Ex: the Seder plate, making matzah.) Throughout the Seder, have participants leave the room, one at a time. Pick a card and pass it around for everyone else at your Seder. Call back the player, and have everyone act the card out: together, until that player guesses correctly.
- Two Truths and a Lie: I had to end with this one, of course. At the beginning of the Seder, ask everyone to come up with 3 statements about themselves, all relating to Passover. But only two should be true. Invite everyone to share their three at any point in the Seder, and everyone else has to guess which is the false statement.
(PSA: If you don’t have the time to prep, but want a game-filled Seder, you can find my ready-made games on thatjewishmoment.com/shop.)
These ideas should be enough to get you started. The Seder is all about storytelling and engaging everyone in a hands-on manner. From my years of experience, games are the best way to do that. And this is not one of my lies.