April Fool’s Day: Parent Edition

april fools

If you search “April Fool’s Day pranks for Parents” online, you find a plethora of easy, silly pranks to pull on your kids. What you don’t find are tips for handling the MORAL side of April Fool’s Day. In a time when bullying has become an unfortunate part of our kids’ everyday lives, we need to make sure they know how to build each other up. On April Fool’s Day, that building up can be through genuine laughter and fun.

It’s hard to say what a “good” prank looks like or what will for sure make someone laugh, but I can say a few things it is NOT.

A good prank is not HURTFUL:

I think it could be so easy to use April Fool’s Day as a time to make fun of someone under the guise of a prank. Instead of the quick “Just kidding!” to cover up a hurtful joke at someone else’s expense, kids (and adults) can say “April Fool’s!” and seemingly get away with something that would otherwise be hurtful. It is the prankster’s responsibility to know their friends, build each other up, and help protect from those that might use this day as a way to say hurtful things.

A good prank is not HARMFUL:

Sometimes, it’s hard to know if a physical prank will have the effect you’re going for. It can be easy to overstep, take something too far, or do something foolish. Anyone out there watch New Girl? If you do, this one is classic Winston going way too big. Someone will get hurt. If someone will be physically harmed, it is not a good prank. It is the prankster’s responsibility to understand boundaries and what is safe or not safe.

A good prank is not SOMETHING YOU HIDE FROM:

What I mean is, you take responsibility for it. If it makes a mess (hello saran wrap on the toilet seat…) the prankster is the one responsible for the clean-up. If someone’s property is damaged, the prankster is responsible for replacing/repairing it (I soaked my husband’s toothbrush in salt once. It was gross. I bought a new one).

Personal responsibility is something our kids should come to understand as they grow. They’re developing, learning new things, making new friends, and handling new obstacles. I think we can help them along in this by showing them what personal responsibility looks like. Using April Fool’s Day as a fun, teachable day could make a huge impact.

Here are 10 fun April Fool’s Day pranks to do with (or on) your kids!

  1. Rubber band phone: This is a good Dad prank! It’s obviously also a good one if your child/teenager has a cell phone. Just wrap it in 100 rubber bands, or however many you have laying around (ponytail holders would work too!).
  2. Healthy Donuts: Buy donuts (Remember, Sandy’s delivers!). Take the donuts out of the box, and fill the box with veggies; carrots, cucumbers, apples, oranges, etc. You can write “April Fool’s!” on the inside cover of the box. You can then treat them with the actual donuts (or save them all for yourself; no judgement here).
  3. “Sponge” cake: Literally, a sponge. Cut a new sponge into bite size squares. Cover with frosting and sprinkles. Leave on the counter with a nice note or quick word about how much you love them all.
  4. Brown-E’s: This is a good one for pre-schoolers and younger. I have a feeling older kids will just straight up groan. All you need is to cut some brown paper into lots of little ‘E’ shapes. Place them all in your regular brownie pan, then cover with foil. Tell them you made Brownies!
  5. Frozen cereal: This one wouldn’t work at my house. We always pour our cereal right at the table, but if you’re the one serving, this could be great! There are various ways to do this:
    1. Prep it the night before and freeze the entire bowl; put the cereal and milk in the bowl, with the spoon, all into the freezer.
    2. Freeze the spoon in a bowl of water. In the morning, add a bit of cereal and milk to the top, not being able to get spoon out.
    3. Freeze water in the bowl overnight. In the morning, top with a little cereal and milk. They’ll dig in, only to hit a huge ice chunk!
  6. Stuffed Shoes: Fill their shoes with rocks, beads, marbles, Barbie shoes, or whatever will be funny when they go to stick their feet in!
  7. Remote Fail: Take the batteries out of the remote (or mouse, controller, other electronic device they use everyday), and leave a little April Fool’s note behind!
  8. Crazy Colors: Add food coloring to the carton of juice, milk, or other beverage so it comes out a crazy hue. Be sure you are doing this with a drink that comes in a container where you can’t see the liquid!
  9. Donut Fake: Get some plain donuts and dust them in flour or cornstarch. They’ll look exactly like powdered sugar donuts, but won’t be quite as tasty! Another is to buy Bavarian creme donuts, remove the cream, and fill with Mayo.
  10. Bugs: Hide plastic bugs in all the places; with their toothbrush, in their sock drawer, in the cereal box… the options are endless. Note: if you have a kid (or spouse) who is legitimately afraid of bugs, this one may not be as light-hearted. Causing actual terror is not a good idea.

Go look up more fun April Fool’s Day pranks. Plan some fun pranks with them (pranking dad can really be fun). Be a team, and teach as you work together.

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Dani Tanner (not THAT Danny Tanner) is a Twin Cities native who has lived in South Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota again and now Moorhead. She married her husband Greg in 2009. Dani received her bachelor's degree in Consumer Affairs in 2013. She has chosen to stay home while supporting her husband through graduate school (and now as a professor!) and chasing their five kiddos! She has a few hobbies - cooking, baking, sewing, reading, crafting... though they never seem to be fully realized. Not while there are still kids at home anyway! She enjoys all things in the kitchen and loves trying new recipes and techniques. The current new thing? Cake decorating! Various craft endeavors take some other time, as well as reading when she takes the time. Oh, and coffee. All the coffee. If you want to find her, she's likely that mom pushing a double stroller with three kids on it trying to get wherever she's going before someone freaks out. She's so glad to be able to share some of her fun experiences with you!

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