Mother's Day Lesson Plans

Mother's Day lessons provide students a way to learn about art, music, and history.

By Cathy Neushul


Mother's Lesson Plans

Mother's Day is one of those special holidays students love to get geared up for. They enjoy making cards, paintings, and other works of art to honor their relatives. However, the holiday can be educational as well.The history of Mother’s Day plays like a movie script. There is love, violence, and a lot of celebrating. When following a Mother’s Day lesson plan, it may be helpful to add history into the mix.

While the concept of Mother's Day as a holiday to celebrate individual women may be a relatively new one, the idea of honoring mother figures is not. One of the first Mother’s Day type celebrations was held in honor of the Egyptian goddess Isis. She was considered the Mother of the Pharaohs. The story of her life is colorful,but may not be appropriate for students. The Romans also a similar celebration in honor of a mother deity, Cybele. It was a three day affair that included female dancers, musicians, and singers.

Other cultures held celebrations in honor of Magna Mater, the great mother, Rhea, the mother of the gods, and Gaia, the earth goddess. The Catholic Church held a celebration to honor Mother Church on the fourth Sunday in Lent. In the 1600’s England transformed this holiday into a special celebration called Mothering Day. Servants and other workers got a day off, and were encouraged to go visit their mothers. Catholics even got a reprieve from the Lenten fasting. They could eat, drink, and be merry, while visiting their families. It was traditional to give cake and flowers on this special day. 

In the United States, an official Mother’s Day was the brainchild of two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna M. Jarvis. Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, made a Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. She was horrified by the killing in the Civil War and wanted mother’s to join together to call for peace. She planted the seed for the national holiday.

Anna Reeves Jarvis, of West Virginia, held a similar themed day called Mother’s Friendship Day that sought to reunite families separated by the Civil War. When her mother died, Anna M. Jarvis, spearheaded a campaign to create an official mother’s day. A part of the celebration was wearing carnations, white for mothers who had died, and red and pink for those who were still living.

Mother’s Day Lesson Plans:

Make a "Memories of Mom" Memento: In this lesson students write a  book about their mom. They follow a list of prompts to complete this activity.  It provides a great way to get students thinking about why their mom is special.

Mother's Day Lesson Plan: In this lessons students learn about women's history and the traits that make their mom's special. Students do research on women in history. The teacher or the students can pick a particular time period. Students then make a card in which they use character traits to describe a woman in history, as well as their mom.

A Painter For Mother's Day: Mary Cassatt:  Students work learn the work of Mary Cassatt. They focus on the mother and child aspect to Cassatt's work.There are a list of pastels that can be used. The students could also be asked to reproduce a Cassatt-like work for Mother's Day.

As Good as Gold: In this lesson students make coupons to distribute to their moms. Moms can receive a coupon for breakfast in bed, a car wash, or many other nifty treats.

Mother's Day Celebration: Students intereview their mom, bring in photos, and create a hyper-studio stack.  They also write a poem, and a paragraph about why she is so special. If you do not have access to computers with hyper-studio stack, students could create a presentation with whatever software available.

A Gift For Mama: In this lesson students are read a story called "A Gift for Mama" by Esther Hautzig. The story is about a girl who usually makes her mother presents, but has decided to buy something instead. She has to save up her money to buy her mom satin slippers. Students discuss savings and finance.