Updated: Apr 10
In part seven of my series on adding a touch of magic to your children's lives, I share a parenting hack that rekindles their love of the Easter Bunny.
It was a crisp sunny morning in April 1978. I was in elementary school, and as usual, when the bell rang to signal morning playtime had ended, I returned to class. I did this unthinkingly, taught to react to the sound of a bell, like Pavlov's dog. Unlike the dog, which was conditioned to salivate, I was merely taught to return to class. This morning was different, though: now I also had a reason to salivate. Because this particular morning, I was met with brown bunny paw prints along the floor leading to the back of the classroom...and a delicious stash of Easter eggs. I don't remember eating the chocolatey goodness, although I am sure I enjoyed each bite. What's seared into my memory is the first sight of those bunny prints – it was an exhilarating jolt to my six-year-old senses. Those prints were proof enough for me that the Easter Bunny was real, and that the little scamp cared enough to leave me a special surprise. I think my classmates felt the same way too, as there was a great deal of excited chatter and squealing as we followed the bunny tracks to our bounty.
Making the Easter Bunny real
I don't remember where the teachers were as we followed the bunny prints. I hope they were watching us with some amusement and sweet recognition of our childhood wonder. I'm looking forward to doing the same for my child on Easter and seeing an excited reaction.
In hindsight, the ruse was really simple. It seems the teachers used brown paint to create the paw prints on the linoleum floor. Any parent these days could repeat that feat with some brown acrylic paint on tiles or grass, but who wants the hassle of washing off the paint afterwards?
When looking into this for my child, I found paw print stencils available on Etsy, eBay, and craft stores. You can also create paw print stencils yourself with a pair of scissors and cardboard or paper. Bunny prints are easy to draw – three small round toe pads and an oval shaped pad underneath. Lay the stencils on the floor or in the garden, then gently sprinkle the stencils with soil (outside) or flour (inside), and remove the stencils. And voila – you have proof that the Easter Bunny paid a visit.
The key, I think, is to make the Easter Bunny's recent visit a surprise. With Santa Claus, there's usually a lot of expectation around his Christmas visit, but with the Easter Bunny there's not so much hype. This means you can plan to surprise your child with the bunny paw prints and hidden eggs, at least the first time around. I hadn't expected to find evidence of that illusive rabbit's visit that day back in 1978 – that was why the experience was so wonderful. I wish the same wonderment for my child and yours.