There are a number of ESL Easter activities and topics you can do with your class. In this article I describe ideas for both children and adults. To begin with some traditional Easter activities for young learners, followed by other ideas. An Easter trivia quiz may be interesting. Actually, you can use this kind of activity on any holiday.
Easter Picture Dictation - Choose a colorful Easter picture - such as the one of the Easter bunny and eggs on this page. Or draw your own. Each student will need paper and a pencil. Crayons too, if you intend them to color the picture after.
There are two basic methods. First you could describe the picture, and each student listens and draws it. The second way is to give each pair of students a picture (a black and white photocopied sketch would work). Then one student describes, while the other draws, and asks questions.
As I mentioned above, you could go on to give the students directions on coloring the picture, or let them do it themselves.
This type of activity can be done with adults too, but you will need to choose a different kind of picture.
Egg decorating - You will need hard boiled or blown eggs. Blown eggs are more likely to break when the children handle them, but they are better if you want to store the eggs.
To blow eggs you must make a small hole at each end. Break the yolk with a needle, then blow out the contents through one of the holes.
Warning! - if you use acrylic paints, do not let the children eat the eggs.
You can find examples of painted eggs online, if you want. Decorate a few of your own eggs before the class. Talk about Easter first, and give your students some ideas of what they can paint. Painting patterns can also be good. So can chickens, Easter bunnies etc.
Easter bingo - Bingo is always popular. Write the vocabulary on the board and the children copy onto their pre-prepared grids. Possible vocabulary:
chocolate egg, bunny, rabbit, Easter Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, hot cross buns, fish, spring, basket
An Easter bunny by Alceu
Easter Egg Hunt - Easter eggs can be hidden around the classroom, school, or if you are lucky enough to have access to an outdoor area, outside. This activity can be done the week, or a few days after, the previous activity of painting the Easter eggs. Prizes can be given for finding the most eggs, if wanted. Students can say where they found the eggs, and read any messages left with them - if you want to give more practice speaking.
For more serious practice, this activity could be used to practice prepositions. Hide named chocolate eggs, or slips of paper with names on (to be exchanged for eggs later) around the classroom.
The students must ask questions: "Is it behind the poster?" "Is it under the desk?" Is it near the window? Help the student by saying warmer or cooler as they get closer or further away. The difficulty will be getting younger children to stay in their seats while doing this activity. They will be strongly tempted to get up and start looking for the chocolate eggs without asking questions.
Making Easter Cards - another one of the ESL Easter activities that can be fun for children is to create their own cards, with suitable messages inside. Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, and traditional Easter foods are some of the pictures that can be drawn.
Easter Picture Differences - Find or draw an Easter picture. It should be a black and white sketch. Photocopy the picture, then make some slight changes to one of them. Perhaps erasing a picture on one of the eggs, adding or deleting a bunny, changing the number of teeth, whiskers or something else in the picture.
The students must sit in pairs and try to find the differences. It's a very good idea to go through any helpful language first. For example: "There's a bird in the top left corner," or "There are two flowers under the rabbit."
It's also a good idea to let the students know how many differences there are in the picture. With the right picture, this activity can be used with all ages.
These ESL Easter activities are best done with young children - with the exception of Picture Differences and Picture Dictation, which can be done with any age provided suitable pictures are used. Remember that a lot of the English practice will come with the English instructions on what to do.
One of the ESL Easter activities you can do with teenagers or adults is an Easter trivia quiz. You can, of course, search for some of your own information. Here is an example of a trivia quiz I used with a class at university. I posted this one on my a facebook group I set up especially for helping my students' reading and writing:
The correct answer is number six. Chocolate Easter eggs didn't become popular until the nineteenth century. All of the other activities/customs are true - at least in some parts of Europe. The spanking takes place in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
An easy question (perhaps): Which island was first seen from a European boat on Easter Day in 1722?
Storytelling is another option. The story of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection may be suitable in some countries and cultures. Easter also has a secular side, and the story of Easter egg and Easter bunnies could be another. Rebirth and the beginning of spring could be another theme. For more information on Easter eggs and bunnies, visit Dr Mike Lockett's website Easter Eggs and Bunnies His website is also an excellent resource for storytelling.
You can make up other ESL Easter activities by adapting other traditional ESL games, as I adapted picture dictation and picture differences above.
Easter commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. However, it's not celebrated by all Christians. Some Protestant churches do not celebrate it. Like many Christian festivals, it was placed on top of an earlier pagan festival. As with Christmas, many of the symbols originate from pagan times. For example, the name Easter, comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring - Eastre - who also celebrated rebirth. Eggs are old symbols for rebirth, and were exchanged as gifts at the spring equinox by the ancient Egyptians and Persians. The tradition was adopted by Christians.
When is Easter?
Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal/spring equinox. So it's between 22nd March and 25th April every year. This year - 2012 - Easter Day, or Easter Sunday, is on April 8th. In 2013 it will be on March 31st, then in 2014 on April 20th.
Before Easter is Lent. This is the six weeks of penitence before Easter, ending on Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. The week before Easter is especially important for Christians. From Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, through to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday. Easter Sunday is also known as Easter Day. This is when thousands of children receive chocolate Easter eggs. This tradition is now a firmly practiced secular tradition.
What are traditional foods for Easter?
Fish is a traditional meal of Good Friday. Spiced hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but they are now eaten on many other parts of the year too. They are usually toasted and buttered. Simnel cake - a light fruit cake covered in marzipan is eaten in the UK and Ireland.
ESL Easter activities can include telling jokes some jokes:
What does an Easter egg taste like?
What happens if you pour hot water on a rabbit?
You get a hot cross bunny.
Here are some ideas for Easter films: Quo Vadis, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben Hur