Sensory Friendly Easter Bunny event held at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts

Children with special needs had the opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny in an environment tailored to them at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on March 11.

Traditional Easter Bunny photo ops at malls and other public places can be challenging for children with autism, sensory processing disorders and other special needs that make it hard for them to handle crowds, bright lights and dissonant noises, but the Nigra Arts Center’s Sensory Easter Bunny eliminated those sensory triggers. Instead, children met the Easter Bunny in a subdued, open space while relaxing music played quietly.

The children traveled between several activity stations while they waited for their photo op. Outside was an Easter egg hunt and in the kitchen children decorated bunny-shaped sugar cookies. In the art studios they worked on Easter-themed and sensory friendly painting, coloring, egg decorating and yarn crafts.

The event was a success, with 25 children in attendance.

“Both boys absolutely loved it,” said Heather Tomlinson. “For Caleb to stay through the event and complete everything there says so much. And Jacob says he had a lot of fun.”

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts also hosted sensory-friendly meetings with Santa Claus in December. On March 12 it welcomed families of all kinds from the community for its Easter Family Fun Day, which featured egg hunts, crafts, games, concessions and pictures with the Easter Bunny. More than 100 people attended the event.