I have fond memories of biking to my cousin’s house in the wee hours of Easter morning to hide a duck egg in his rabbit’s hutch. This annual event was my family’s sole association with the Easter Bunny.
Ironically, I care more about the Easter Bunny as an adult than I did as a kid because my new Easter tradition is answering questions about bunnies and eggs in Sunday School, AWANA, Children’s Church, and Good News Club. Almost without fail, kids argue about the Easter Bunny’s existence and somebunny will call on me to settle the score. (“Mr. Nathan, will you tell him he’s dumb for believing in the Easter Bunny!?”) I like to prepare ahead of time so that when kids start talking about the Easter Bunny, I’m prepared to use bunny facts to hop into a Gospel presentation. If you want a copy of this script and some pictures to go with it, you can our free Easter Bunny Object Lesson. It looks something like this…
The Story of the Easter Bunny
This object lesson is based on the general consensus that Easter Bunny fables originated in part due to the prolific nature of rabbits and their ancient status as symbols of fertility, birth, and life.
Lots of people talk about bunnies during this time of year. Let’s play a game about bunnies! I’m going to say some things about rabbits and you have to guess if they’re true or false. Make bunny ears with your finger if you think something is true or stomp your foot like a bunny if you think it’s false.
1. Baby rabbits are called kittens.
2. Rabbits like apples better than carrots.
3. Daddy rabbits are called bucks.
4. Rabbits make nests for their babies.
5. Rabbits can have lots and lots and lots of babies.
These things are all true, but the last one helped bunnies become famous at Easter. (This is a great place to show a picture of baby bunnies!) A mother rabbit can have hundreds of babies in just a couple years. Her babies grow up quickly and begin having babies of their own. In just a few years that mother rabbit could have millions of grandchildren! (grandbunnies?) That’s a lot of new bunny lives. Bunnies don’t lay eggs, but bunnies and eggs both make lots of babies so people started using rabbits and eggs as symbols of birth and new life a long time ago.
People sometimes use bunnies and eggs to celebrate Easter because Easter is about new life. Easter happens in the spring when many new lives are starting. Flowers are coming to life, birds are laying eggs, and baby animals are born. But the most important life that Easter celebrates is the life of Jesus!
Jesus is God’s perfect Son. He created everything and rules over it. [Read Hebrews 1:3a] He causes flowers to bloom and knows when and where every baby animal is born. He also made the way for us to have new life with God! Jesus left Heaven, God’s perfect home, and came to earth. He is the only perfect man who ever lived. The rest of us all do many bad things that separate us from God. We lie, cheat, and think bad thoughts that deserve to be punished, but Jesus took the punishment for you!
He did this by dying on a cross (You may want to show a picture of a cross at this point.) and being separated from God in a very painful way. But He didn’t stay dead—God’s power brought Jesus back to life! Today Jesus is with God in Heaven and He made the way for you and me to join Him there! [Read Hebrews 1:3b.] Easter is a celebration that Jesus is alive and He can give us new life with God. Since rabbits remind people of new life and Easter is about Jesus coming back to life, people sometimes use bunnies as part of their Easter celebrations.
Easter bunnies can be fun, but the real reason to celebrate Easter is that Jesus is alive and He can give you life with God that lasts forever. [Read John 3:16.] God loves you and wants to save you from the sin that keeps you far away from Him. He promises if you believe in Jesus you will have eternal life. Eternal life is new life with God that begins immediately and goes on forever. Believing in Jesus means trusting Him to save you from sin because you believe He really took your punishment. What you believe about Jesus is way more important than what you believe about the Easter Bunny. You can believe in Jesus today! If you have questions about that, you can meet me after the story. [Tell the kids when and where to meet.]
Speaking of your home, this is a bit of a bunny trail, but if you’re trying to decide if the Easter Bunny is a good fit for your family, I’d recommend you do a background check on him first by reading this graciously written article at answersingenesis.org. Obviously some parts of the Easter Bunny’s mysterious history as a pagan symbol of fertility and reproduction are unsuitable for kids, but I think a basic understanding of how this cuddly critter hopped into Christian culture is better for kids than simply being told “The Easter Bunny isn’t real.”