While Easter is religious in nature, and stems from the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, it incorporates many symbols of pagan traditions as well. Over time Easter traditions have developed into rich, elaborate customs in different cultures. The holiday provides an excellent opportunity to engage students in creative activities, as well as investigate different cultural art forms. In turn these art forms can provide some wonderful Easter art lesson ideas for teachers!
One of the most easily recognized symbols of Easter is, of course, the Easter egg. The egg has always been a symbol of life and fertility, and was used in Greek and Roman celebrations of springtime.
In Ukrainian culture, egg decoration has developed into an intricate art. This art form, known as Pysanka, involves using a wax resist on real eggs. Pysanka eggs are decorated with symbols of Christianity in intricate colorful designs. The eggs are decorated the last week before Easter, and then given away on Easter Sunday.
In Russia, the tradition of creating elaborate Easter eggs is best illustrated by taking a look at the bejeweled eggs of the Faberge workshop. The most famous of the Faberge eggs were commissioned by the Czar of Russia as Easter gifts for his wife. These Easter eggs have enameled exteriors which open to reveal a surprise within.
Today, children enjoy searching for, and collecting Easter eggs in baskets. Easter baskets, too, come from early Christian traditions. In early Christianity the Easter feast was often brought to the church in large baskets. Also, German tradition tells of a white hare delivering baskets full of candies to children on Easter morning. What follows are lessons that can help make Easter art activities an interesting, and exciting experience.
Easter Art Activities:
Students learn about the Easter traditions in Guatemala. Students use mixed-media to create an alfombra, the decorations placed in the street for Guatemalan Easter celebrations. This lesson could be adapted to accommodate younger or older students. An art teacher might even try having a class recreate an alfombra on the playground, or other outdoor space.
This very simple lesson is perfect for students in the lower grades. Students create sun-catchers by ironing crayon shavings between two pieces of wax paper. The lesson could be expanded to include providing students with a lesson on the history of Easter eggs prior to creating their own eggs.
This is a great lesson that allows students to create a three dimensional Easter egg. A balloon form is wrapped with string dipped in glue, and decorated when dry. This could be an ideal lesson to incorporate teaching about Faberge eggs.
Students create their own version of Ukrainian Pysanka. This lesson plan has students make their own scratchboard, but a teacher with younger student might find it easier to use pre-made scratchboard. Teachers might also add to the lesson by encouraging students to develop their own symbolism for their Pysanka.
After researching Easter traditions, students create their own Easter basket. Students decorate two egg cut-outs and attach them to a paper bag to create the basket. This lesson is very simple and would allow for some great adaptations by creative teachers.