Midrash & Magic: A Fun Family Passover Activity

Passover is quickly approaching and I have been cooking/eating every food filled with bready goodness I can find in preparation for the holiday. Although my family and I have not enjoyed pancakes in well over six months, I HAD to make them the other day because Pesach is almost here.

I’m not sure what it is about Passover that fills me with excitement. No seriously, excitement. I love that Pesach means spring is here. I love watching DeMille’s Ten Commandments in all its cheesy glory. I love eating matzah pizza every day. I love that in my level-headed, sensible world, I get to believe in miracles and feel like others aren’t looking at me as though I just spotted Moses in a piece of toast. Considering our modern world is filled with fact checking in an instant, Googling in a moment, and crowd sourcing with the touch of a button, it feels nice that during Passover I get to put all of that aside and believe in a little magic.

Our family has a favorite and easy kid craft we throw together every Pesach, and it involves a little magic, too. We make an Elijah’s cup with a trick: a draining false bottom.

Here are the items needed:

  • 2 paper cups for each Elijah’s cup you are making
  • Duct tape (any color or style you choose)
  • Decorations
  • Scissors
  • Needle or pin

The first and last parts of the project will need to be performed by an adult.

First, you will need to create your false bottom cup. Start by checking your two cups to see how well they nest together while leaving approximately 2 inches of space between the two tops of the cups. If needed, cut small tabs out of your base cup to ensure a tighter fit between the two cups. You will need to slightly smush (technical term) the mouth of the base cup around the middle of the top cup. When you have the base cup fairly well lined up, duct tape the two cups together. Make sure to tape around the entire mouth of the bottom cup.

Next, I prepare the decorating station by tearing several small squares of duct tape so that the kids are able to use them to cover the entire cup. Plain silver duct tape looks great; however, my boys decided to go with the fancy black and black sparkle duct tape. I use the edge of a glass bowl to lightly hold the torn tape squares while the kids are working; this makes it easier for me to prepare the area and easier for the kids to work independently.

Call the kids over and let them get started. Have the kids cover their cups with duct tape. After the cup is covered to their satisfaction, they can further decorate their Elijah’s cup with whatever they would like. We happened to have left over jewels from Purim and my son’s Ahasuerus crown, so we used hot glue and threw those onto the cup.

After their masterpiece is created, send them on their way so an adult can finish the most important detail of the cup. Using a pin, poke holes in the false bottom of the Elijah’s cup. I like to place mine in a discreet location, in the seam between the wall and base of the cup. Make several to ensure the wine will travel from the top cup into the base cup thus giving the illusion that some of the wine has been consumed.

Eat, recline, drink all four cups of wine and have a wonderful holiday, but most importantly, be sure to let Elijah and maybe even a little magic in your house this Pesach!