“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,” says Mary Muscari, associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghampton University and author of Let Kids be Kids.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where magic is commonly crushed or denied.
Although the Easter Bunny is no Santa, he is more than just a figment of the imagination. He opens the door to Spring, encouraging us all to get outside and have some fun. He also inspires us to look deeper into things, searching for hidden treasures or to look at things in different ways. The Easter Bunny brings color to everyday life, so when children stop believing in him, typically around age 7 or 8, many adults wonder what, if anything they can do to keep the magic, or at least their imaginations, hopping. Here are 5 simple ways to keep the magic alive and even spread it beyond the children:
- Make mini-Easter baskets using construction paper. Fill them with tiny treats and deliver them to the residents of a local nursing home, homeless shelter or senior center. You could also send Easter goodies to troops overseas.
- Make a list of the baby animals you’ll see in your neighborhood. Search for additional information online or at your library and make your environment friendlier for them. Take a basket of dog and cat treats to a local animal shelter.
- Color eggs. Make it a family tradition to talk about how eggs symbolize rebirth. if you don’t like eating colored eggs, try to come up with tasty hard-boiled egg dishes or, better yet, paint plastic or wooden eggs that can be kept year after year. You could even make an Easter tree to display them on.
- Have a reverse Easter egg hunt. Let the kids hide the eggs and make the adults find them. The adult collecting the fewest number of eggs makes (or buys) breakfast/brunch.
- Dress up. No, this isn’t an excuse to go shopping. Dig through your closets and refresh some old outfits. Exchange items with siblings, relatives or even friends. Remake things. Hint: this is also a fun way to take care of some spring cleaning and get clothes that don’t fit or that you don’t wear out of your closet.
If the weather is pleasant, get outside and enjoy it. If there is still snow on the ground or April showers have arrived, do something different inside like holding a high tea complete with teacups and gloves (and hats it you have them).
Studies of children’s brain activity offer evidence that kids have very active imaginations. They experience theta wave activity – the brain stage characterized by heightened receptivity, flashes of dream-like imagery, inspiration and resurfacing of forgotten memories – even when they are awake while adults experience it primarily as they hover between wakefulness and sleep. Thus, children may be more adept that adults at forming varied and creative images and seeing the Easter Bunny clearly when all most grown-ups see is spring cleaning. Perhaps we should all take a lesson from them.