family celebrating April Fools Day (ideas for pranks and jokes for kids)There is one holiday that reigns supreme as the original day of practical jokes, and it’s the perfect opportunity for family fun — April Fools’ Day! The best pranks don’t have to take too much effort, either. In fact, in France, April 1 is “poisson d’avril,” or April fish, where people try to stick paper fish on the backs of as many adults as possible. Ready to get a little silly and play some tricks on your loved ones? Check out these ideas for the best family-friendly April Fools’ Day tricks, jokes, and pranks!

Toilet paper messages

It might take time, but writing jokes or funny messages on your toilet paper can make for a silly surprise next time your child (or spouse) heads in. You can also buy pre-printed novelty toilet paper.

Fake cake pops

My older kids came home with “homemade” cake pops one year that were actually meatballs! You could even make cake pops out of Brussels sprouts or small onions. 

Pickup patrol

Have an adult-size animal onesie or Halloween costume you’d love to wear again? April 1 feels like the perfect day to break that outfit out to wear to school pickup.

Whoopie cushion

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Couch cushions? Mattress? Favorite chair? Tuck that whoopie cushion under your kids’ go-to sitting spots!

Toothpaste cream

Do your kids love Oreos? You can swap out the inside of any cream-filled cookies with toothpaste!

Change challenge

Glue a coin to a surface or floor and watch as your kids attempt to pick up their found treasure. Another variation is to take a bottle of water, put a coin underneath the bottle, and ask your kids if they can get the coin out without touching it. When the person looks in the bottle, squeeze it for a splash surprise! 

Remote malfunction

Put a piece of tape over your television remote’s sensor. TV time thwarted! 

Jiggly juice

Does your child drink juice in the morning? Fill a cup with Jell-O and hand it to them like their regular drink.

Giant growth spurt

Still have old socks lying around that your child has outgrown? In their sock drawer, swap their regular socks for the smaller pairs — instant growth spurt!

Cereal killer

Swap out your child’s favorite cereal for raw pasta or non-edible items (looking at you, Legos!). 

Surprise cake

Similar to cake pops, there are quite a few things you can make look like a piece of cake or a whole cake. Cover a sponge with your favorite frosting or, if you’re feeling super ambitious, try this meatball cake!

Brown “E”s

This one is super easy to pull off — maybe the simplest of the April Fools’ ideas! Surprise your child with a fresh “baked” dessert — brown paper cutouts of the letter “E.” Get it?

Breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast? 

I suppose this could go either way — as a prank or a treat. Offer dinner items at the breakfast table or serve a full breakfast for dinner! Who doesn’t enjoy lasagna with their morning juice?!

Frozen anything

Put any of your child’s favorite things in the freezer before they put them on — underwear, socks, favorite shirt, you name it!

Eye spy

Order an inexpensive stash of googly eyes and put them on everything! 

Jump scares

Simple and effective: If you have a child who likes to call out “Mom!” or “Dad” non-stop, simply hide behind the doorway and give them a good jump scare when they come around the corner looking for you! I’d recommend a confetti cannon but then you’d have to clean it up!

Sweet swap

Remove some candies from their wrappers, then refill the empty wrappers with grapes or cherry tomatoes. It’s the perfect fake out — and healthy, too!

Snake snack

This one’s an oldie but a goodie — offer up what looks like your kid’s favorite snack, and they’ll jump at the slithery surprise!

Courtney Medlin
Courtney was raised a Navy brat, growing up in Washington, South Carolina, and Virginia before her family put their roots down in Florida. She studied at Loyola University New Orleans earning her degree in communications PR with a minor in English, and she earned her master's in marketing from SNHU. She moved to the Boston area in 2008, where she met and married her partner-in-crime, John. Mother of Jackson, 5, and stepmom to two 16-year-olds (boy and girl) and dog mom to Riley. Courtney is raising her family with a love of the outdoors, scary movies, and lots of laughs. Courtney works corporate communications/marketing/pr and lives on the South Shore. She has a passion for cooking and traveling. She volunteers her time as a Gold Award advisor for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and serves on the planning gala committee for South Shore Health. She loves days that start with a latte and end with champagne.


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