Newswise — Mary Muscari, associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University, and author of Let Kids Be Kids: Rescuing Childhood, offers suggestions for keeping the Easter Bunny spirit alive and hopping.
"We live in a skeptical world, where without the Easter Bunny, fairies, dragons and other magical wonders, there would be no childlike faith, no poetry and no romance. Studies of children’s brain activity actually offer evidence that children have very active imaginations. They experience theta wave activity - the brain stage that brings forward heightened receptivity, flashes of dream-like imagery, inspiration, and long forgotten memories - even when awake. Adults primarily experience this stage when their minds hover between sleep and wakefulness. Thus, children may be more adept than adults in forming varied and creative images – and why they see the Easter Bunny with such clarity when all we see is mounds of spring-cleaning. Unfortunately, the time does come when young minds grow to the point where magic seems to get crushed into oblivion and children stop believing – typically around age 7 or 8. No more wishing for chocolate bunnies and squishy peeps. Depressed? Don’t be. While not completely in the same iconic league as Santa, the Easter Bunny is more than a figment of the imagination. He’s the guy that opens to door to spring and a wondrous time of rebirth as well as a time to have some fun. Keep the spirit alive by lining up these fun activities.
• Have a reverse Easter egg hunt. Have the kids hide the eggs and make mom and dad find them. The losing parent cooks Easter breakfast (or picks up the tab at a local restaurant).
• Color eggs. Make it a family tradition to talk about how eggs symbolize rebirth. It’s a great way to get everyone together and foster creativity. If you hate eating them, use that same time to come up with some tasty hardboiled egg dishes. Or better yet, paint plastic eggs and keep them year after year, hanging them on an Easter tree. If you don’t have an Easter tree, make one with twigs and branches.
• Make a list of all the baby animals you’ll soon see in your neighborhood. Then do a web search to learn more and how you can make the environment friendlier for them.
• Make mini Easter Baskets using colorful construction paper, fill them with tiny treats and deliver them to the residents of a local nursing home.
• Send some Easter goodies to troops overseas.
• Bring a basket of dog and cat treats to the local shelter.
• Dress up. You don’t need to buy new clothes. Dig through your closets and refresh some old outfits or head to the nearest consignment shop and buy some gently used finery.
• Hold a high tea. Put on the gloves and snack on scones and finger sandwiches. If you no longer have teacups, place mugs on saucers to give the illusion of high society.
• Go out and enjoy the weather, even if there is still snow on the ground. Spring is definitely in the air!"
About Mary Muscari: Mary Muscari is an expert in child health and mental health with more than 30 years of experience working with children and teens. She has written or coauthored more than 100 publications, including Let Kids be Kids: Rescuing Childhood.