For Easter of last year, my husband's mom bought the kids these dinosaurs that hatched out of eggs. My daughter started asking me all manner of dinosaur-related questions. Two that come to mind are, what do dinosaurs eat and, do dinosaurs need a cage? It didn't occur to me until days later that she believed real dinosaurs were about to hatch and enter our lives, and wanted to be prepared to care for them.
Enter ... My Husband
This adorable misunderstanding gave my husband the idea of bringing the dinosaurs to life every night. For several months, they would engage in all sorts of antics while we were sleeping, often of the mischievous variety, and we would catch them in the act in the morning. It was his Jurassic take on Elf on the Shelf.
The Kids' Reaction
The kids were so into it. Every morning, they would yell, let's go see what the dinosaurs did, and then run downstairs to find them. We don't do Elf on the Shelf, so this was an entirely novel concept to them.
I make every effort to be honest with my children, so this was all my husband's doing. I refrain from telling them anything untruthful, but sometimes I won't tell them the whole truth. For example, with the concept of Santa, my message to them is that some people believe in Santa and some people don't. Otherwise, I don't interfere in my husband perpetrating the myth of Santa with them because it means a lot to him.
At the same time, I also want to foster trust with my kids and don't want to actively engage in even this kind of deception. I know how cute it is to let them be kids and believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny, and that the Mickey Mouse we met at Disney World is real. I don't feel comfortable with it though, partially because of the trust reason I mentioned earlier, but also because I want them to practice critical thinking and not be too credulous about the world as a way to protect themselves.
All in all, I appreciated how much the kids enjoyed and bought into the dinosaur adventures. And my husband had fun thinking of new trouble the dinosaurs could get into every day. He would even remember to pack the dinosaurs with us when we went on vacation, so that the antics could continue uninterrupted. My daughter was starting to catch on towards the end, but it was lots of fun for them while it lasted.