Skip to main content

For all you parents at home helping your kids with school projects, online classes and lesson plans, we salute you. It’s no small feat covering math and social studies on top of the everyday life lessons you teach as a parent. Here’s a fun history lesson plan you can share that teaches determination, hard work and generosity can really pay off. 

Today’s History Lesson: The Man Behind Hershey Happiness, Milton Hershey

 Share his story, follow it up with our “at-home assignment” and a pop quiz. 

Who is Milton Hershey? 

Read the short Milton Hershey biography aloud or have your kids take turns reading the sections to make it more interactive. Break off a piece of a classic Hershey’s Bar to really set the scene. 

Milton Hershey as a Child 

Milton S. Hershey was born September 13, 1857 in Derry Township, Pennsylvania. By 14, he apprenticed for a confectioner, learning the trade of candy-making. This is where he found his passion and decided to make a business out of what he loved doing. It took a few tries, but he finally found success starting the Lancaster Caramel Company making caramels with fresh milk.

The Hershey Company photography

Creating the Hershey Chocolate Company

Milton Hershey soon became interested in chocolate and sold his caramel company to pursue a new passion: creating milk chocolate that every American could enjoy. At the time, milk chocolate was considered a luxury. But Milton wanted to make a product that was accessible to people of all backgrounds and statuses. Built at the center of a dairy farmland, the Hershey factory became the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company.

A Legacy of Philanthropy

Milton Hershey believed in always giving back to help those in need. He applied his business skills and created more opportunities for others including building a school for orphaned boys and gifting his entire fortune to the well-being of his workers and community. Milton Hershey even supplied the U.S. army with chocolate bars during World War II and used his factory to make parts for machines during the war. Today, the school and foundation he built still helps people in the Hershey community. 

Holiday ROLO Pretzel Delights

The Assignment: Share the Happiness 

“One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy.”  - Milton Hershey  

Inspired by Milton Hershey’s goodwill, here’s an activity that encourages his core values and principles that Hershey still follows today. 

1. Think of someone who could use a smile 

Just like Milton Hershey, who always gave back to his community, have your kids think about the people in yours. Who would they help or want to share something special with? It could be a family member or a group of people like nurses at your local hospital. Have them write down and make a list of everyone.

 2. Create something special 

Set up a station where everyone can make a special bag or box for the people on their list. Put out different bowls of candy and snacks or make a recipe together. Have your kids write cards or a little note for each person so they can share why they made it. Depending on who they are giving to and how many people, have them help deliver or mail the homemade care packages. 

3. Make this moment a memory 

This is one of those days you — and they — will want to remember. Take photos while they’re crafting and divvying up treats. And be sure to snap a few action shots if they are dropping off the gifts themselves. Then make a little scrapbook or poster of the sweet things they did. It could be the start of a new tradition or just a great reminder of how it feels to think of others. 

Pop Quiz: What did you learn today? 

We know, no kid likes a pop-up quiz. But, sweeten the deal and pop up a special treat like Drizzled Party Popcorn. Have some fun with it, too. They can draw pictures or decorate with stamps and stickers, so they’re excited to answer the questions and make something they’re proud of. You can even include their responses in their memory scrapbook so they can reread and reflect.

What things did Milton Hershey do to help others? 

Describe or draw a picture of how it felt to share these special gifts today. 

What are other simple things you can do every day to help someone else? 


Class Dismissed 

Learning values and the importance of humanity can often be missed in a standard textbook. But it’s essential to becoming successful and finding true happiness in life. That’s a lesson we can all share and remember, at any age.