I never actually liked April Fool's Day when I was growing up. I'm so trusting that I often am the one who gets fooled on April Fool's Day. So I don't like pulling pranks that might make someone feel embarrassed or hurt someone's feelings. But I have learned to embrace the silliness of this holiday with my kids. Below are some lighthearted April Fool's tricks and activities that we have done.
Trick your child by asking them if they want brownies. Then, pull brown paper E's out of the oven. (I got the inspiration for this trick here
My kids were definitely fooled with this trick last year and were sad that they weren't actually getting treats--but after a few minutes, I consoled them with some real brownies I had made as well.
Serve your kids "juice" with a straw. They will be very confused when they try to drink it and find out that it is actually Jell-O. See this trick and fun April Fool's pranks and party activities on our previous post here
Fool your kids into thinking they are getting a can of fruit, only to have them open it up and find a treat inside the can instead. See how to do this can trick here
*Mixed up Dinner:
Serve "dessert" for dinner and "dinner" for dessert. One year, I served my children "cupcakes" that were actually meatloaf with mashed potato "frosting." Then we followed that up with a dessert of "grilled cheese sandwiches" which were actually slices of pound cake with orange-tinted frosting as the pretend cheese. I originally got the recipes from Family Fun.
(Makes 12 "cupcakes")
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 T ketchup
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t. celery salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 3 c. mashed potatoes
- food coloring
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with foil cups
- Mix together meat loaf ingredients until well combined and divide mixture among cups (the cups should be about 3/4 full)
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until all cooked through
- Divide mashed potatoes into different bowls and add food coloring to create different colors of "frosting." Spread a generous amount of mashed potatoes on each meatloaf cupcake.
- If you want to add to the illusion you could also throw on a few sprinkles (you will hardly taste them but they did add to the effect).
These are actually so delicious and easy that we like eating them all year round--not just for April Fool's Day.
"Grilled Cheese" Pound Cake
- 1 Pound Cake
- 1 c. buttercream or white frosting
- food coloring
- Cut the pound cake into thin slices and toast them in a toaster oven until they just start to brown.
- Cool the slices of cake and create sandwiches with orange-tinted frosting in the center (use food coloring to tint your frosting)
Decorate fish and put them on each other's backs. This is an April Fool's tradition from countries such as Italy, France and Belgium. Children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other's back as a trick and shout "April fish!" in their local languages. You can easily search for coloring pages of fish online to use as a starting point such as I did for my toddler last year.
Or, older children can design their own fish from scratch. I love of all the varieties of fish that kids designed here
*Silly Hat Parade:
When April Fool's was near Easter one year (as it will be again this year), We had a silly Easter Parade. We danced around to the song "Easter Parade" but instead of fancy Easter bonnets, we wore all sorts of silly hats.
My friend actually does this for Valentine's Day with her kids, but I think it is perfect for a silly and fun April Fool's Day dinner. Each person chooses one food and one game/activity--whatever they want! They each get to choose one different room to do their activity in (i.e., living room, bath room, bedroom, patio, whatever). You move from room to room in the house and eat that person's food and play that game in their chosen room--some of our minute to win it games
would be great ideas for games. You could also just do something as simple as dancing to Ring Around the Rosy, playing a quick game of pictionary, or having horsey rides from Daddy--whatever the child in charge decides!
Read some silly books such as the following:
- April Foolishness by Teresa Bateman and Nadine Bernard Westcott--This is a charming story about kids trying to fool their grandpa on April Fool's Day.
- Previously by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman--This book tells classic fairy tales--in reverse. April Fool's Day is all about being silly and backwards, so this backwards book is a perfect fit.
- Silly Sally by Audrey Wood--Another silly book that is perfect for toddlers--Silly Sally always walks on her hands instead of her feet.. While going to town, she meets and plays with different animals.
Have a Silly April Fool's Dinner
as Andrea shared with us last year! The kids had a "menu" to order from--but they never quite knew what they were getting.
*April Fool's History:
If you want to sneak in a little learning on this holiday, you can also read about the history of April Fool's Day with your kids here
. You could type of some of these fun facts on little notes to put in your child's lunch or snack just as Teach Mama did here
with St. Patrick's Day lunchbox notes.