April Fools' Day: 12 Fun Ways Parents Can Trick Their Kids

April Fools' Day: 12 Fun Ways Parents Can Trick Their Kids

By Kathryn Peck

April Fools' Day, celebrated each year on the first of April, is a day dedicated to mischievous pranks and harmless tricks. Yes, people try their best to fool one another with clever hijinks and practical jokes. As a parent, you, too, can join in on the fun with a few of these light-hearted pranks to play on your little ones. 

Will they laugh? Maybe. Will they roll their eyes? Probably. Will you have fun? Definitely. 

The Toothpaste Oreo Trick

Try swapping out the cream filling of an Oreo cookie with toothpaste. “What’s the after-school snack?” they’ll ask. Try not to laugh when you bring out the milk & cookies. Your kiddos will be in for a surprise when they take a bite expecting a sweet treat and instead get a mouthful of minty freshness. Just make sure to have some real Oreos on standby to enjoy afterward.

The "Brown-E" Prank

I successfully pulled this one off a few years ago. Imagine my kids' surprise when I brought out a foil-covered baking dish for dessert?! Take some brown construction paper and cut out lots of letter "E"s. Put them into a pan and ask if anyone wants brownies. Get it? 

The Frozen Cereal Surprise

This was last year’s trick that I pulled on my kids - and one of my favorites so far. Pour your child's favorite breakfast cereal into a bowl the night before. Add milk and then freeze it overnight. In the morning, serve them the frozen cereal and watch out of the corner of your eye as they dig into a bowl of cereal that’s frozen solid. It's a chilly prank that'll definitely wake them up!

The Balloon Avalanche

Sneak into your child's room while they're sleeping and fill the doorway with balloons. When they wake up and open the door, they'll be greeted with an unexpected cascade of balloons tumbling into their room. If they’re like my kids and sleep with the door open, try the closet instead. Just make sure that something’s in the closet that they’ll need to get the next morning. It's colorful, cheerful, and totally startling. 

The Jell-O Juice

This was hugely successful in our house last year and had everyone laughing. Make some Jell-O ahead of time in juice glasses, and even go the extra yard and put a straw into the glass before the Jell-O hardens in the refrigerator. Once it sets, it’ll look just like a glass of juice. Bring them out to the table and ask, “Does anyone want juice?” 

The Fake Bug Invasion

If you’ve got kids, then you’ve got plastic insects in the toy bins somewhere. Scatter them around the house in unexpected places, like in the cereal box, under their pillow, or in their shoes. Watch as your kids react with surprise and maybe a little bit of fear before they realize it's all just a harmless prank.

The Toothpaste Ooze

Carefully squeeze some toothpaste onto your child's toothbrush the night before, then let it dry overnight. In the morning, when they go to brush their teeth, they'll be puzzled by the strangely solid toothpaste. Just make sure to have a fresh tube of toothpaste ready to go.

The Chocolate Grapes Trick

A few years ago, this was a hit, particularly if Easter falls near April 1st, like it does this year. Carefully unwrap the foil from a handful of chocolate eggs and re-wrap grapes. Imagine their surprise to find fruit instead of candy inside!

The Ketchup Gag

This was a trick that got my oldest son, who boasted that he couldn’t be fooled. Unscrew the cap from the ketchup bottle and place a piece of plastic wrap or tape over the top. Then re-screw the cap back on. When they try to put ketchup on their burger or fries that evening, watch - and try not to laugh - as they squeeze the bottle and can’t figure out why nothing comes out. 

Meatloaf or Cake?

Since you’re using the ketchup, why not make the meatloaf to go with it. But baking it in two round cake pans will make it look like a cake. Top your “cake” with smooth and creamy mashed potatoes instead of frosting. Use a pastry bag and tip to pipe on extra mashed potatoes around the edge for an unforgettable cake-like appearance.

A Colorful Drink

Simply add some food coloring to an opaque drink carton - milk or orange juice perhaps. It doesn’t change the flavor, but it certainly changes the color and makes for a fun surprise when someone unexpectedly pours a drink. 

Bathtime Fun

With a Q-tip, apply gel food coloring around the inside of the bathtub or sink faucet. When the faucet is turned on, the water will come out looking very colorful. Just be sure your kids aren’t sitting in the tub awhile! 

The key to a successful April Fools' Day prank with kids is to keep it lighthearted, harmless, and fun. You really can’t pull off the same prank two years in a row - they remember - so keep these in mind for next year, too. Happy pranking!


About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.

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