Group of cheerful little kids laughing emotionally and using smartphone indoors

Laughter truly is the best medicine. When people laugh, the brain produces endorphins, which makes them feel good. Laughing can also boost immune system, improve mood, reduce stress and generate feelings of happiness. In the spirit of April Fools’ Day (April 1), but relevant year-round for any fun-loving family, these good-hearted pranks and ideas are sure to tickle a funny bone or two. Get ready to have some fun and laugh out loud!

 

FUN WITH FOOD

Food shenanigans are some of the easiest pranks to pull off because everyone loves to eat! Heidi Hartmann has been pulling April Fools’ Day pranks on her two kids for more than 10 years. She dubbed one of their favorites, “The infamous Cadbury Creme Egg switch.” The night before April Fools’ Day, she cut the chocolate eggs open, replaced the sweet cream filling with mayonnaise, and put them back together. She surprised her kids with the chocolates at breakfast. “When they bit into the eggs, the looks of confusion mixed with mild disgust was priceless!” Hartmann says.

 

More food pranks to try:

  • Prepare and freeze a bowl of cereal (with spoon) overnight. In the morning, pour a tiny bit of fresh milk over the frozen cereal. Watch as the kids try to dig in!
  • Cut peaches in half and make yogurt peach “eggs” for breakfast.
  • Replace Cheetos with raw baby carrots in the original bag and reseal it. Try to do this from the bottom of the bag to make it more inconspicuous. 
  • Insert lollipop sticks into raw brussels sprouts (cooking them will give the smell away) and wrap with Tootsie Pop or Blow Pop wrappers.

 

THE OLD SWITCHEROO

  • While kids are at school, switch bedroom items from one kid’s bedroom to another. 
  • Swap all the socks of everyone in the family to someone else’s dresser drawers.
  • Change the TV settings to only play preschool channels if you have older kids. Don’t forget how to switch it back!

 

CLASSIC CAVORTING

  • Put whoopee cushions in kids’ seats at the dinner table. When they make noises, use a fake stern face and reprimand them for bad table manners.
  • Use double-sided tape to stick a fake insect or spider to the inside of a lamp shade. When the light is turned on, the creepy crawly shadow will appear.
  • Turn everything upside down—clocks, pictures, chairs food items.
  • Short-sheet beds. If you’ve never done it before, there are several websites that demonstrate how. Then, replace comforters as usual. When kids try to climb into bed, their feet will hit the fold of the sheet and they can’t slide in. 

 

ESPECIALLY FOR TWEENS AND TEENS

  • Hang a life-sized poster of a celebrity your teen loves (or despises) on their bedroom wall.
  • Put a broken screen app on your teen’s phone, so it looks like the screen is cracked.
  • Fill your kid’s bedroom or bathroom with blown-up balloons.

 

COMEDY CENTRAL

Watch funny, feel-good movies together. Some family favorites include Toy Story, Freaky Friday, The Princess Bride, Despicable Me, Monsters Inc., Cars, Cool Runnings, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Parent Trap and The Incredibles.

 

APRIL FOOLS’ RULES

  1. If anyone in the family hates having pranks played on them, respect their boundaries and let everyone know that person is off limits from pranking. Try enlisting that person’s help in planning good-hearted pranks for others to encourage participation. 
  2. Stay away from pranks that cause embarrassment or hurt feelings.
  3. Be ready to pull the plug on pranks if things get out of hand and pivot to an alternative activity.
  4. Understand the phenomena of teens and “retaliation exaggeration.” If you choose to short-sheet a 16-year-old’s bed, be prepared to find your mattress tied to the top of your car. 

 

IMPORTANT TIP FOR NEWBIES

When pulling an epic prank, make sure you let key people in on the joke to avoid any issues. One year, Kerrie McLoughlin’s family had some fun with a teen visitor on April Fools’ Day. “We hid her car in our barn,” McLoughlin says. “The first thing she did was call her mom to see if she confiscated the car. Her mom called the police.” Yikes! 

 

END ON A SWEET NOTE 

At the end of the day, reward kids for being good sports by giving them a sweet treat or other small token. Or indulge in a fun April Fools’ Day recipe, like “french fries” made from sliced up pound cake that are deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. In whatever way your family celebrates April Fools’ Day, laugh out loud and get those endorphins flowing!

Janeen Lewis is a freelance writer.

 

More Good-Hearted April Fools’ Day Pranks for Families

Find some good-hearted pranks for April Fools Day.

Many people enjoy playing tricks on each other on April 1. Keep the spirit of this offbeat holiday alive with fun-loving, good-hearted pranks that keep everyone in the family laughing.

Wacky Wardrobe

Swap Dad’s socks with your daughter’s. Replace your youngest son’s boxers with his brother’s. You get the idea.

A "Juicy" Prank

April Fool’s Day pranks have always been a tradition in my family. It started with my mom, who put salt in my dad’s tea on April Fool’s Day for 35 years! I keep the tradition alive, playing tricks on my kids (Dylan and Maya) every year. A couple years ago I gave them “juice” with lunch. They were surprised to find their glasses full of Jell-O! ~ Kiran Patel of Rancho Peñasquitos 

"Cake" for Dinner

One year I made a two-layer meatloaf in round cake pans and covered the entire thing with mashed potatoes (as if icing a cake). Then I wrote "Happy April Fool's Day" on top with ketchup. The family was surprised when they thought we were having cake for dinner, but welcomed the celebratory gesture. Then they were surprised again (and mildly disappointed) to discover it wasn't cake at all.  ~ Lisa Gipson

Waterworks 

This harmless prank is sure to raise some eyebrows. Use a cotton swab to carefully dab gel food coloring around the rim of a kitchen or bathroom faucet spout, right where the water comes out. When the next person turns on the faucet, they will be treated with a colorful surprise!

TV Trick #1 

Remove the batteries from the TV remote. For extra fun, leave the TV on your favorite channel before taking out the batteries. The next person that tries to change the channel will have a difficult time of it!

TV Trick #2 

Take the remote and stand in another room while your kids are watching TV. Randomly change the channel or mute the volume. They'll be baffled!

Sneaky Spiders

Is someone in your family easily spooked by spiders? This simple toilet paper trick is sure to get a reaction. Just unroll the toilet paper slightly and draw a spider (or bug of your choice) directly on the paper a few sheets in. Then roll it back up and wait for the priceless reactions. 

Bubble Wrap Fun

After the kids go to bed, put bubble wrap under a bedside rug or bathmat (the big bubbles work best). When they get up, they'll be greeted with loud popping sounds! Who needs an alarm when you have bubble wrap? 

Tight Toes

Stuff tissues or socks into the toe of your child’s sneakers. Be ready to help when they discover their shoes don’t fit.

Cereal Swap 

Do the kids eat cereal for breakfast? Surprise them by exchanging the bags inside the boxes. They may think they're pouring Honey Bunches of Oats, but will get Cheerios instead. For extra fun, add a drop of green or red food coloring to the milk.

 

Read more about the benefits of humor in San Diego Family’s article, Give Your Family the Gift of Laughter, at www.sandiegofamily.com/parenting/how-humor-helps-families.


Find us on pinterest!

Want more family-friendly April Fool's Day prank ideas? Be sure to visit our "April Fools' Day Fun" Pinterest Board!

 

 

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