On April Fools’ Day, turn the tables on your kid with some good-natured practical jokes. Here are eight easy, family-friendly pranks to start the day off right.
Breakfast in Antarctica. It's first thing in the morning. Your kid is still groggy and half-asleep. Imagine her surprise when she slinks downstairs and sits down to a rock-solid breakfast, right down to the frozen spoon sticking out of her cereal bowl.
Prep: The night before, pour a bowl of cereal, add milk and insert the spoon. Put it into freezer as is and you’ll have a breakfast fit for a penguin when you wake up the next day.
Blue cow. Celebrate April Fools, Dr. Seuss style. Turn the morning colorful! With some simple food coloring, you can turn milk any color you choose. And when your child asks where her blue milk came from, just tell her it came from a blue cow, of course!
Prep: Put some food coloring in the milk carton just before breakfast. Make sure to use a clear cup.
Sauerkraut fundraiser. When your child gets home from school, announce that her basketball team, chess club or dance class is holding a big fundraiser, and this year’s sale item is sauerkraut. Then hand her three cans of the Germanic fermented cabbage delicacy to sell to the neighbors. Clearly, you’ll only want to send her to neighbors you know relatively well. And if she happens to make a sale, feel free to yank her out of grammar school and send her straight to business school.
Prep: Buy three or four jars of sauerkraut. You could also type up an “order sheet.”
Bathtub bed. During breakfast, tell your child a painter is coming to paint every single room in the house and that you’d like her help get ready. Since the fumes will be so bad, you’ve decided the family will sleep in the bathroom, which has better ventilation and will be painted last. Enlist her help in squeezing the family bedding into the bathroom and wave her off to school.
Refrigerator art gallery opening. Clear off the refrigerator and tack up a few dozen crudely drawn crayon drawings signed “Mommy.” That’s right. You’ve replaced all her drawings with your own. Explain that just like all great museums and galleries, you are holding a special exhibit of your own artwork. The next exhibit on the agenda is Daddy’s.
Prep: The night before, get some paper and crayons and go to town creating your own gallery of masterpieces. Take your kid’s art off the refrigerator and replace it with your own.
Dinner for breakfast! We all resort to breakfast for dinner on busy activity nights or just as comfort food on cold winter evenings. But why not dinner for breakfast? How about starting the day with some nice leftover steamed broccoli and a plate of cold pulled pork? What, that doesn’t appeal to you? It probably won’t appeal to your kid either, but it sure makes a hilarious April Fools’ joke. Just be sure to slip some toast in her hand on the way to the school bus.
Prep: Keep some leftovers from last night’s dinner.
Switched at birth. The whole family (but one) can be in on this joke. In the morning, greet your child with a name you and the rest of the family have agreed on. Let’s say “Scarlett.” Spend breakfast referring to her by that name, explaining that there was some confusion during her birth, and it turns out that you’ve been calling her by the wrong name all these years. Not to worry, though, from now on, the entire family has promised to call her by her right name.
Prep: Type up and print a “birth certificate” with her “real name.” Don’t worry about making it look authentic. Few kids have ever actually seen their birth certificate.
Look how big you’re getting! Surely, kids get sick and tired of adults telling them how much they've grown. This time, your child will think she really has … overnight! The night before, lay out an outfit that is two or three sizes too small. As your kid walks down the stairs with her capri pants and three-quarter sleeves, comment that she must have grown overnight. Then when she goes to put on her shoes, she'll think even her feet have grown a size bigger.
Prep: The night before, lay out a too-small outfit and stuff her regular shoes with tissues.
These tricks will make for a fun day and show your child that even you have a sense of humor.