The sun sets on the 14th day of Nissan and Passover arrives. Weeks of preparation culminate in a night filled with symbolism and tradition. It is a night of telling. We tell our children about the miraculous rescue of the Jews from Egypt. We tell the story of miracles as we sit around a table filled with symbols. Symbols that will cause our children to ask, symbols that will prompt us to tell.

Getting to that Seder table may require miracles too, if a toddler serves as your general assistant in areas of housekeeping and food preparation. Here are some creative and fun ways to put your assistant to work. All the activities suggested here will help a child develop skills and will allow you to go about your household duties in a (semi) undisturbed manner.


The Playroom

No matter how often you clean them, playrooms always look “played in.” As you sort, organize and toss the toys that are no longer usable, your assistant can engage in some meaningful water play.

Fill a large bin with water. Allow your child to add a bit of soap. A few strategically placed signs will make a fabulous toy washing station. Hand over all the toys in need of a cleaning and watch the dirt magically disappear. Your child gets some sensory stimulation, sees cause and effect in action, and experiences a touch of science…. So many benefits aside from clean toys.

The Bathroom

No better space than the restroom to practice building! Those unopened rolls of toilet paper and the stash of tissue boxes make great building material. Allow your children to build towers to practice their building skills and then increase spatial awareness by having them fit all the rolls or boxes on a shelf. It may not be picture perfect, but your child’s smile will be!

The Bedroom

It’s time to tackle the socks! Take all those unmatched ones, and hand them over. They make great mitten puppets for small hands to play with. (This is a perfect opportunity to develop your child's imagination.) Once the puppet show ends, the socks also serve as a great sorting activity. Have your child divide them into groups by color to practice colors and sorting skills.

Mommy’s Room

There are so many great things your child can do to help in here! Start with your jewelry collection. Let your child hang all your necklaces, bracelets and rings on a jewelry hanger or hooks. This helps develop fine motor skills and teaches children how to balance weight on an object.

Are there things stuck under your bed? First check that the bed is high enough off the floor to be safe. Then invite your child to crawl into the “special tunnel” and rescue all the lost “treasures.” Squirming and crawling helps develop muscles and gross motor skills.

The Dining Room

Have your little helper don a pair of gloves and get ready to polish. A touch of silver polish and your child’s arm muscles can deliver shiny silver and strong arms. Added benefit: bragging rights! She’ll be delighted to let everyone know who made the things so shiny! (This activity is only recommended for children 3 years or older.)


The Kitchen

Scan your recipes to see which ones have steps a child can do. It’s never too early to develop kitchen skills. Since it’s Passover time, potatoes are a perfect way to begin. Any recipe that calls for mashing them is fair play for this training. Lay the potatoes on a large plate with a raised rim and hand your child a fork. I’m guessing you won’t have to give instructions…

Don’t forget to give your child sincere, specific compliments along the way. Not only will you be building her skills, you will be boosting her confidence. Want to provide an extra incentive? Print these badges and award your child as he or she finishes each task.

Now that you’ve got a helper, cleaning the house is child’s play, right?