Celebrating More Familiar Spring Holidays with Students
During this time of year, children will quickly notice items in stores and other locations about more familiar holidays. During the spring, many families will celebrate Easter or Passover. Of course, even if you do not celebrate, stores are filled with Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, matzah, and other items to explore. Traditions, stories, crafts, and food all tie into these big celebrations that will work well with speech and language sessions.
Start Sharing with a Story
Libraries and books stores are now filled with countless stories for children of all ages about Easter and Passover. To help children to get into the spirit, learn, and talk about these items, it is always a great plan to begin with a book. Here are a few possible titles that may work well and lead to other activities within your sessions:
- Duck & Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny by Tad Hills – From the popular series, Duck and Goose set on a mission to find the Easter Bunny in action.
- 10 Easter Egg Hunters: A Holiday Counting Book by Janet Shulman – Rhyming book that features kids going to an Easter parade who must first locate hidden eggs.
- The Passover Seder by Emily Sper – An interactive book that explains parts of the Passover Seder. Lots of opportunities for children to actively participate.
- The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman – Retelling of the familiar Little Red Hen story centered around her preparations for a Passover Seder.
- Hoppy Passover by Linda Glaser – Two young bunnies share as they get ready for Passover. They taste bitter herbs, search for the Afikomen and more.
Easter Egg Hunt and Afikomen Search
Children adore playing hide-and-go seek, so why not try it with some Easter Eggs? If you have a small room where you can hide them before a meeting, you can do this and leave them clues about where the eggs may be. The children can ask questions, explain where they are going to search, and practice their language skills. This activity could also be done like a search for the Afikomen during a Passover Seder. If you do this option, think about bringing in some matzah for the children to taste test and talk about that experience as well.
If your space is smaller, you can also have a word hunt with Easter eggs on a table. In more of a memory game style, spread the eggs out. Fill the eggs with different words, items, pictures that use a sound you are working on. Either say that word, one that rhymes with it (dual practice), or something else to have them look. Now, to encourage them to remember where they have looked before, tell them you are going to tally how many tries it takes to find the item. If it is two attempts, they have to use the word in a sentence two times.
As always, it is nice to check in with families to see what they celebrate this time of year. Ask what their celebrations are and if they have anything that could be helpful during sessions. Remember to be sensitive to different traditions, and try to incorporate them to celebrate diversity with your students.