When is Easter this year? Teach children how to calculate the date
Children know the date of Halloween. There is no question for children as to what date Christmas falls on each year. Then there are holidays like Thanksgiving. That’s a bit more complicated being the fourth Thursday of every November. Even adults are stumped when deciding between the fourth Thursday and the last Thursday in November. And Memorial Day is always the first Monday in September. But why does the date of Easter change every year and who decides the date?
This is an interesting question to ask children. Honestly, it has been very difficult to even find adults who know the answer to this question. Many will admit that they have never wondered why the date changes. Making a list of reasons for the Easter date is an excellent activity to introduce the topic and understand what misconceptions children have about the concept. It is important to keep this list so that it can be referred to at the end of the lesson.
A children’s book explains this mystery. (“The Easter Chick” by Geraldine Elschner) A chick is determined to be born on Easter. This brings the farm animals together to find out when Easter will take place. Of course, it’s the wise old Owl who knows that Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the first day of spring.
This leads the children to explore the full moon cycles for all the years to come. Given the specific websites and years to research, the children can create a chart of when Easter will take place in the next ten years.
After finding these dates, bring the children together to reflect on the initial list of reasons for determining the date of Easter.
Sending children home to teach their parents a concept always excites children. Giving them the answer they should give when asked “What did you learn in school today?” will make every child proud. And, in this case, they’ll actually be sharing something that most adults don’t already know!