When I lived in Japan, I taught holiday lessons at least once each time they came around, but typically I taught them three, four, or eight times a year. Since it’s Easter today and I’m busy eating delicious food with my family at my grandma’s house, I’ve written this in advance but scheduled it to appear on Easter. I know it’s too late to use these activities this year, but perhaps next year? And you can always change some of these ideas around to fit other holidays.
Because the faculty and students at my schools knew little to nothing about Easter, I created a basic PowerPoint explaining it. The students got a great kick out of seeing the eggs my sister dyed a few years back, learning about Easter egg hunts, and seeing all the different kinds of candy we can get in our Easter baskets. I also had a picture with my cousins from back when I was about seven, and the students had a blast trying to figure out which one was me. (They opted for a teenage female cousin instead of little elementary school me.)
Want more fun? Try a flavor-guessing game, either based on the images you have on screen or, if you get prior permission, with actual candy you bring. (I came home with Starbursts one year, just from a trip back home, not from Easter. The teachers I gave them to had a ball!)
Easter Stories & Videos
You can find Easter stories online and in video format, and you can purchase physical copies if you prefer that option. For younger kids, videos or a group storytime would be better. For older students, this can become a listening or a reading activity. You can even have students create their own Easter stories (about rabbits, Easter eggs, etc.) Kids can draw images to go along with the stories. If you like, you can have the students present the stories. One story format you could try is the kamishibai, which my kids in Japan did for a (non-Easter) project once. Here is a short video explaining this art form.
Printed Activities & Crafts
Word searches, crosswords, word scrambles, and Easter-themed Hangman* are all options you can try if you want the kids seated. You can also print out paper masks–perhaps of bunnies–and have the kids color, cut out, and construct an Easter mask.
*Note: Hangman depicts death and may not be appropriate for your students’ ages or the host culture. Ask your teachers if it’s okay beforehand.
One year I had my elementary schoolers at my small school (so, about 11 kids) create paper baskets. (Fold the sides of the paper up. Staple together. Staple a strip for the handle.)
Easter Egg Hunt
Once we made Easter baskets, we filled them with shredded paper instead of Easter egg grass. I hid candies and plastic eggs with candies around the school gym and outside. (Be careful if it’s hot outside when you do this, or the candy may melt.) I limited the kids to how many eggs they could collect, and once they had them, they returned to the designated meeting area. Again, ask if candy is allowed at school. Order plastic eggs well in advance so they can be shipped.
If you get the OK from your school, hard-boil eggs at home and bring them to school. (Or, if you have time, you can boil them at school if they have a place for it.) Order egg dyeing kits in time to have them shipped to you.
Show the students how to dip the egg into one or more colors. If the kit comes with a wax crayon, show them how it can be used to write on the egg and prevent that part from being dyed with color. I’m not great at decorating Easter eggs, so teach them any other methods you may know about. Explain to them that, yes, you can eat the eggs, even if the color has seeped through the shell and onto the egg white.
If you cannot do this activity with students, it may be worth it to make a few eggs on your own to bring to school and show the students.