It’s coming up to Easter, so why not celebrate with a holiday-themed lesson plan? More than just chocolate and bunnies, the celebration of Easter actually has a pretty interesting backstory. Here’s how to bring some Easter fun to your classroom, complete with a treasure hunt and some interactive worksheets. Chocolate optional!
What is Easter?
Our worksheet bundle takes kids through the whole history of Easter, where it originated, and why it means they get to eat chocolate before breakfast!
Easter is certainly a Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. History says he was crucified on a Friday and rose three days later on Sunday — which is why we have Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
In 325 AD, it was designated as an official holiday by the Church to fall on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. This is why Easter’s date changes every year.
Where did the Easter Bunny come from?
Your kids probably only know the Easter Bunny as a chocolate-delivering guest they look forward to all year, but did you know that its origins can be traced all the way back to Pagans?
For centuries, at the time of the spring equinox, pagans would celebrate Eastre, the goddess of dawn and fertility — often depicted as an egg or a rabbit. Eggs have also always been a symbol of spring and rebirth.
It’s believed that as Christianity spread across Europe, the Pagan tradition of celebrating Eastre merged with the traditional Christian celebration of Easter. That’s why today we have the day of rest and mourning on Good Friday to give thanks to Jesus, and Easter Sunday where we celebrate his resurrection and are visited by the bunny!
In the 1700s, the tradition of a bunny laying eggs for children on Easter began in Germany. A woman would leave decorated eggs out for her children to find. One year, they saw a bunny rabbit hopping away from the eggs and decided it must have been him who was leaving them the gifts! From there, the tradition of the Easter bunny spread across Europe, and was later taken to the US by German immigrants.
Over time, it evolved into a tradition of leaving candy and chocolate for children instead of chicken eggs. Often, the goodies were placed inside papier-mâché eggs.
Why are eggs symbolic of Easter?
Eggs are a symbol of rebirth and, for many Christians, are tied to Jesus emerging from his tomb on Easter Sunday.
Furthermore, many religious people who observed Lent would often give up eggs for 40 days, only eating them again on Easter morning. It’s believed the eggs were decorated or adorned before they were eaten at a celebration marking the end of Lent.
We have the Europeans to thank for candy and chocolate at Easter, as the US learned this tradition from them. Chocolate eggs were first manufactured in the 1800s, and were considered quite a luxury. Over the last century, they’ve become a household Easter staple, with most families holding chocolate egg hunts to celebrate Easter.
The reason we decorate eggs actually has a basis in history, too! It dates back to when Christians used to dye eggs red around Easter time, to symbolize the blood shed by Christ from his crucifixion.
In the United States, and many countries across Europe, it’s tradition to do an Egg Roll on Easter morning. It’s even done at the White House! Children (and sometimes adults) roll hard-boiled eggs down a hill, and the first to reach the bottom wins.
Some say that this game has been played over the centuries as a symbol of the rock being rolled away from Jesus’ tomb after his resurrection.
Pretty interesting stuff, right?
How to help your class solve the mystery of the Easter Bunny
Why not bring the Easter egg hunt tradition into your classroom — but give it a bit of a twist. Ask your kids to hunt around the school, home, or outdoor space for date cards which, when brought together, tell the full history of the Easter bunny. Our worksheet bundle lays it all out so you’ll be able to include all the important key milestones.
Once your students have found them all, they can work together as a group to figure out in which order they go, based on what they’ve learned in class today.
Follow it up with some activities in the downloadable lesson plan, like a themed anagram and a find-a-word.
How other cultures celebrate Easter
It’s always fun to hear about how people around the world have different customs and traditions — and far-flung Easter celebrations are no exception! For example, in Switzerland, a cuckoo bird is the one who brings chocolate eggs to children — you can even buy chocolate cuckoos! They also have a tradition where children decorate eggs and their parents must try to break them with 20-cent coins.
How to celebrate Easter in the classroom (whether in school, or out)
Once you’ve worked through the Easter worksheet bundle, there are some other fun, hands-on activities you can do with your students.
Whether you use real chicken eggs or opt for a wooden alternative, this is a great creative activity to do at the end of the day. You could ask your students to design their egg based on something they learned in the lesson, like a cuckoo or a symbol of spring.
Making Easter baskets
Hand-making baskets from paper or thin cardboard is simple, and a good activity to do in the week leading up to Easter. Students can even use these baskets for the Easter bunny mystery hunt!
Turn eggs into planters
In the spirit of spring and regrowth, why not make some mini planters with your students? Empty eggshells make excellent tiny pots, you just need a scoop of soil in the bottom and a pinprick hole for drainage. Alternatively, fill the shell with damp cotton wool. Plant something small like microgreens, mustard, watercress, or wheatgrass, and they should start sprouting in a week!
This Easter, take your kids on a fun journey through history — they’ll love getting the context behind the chocolate eggs and the bunny they know and adore. Our 34-page Easter worksheet bundle is an excellent jumping-off point, full of history, fun facts, and plenty of activities.
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