The Legend of the Easter Bunny March 01 2010

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The Easter Bunny hides eggs for us each Easter Sunday. But how is it that a bunny is delivering eggs to kids around the world on this day each year?

I'm fascinated by this question, and I'm sure kids in the classroom would be as well. Why not use it for a reading and writing lesson?

First, knowing the original legend would be helpful for this lesson plan. It turns out the Legend of the Easter Bunny is a convoluted mix of pagan and Christian traditions along with a fertility goddess and the coming of Spring...not incredibly appropriate for kids. However, I managed to dig through it and come up with an accurate interpretation with a scientific twist!

Vernal Equinox

There's a bit of science vocabulary that includes vernal equinox and the lunar cycle. These are simplified in this Legend of the Easter Bunny piece, but they can certainly be expanded, possibly combined with a study of the New Moon, the waxing and waning stages, and the Full Moon. A study of the Earth's revolutions, rotations and equator might also be fun to study along with it.

No matter how in-depth, students are going to need scaffolding regarding the vernal equinox and lunar cycle before digging into The Legend of the Easter Bunny.

Purpose of the Legend

Legends have been used over centuries to help clarify common experiences that cannot be easily explained, like why the sun rises and sets, or why the Easter Bunny delivers eggs. This might be a little over your kids' heads to start with, and I would consider starting with the most basic of this genre - Fairy Tales.

In general, your kids should be familiar with Fairy Tales. If not, grab a couple of picture books based on Fairy Tales or Legends and read them to your class. After reading each story, review the main points and ask about the purpose of the story. For example, what does Little Red Riding Hood teach us about the world? Some answers could include to look carefully at the source or to be wary of wolves people you don't know. Essentially, it's a story about using street smarts.

Connect this with The Legend of the Easter Bunny. What does this legend teach us? What does it explain? What might people have been trying to figure out when this legend was created?

Retell or Create

Depending on the age of your kids, they'll be able to retell The Legend of the Easter Bunny or create an original legend to explain why bunnies hide eggs for us on Easter Sunday for us to find. To make it a little more creative, here's a Book Template for your kids to write and illustrate their stories. Print a few pages per student, gather them together and staple them down the middle with a cover of choice for an instant original picture book!

This reading and writing lesson plan is a fun way to incorporate the Easter holiday into your curriculum, along with exploring the mystery of an egg-lugging bunny!