Children know the date of Halloween. There’s no doubt for kids as to which date Christmas falls on each year. Then there are holidays like Thanksgiving. That is a bit trickier being the fourth Thursday of every November. Even adults get stumped when having to decide between the fourth Thursday or the last Thursday of November. And Memorial Day is always the first Monday in September. But, why does the date of Easter change each year and who decides the date?
This is an interesting question to pose for children. Quite honestly, it has been very difficult to even find adults who know the answer to this question. Many will admit they’ve never even wondered about why the date changes. Making a list of reasons for Easter’s date is an excellent activity for introducing the topic and understanding what misconceptions children have about the concept. Keeping this list so it can be referenced at the end of the lesson is important.
A children’s book explains this mystery. (“The Easter Chick” by Geraldine Elschner) A little chick is determined to be born on Easter. This rallies the farm animals to figure out when Easter will take place. Of course, it is the wise old Owl who know that Easter always is the first Sunday, following the first full moon, which follows the first day of spring.
This leads to having children explore the full moon cycles for all the upcoming years. Given web sites and specific years to investigate, children can create a chart of when Easter will take place for the next ten years.
After finding these dates, gather the children to reflect upon the initial list of reasons for determining Easter’s date.
Sending children home to teach a concept to their parents always excites children. Giving them the answer to give when asked “What did you learn in school today?” will make every child proud. And, in this case, they will truly share something that most adults do not already know!