Harmless Pranks To Play on Your Kids This April Fools’ Day


Did you know that the origin of April Fools’ Day dates back several centuries, and across many cultures? According to History.com, some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” Other historians claim its origins are rooted in the Vernal Equinox (first day of Spring when Mother Nature fools us with her tricky weather), or Hilaria in Ancient Rome (a festival at the end of March that involved disguises and mocking). Regardless of its origin, in modern times people have gone to great lengths to pull off elaborate pranks.

This year, if you’d like to play wholesome tricks on your family, check out these ideas for inspiration:

  • Googly Eyes: For a PG-rated gag, get out that bag of googly eyes from the craft drawer, and open the fridge. Place a set of eyes on everything you see: the carton of milk, the veggies, all the condiments. They’ll crack up when they go in for breakfast, only to see all those little eyes staring back at them.
  • Toothpaste Fake-Out: For a harmless (even tasty) prank, hand them a toothbrush topped with… something that looks like toothpaste. Instead, they’ll find their mouth filled with icing, cream cheese or whatever passable substitute you have on hand.
  • Brown “E”s: “Hey kids, I made brownies!” Well, that’s how it will sound when you say it — and they’ll come running. But when they lift up the foil covering the tray in the kitchen, they’ll find a collection of letter E’s you carefully cut from brown construction paper.
  • Frozen Fun: After your kiddos go down for the night before April 1, pour a bowl with their favorite cereal — including milk and spoon. Then place the bowl in the freezer. When you serve it up in the morning, they’ll dig in for a hearty spoonful — only to find the whole thing frozen solid, utensil and all.
  • All Tied Up: Tie kids’ shoelaces together, so they’ll get nowhere fast when they try to head out the door on April 1. Or, just fill their shoes with tissue paper or socks, so their feet don’t fit inside.
  • Silly Shower: Unscrew the cap from their everyday shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel. Inside, affix a small piece of plastic wrap — then re-screw the cap. When they squeeze that bottle and nothing comes out — over and over again — they’ll eventually figure out it’s an April Fools’ gag.


What are some of your best pranks? Share them with us on The Branch.


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