Teach the Kids What Can Be a Good April Fools’ Joke (and What Not)

April Fools’ Day is approaching, which means all of your unfunny friends are about to announce their fake pregnancy, marking a day that is often more annoying than amusing. However, young children love pranks, and it can be fun to bask in their total fun – if we teach them what makes a prank good and what doesn’t.

So let’s talk about how to give them the wisdom of our pranks and identify some good starting pranks along the way.

Teach them to know your audience

The main lesson I was trying to convey to my 10 year old who loves a good joke, since about age five or six, is that when you pull a prank, everyone should laugh after all, not just a joker. That’s the difference between laughing at someone (average) and laughing with someone (don’t mean). However, this can be difficult to understand because entertainment for one person is another person’s worst nightmare.

We talked about this before, but he really got the idea when he tried to prank me by gluing a sticky spider to the wall in the hallway outside my bedroom door. One morning I woke up to go to the bathroom without bothering to put on my glasses. The darkness of the hallway, combined with my half-asleep, half-blind state at that moment, made it so that I did not notice the spider until I was practically on it – and yet it was still blurry enough to look very real for a split second.

As a person who is afraid of even the tiniest and most harmless spiders, I screamed. Doesn’t sound like a silly little “oh god!” a kind of noise, but similar to a real scared scream. (He was big, okay?) My child felt terrible because he really thought I would recognize it as fake and laugh right away, but now he understands that the way to make someone laugh is not to try to scare them with something. that they deliberately dislikes.

Now we’re going to talk about how to plan a prank that the joker is likely to personally find funny, not just what the joker finds funny. It is good practice to talk about pranks with them and try to imagine together how Grandma might react to a particular joke versus how Grandpa might react to her, and try to pick the right prank for the right person.

Explore the pranks together

When your child wants to joke but has absolutely no idea what to do, you can start exploring some ideas together. When you do this, you will find that so many pranks that kids put on their friends, family, or teachers are just … not funny. It’s a lot of gross foods disguised as goodies (replacing the Oreo filling with toothpaste is just a waste of a good Oreo), hidden cans of sardines, and lies to friends and extended family about moving to another state.

Here are a few simple pranks I personally love, from Good Housekeeping (they are meant to pull on kids, but parent and child could easily team up to pull on another loved one):

  • Googly eyes : This gag is very simple for a PG rated gag: take your googly bag out of your craft drawer and open the fridge. Keep an eye on everything you see: a carton of milk, vegetables, all the spices. When they go to breakfast, they’ll burst just to see all those little eyes staring at them.
  • Shower gag : Unscrew the cap from your everyday shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel. Attach a small piece of plastic wrap to the inside and screw the lid back on. When they squeeze the bottle and nothing comes out – over and over again – they will eventually realize that this is an April Fool’s joke.
  • Beverage opening : Add food coloring to opaque beverage cartons such as milk or orange juice. When they take him out of the fridge to pour a drink, they pour out a strange surprise.
  • Completely buggy : This April Fool’s joke is as old as it is, but it’s a timeless classic! Buy yourself a pack of plastic bugs and freeze them in ice cubes for kids to have fun with a cold drink. (Bonus points for using plastic cockroaches.) Plastic bugs also bring cheap joy when placed in boxes, under pillows – anywhere in the house where children screech!

(Yes, I seem to be fine with plastic bugs that are not spiders, but we all have different trigger thresholds, so your mileage may vary.)

Why You May Also Need A Bait Raffle

On the eve of April Fools’ Day a few years ago, when my son really started playing pranks, that was pretty much all he could talk about for a couple of days. He really wanted to play a prank on his father, but he could not resist talking about it in front of his father, so the guy knew that something was going to happen. For this reason, coupled with the fact that pranks by young children are usually pretty obvious and my son was desperate to catch him, we came up with a decoy prank.

For the bait draw, we stuffed his shoes with paper towels so that when he went to put on his shoes in the morning, he could not stand up completely. He laughed, we laughed, and he decided it was the one. Then, before he left for work, I asked him to take something from the refrigerator for me, and when he did, he didn’t expect to find a toy snake wrapped around a gallon of milk in a weirdly realistic way. He was completely surprised and delighted, laughed even more at the real joke and made a birthday for our child.

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