Family, Kids & Relationships

12 Great (and Still Kind!) Ways to Play an April Fools Day Joke on Your Kid

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Pranking your kids can be fun, especially on April Fool’s Day, so long as the jokes aren’t mean-spirited, of course! Families that joke around create wonderful bonds and lasting memories, while also fueling a healthy competitive spirit.

Here are a few fun ways to play an April Fool’s Day joke on your kiddo, no matter their age. But before you do, keep these 3 parent pointers in mind:

  • Invite other caregivers to join the fun. The more, the merrier—and the funnier!
  • Keep it going all day long. What’s one good joke if you can have five?!
  • Model good behavior. Be a good sport when the tables turn on you.

Switch their undies

Switch out the underwear in your kids’ drawers so they wake up to the wrong size (maybe even adult sizes!). You could do this with the contents of any drawer you know they’ll open, but kids always enjoy a good underwear joke.

Change their background

Change the background pic on your teen or tween’s devices to one of you and your partner dancing, a silly photo of your kid as a baby, or some other equally “embarrassing” image.

Act natural

There are lots of ways to play this joke—just do something unusual and pretend it’s totally normal. The longer you can keep up the act, the funnier it is! For example:

  • Put your clothes on backward, then insist that your kid returns to their room to dress themself “properly.”  
  • Serve something strange for breakfast, like spaghetti or a bowl of carrots.
  • Move things around in the kitchen cabinets, and pretend to be baffled about why your kid can’t find anything.
  • Turn as many things upside down as you can, from dining room chairs to pictures on the wall.

Toilet paper prank

Partially unroll the TP and write a message on the tissue, then roll it back up. The message will be hidden until the next time they use the bathroom and unroll the toilet paper.

Screen scare

Switch every TV in the house to a boring channel, then remove the batteries from all the remotes. Watch the drama unfold!

Water colors

Use a Q-tip to put food coloring on the underside of the tap on the bathroom faucet—when they turn on the water they’ll get a colorful surprise! If you have Easter egg dye tablets, you can lightly tape or otherwise secure them under the tap for a similar effect.

Photo credit: Robyn Welling

“Adopt” an exotic pet

Use Google’s 3D animal feature to make it look like a shark is swimming in your bathtub or a mountain lion is in the yard. Take a screenshot and show it to your kid to see their reaction!

Classic crack-up

Buy an inexpensive whoopie cushion for less than $5, and … well, you know what to do! This is a great way to include younger kiddos, including tots in high chairs!

Minty mix-up

Remove the tops of several Oreo cookies, scrape off the frosting, replace it with toothpaste, and offer your kiddos a ”yummy” afternoon snack!

Not-so sweet treat

Speaking of snacks, tell the kids you baked a batch of brownies then show up with a tray full of letter E’s cut out of brown construction paper. (Brown E’s, get it? 😉)

Short Shoe

Stuff tissues, paper towels, or other soft material down into the toes of your child’s shoes. When they try to put them on, they’ll be surprised that their shoes suddenly don’t fit!

Pillow Prank

Before bedtime, take your kids’ pillows out of the pillow cases and put small or only partly inflated balloons in their place. It will look like their usual pillow—until they put their head down! (Just don’t forget to get the balloons out of a younger child’s room before they actually go to sleep.)

The former Content Director at Parenting, and several other brands, Ana Connery is a writer and content strategist whose work appears in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Cafe Mom/The Stir, Momtastic, and others.