Although the history of April Fools’ Day pranks and jokes is not entirely clear (it has been attributed to a variety of European springtime traditions), the day is kept alive by practical-joke-lovers all over the world.
Adults may opt for outrageous and bewildering pranks on this day, but for kids, it’s best to keep it on the fun and tame side.
You can involve the little ones in April Fools’ Day fun by creating these sweet jokes and pranks. Food jokes and visual humour always resonate with kids, so here are some cute ideas to try.
Teeny Tiny Meal
WHAT YOU NEED: play dishes and tea set
Set the table with the kids’ play tea set using tiny dishes and cups, and serve out breakfast (or dinner) in teaspoon-size portions. Your kids can either be in on this joke to surprise the rest of the family or not.
Before they see the table, tell them with a straight face, “I’ve been doing some thinking, and it’s time we reduce our portion sizes at mealtime.” Undoubtedly the kids will like this prank so much that they will want to keep eating off the tiny plates anyway.
Colourful Surprise Milk
WHAT YOU NEED: food colouring
Add a drop of food colouring to a container of milk. Then watch the kids pour it into their cereal with amazed expressions.
Or get the kids to help with the food colouring drops the night before, and they can giggle with delight as the other unsuspecting grownups in the house pour the coloured milk into their coffee, tea, or cereal the next morning.
(Note that you can find natural and organic food colouring online and in health-food stores, which will come in handy for Easter-egg dyeing if you celebrate.)
“Hey, my shoes don’t fit!”
WHAT YOU NEED: newspaper, paper, or paper towel
Stuff shoes with a balled-up sheet of newspaper or crumpled paper from the recycling bin. Then watch the shoe’s owner be puzzled as to why her foot doesn’t fit in when she’s heading out the door in the morning.
You can make this prank more elaborate if you introduce a new vegetable at dinner the night before and tell the kids it’s a special vegetable that will make them grow like crazy by the morning if they take a few bites.
WHAT YOU NEED: eyeliner
Target the biggest morning sleepyhead in your home, rise before them (which you probably do anyway), and whip out your black liquid or pencil eyeliner. Then quickly draw a moustache on them and sneak out of the room. Bonus giggles if you snap a pic of them before they wake!
WHAT YOU NEED: strong clear tape (like packing tape)
Use a piece of clear packing tape to cover the faucet nozzle of the bathroom sink. Then when your kiddo or spouse goes to brush his teeth or wash his face, he’ll get a big splashy surprise. Just make sure your victim is still in pyjamas!
WHAT YOU NEED: depends on the recipe
This might be the sweetest prank of them all, or at least the yummiest. Kids will love these fool-you foods, especially when you serve cupcakes for dinner—savoury meatloaf and mashed-potato “cupcakes”, that is. The meatloaf is baked in paper muffin cups and topped with fluffy white mashed potatoes.
For dessert, it’s pizza! Or at least a cake that looks like a pizza, with white-chocolate “cheese” and fruit leather pepperoni.
WHAT YOU NEED: craft-store or dollar-store googly eyes
Stick-on googly eyes from the craft store are so much fun. Put pairs of them in unexpected places: Decorate the contents of the fridge with pairs of googly eyes to surprise the person who opens the fridge door to find ten pairs of eyes staring back at them. Stick some on your kid’s banana and tuck it away in her lunchbox.
Or for an evening prank, affix googly eyes to all the bottles and tubes in the bathroom before bathtime.
Brown E’s (“Brownies”)
WHAT YOU NEED: brown construction paper, scissors, and (recommended!) actual brownies
Here’s a joke for the word-play lovers in your home. Cut a bunch of lowercase and uppercase e’s from a piece of brown construction paper. Arrange them on a platter. Promise the family that you’ve got brownies for dessert.
Present the plate with a flourish and say “Brown e’s for dessert, everyone!” Either you’ll get crestfallen faces or laughs—or both. It might be wise to have actual brownies on hand, too!