The DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, presents the legendary figures of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman as the protectors of the innocence, hopes, and dreams of children. In one important scene, the Easter Bunny explains to Jack Frost, the newest guardian, the meaning of Easter. “Easter is new beginnings, new life,” he says. “Easter’s about hope.”
And really, it is.
Our goal during the Easter season is to remind our children of this. Easter isn’t only the season of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, and jelly beans; it is a season to rejoice in the Resurrection of Christ and new life and hope for all of us. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for bringing the season into the classroom.
1. Embrace the bunny.
Bring in an Easter basket filled with all the traditional goodies: the chocolate rabbit, colored eggs, marshmallow rabbits and chicks. Then, when you’ve got the children’s attention, break down the symbolism of the items in the basket—spring, new life, rebirth. Don’t forget to give the children some candy too.
2. Do an egg hunt.
Rather than the traditional egg hunt with plastic eggs full of candy, use a set of Resurrection eggs. These are plastic eggs that contain symbols of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3. Plant a seed.
While it would be great to see chicks hatch or visit baby bunnies, it isn’t always practical. Instead, have the children plant some seeds to show new life. If the parish has some space, you can do it on the property (with permission, of course). Otherwise, tiny cups that can be carried home work well too. Choose seeds of something that is easy to grow in your region. Bean seeds are among the easiest.
4. Bring in spring.
Even if spring hasn’t really sprung in your area, you can bring it into the classroom. Decorate with silk flowers, live plants, colorful fabrics, and baskets. Have the children create their own decorations too.
5. Read the Resurrection stories.
Read the Resurrection stories from the Gospels with your group. Act them out. Discuss them. While the children may hear the readings at Mass, bringing them out of the Mass setting can bring them to life with time to explore.
By your leading intentional Easter activities, children can come to embrace the meaning of Easter hope.
Heather Felton is a teacher and former Director of Faith Formation in Florida. She lives in northern Manatee County with her husband, two children, two dogs, and bunny. When she isn’t working, Heather can be found reading, playing video games with her family, or writing children’s stories.