Skip to main content

April Fools’ pranks that make you the cool parent, not a terrible one 

With April Fools’ Day right around the corner, now may be a great time to start planning some fun and silly pranks to play on your littles — without causing hurt feelings or tears. After all, laughter is the best medicine, or so the saying goes. After the long and sometimes bitterly cold winter months, some bright and cheery activities might just be the ticket!

Whether your kids are jokesters and love to be silly, or perhaps you’re a more serious family — who enjoys a good laugh every now and then — these clean and simple pranks leave nothing but laughter behind and don’t take too much time to set up. Make some memories, enjoy a giggle with your brood, and start a new tradition with some of our “out of the box” style of April Fools’ Day pranks that will have your kiddos smiling for days.

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

That looks delicious … or does it?

If you have ever planned a prank before, or any other kind of April Fools’ jokes, you know there is certain level of trickery involved. When you fool your “victim” into thinking or going along with the prank, there is a certain level of skill required to trick them into believing what you are doing or saying is honest or true. One of the best ways to prank someone, without them getting too suspicious, is with food. The receiver is usually unsuspecting, making it simple to do. A few fun and child-friendly options for food-related pranks are:

  • Freezing their morning cereal: If your kids enjoy a bowl of cereal each morning before heading off to school, why not give them a good laugh to go along with it? Pour their regular morning cereal in a bowl, pour over milk, add a spoon, and carefully place the bowl in the freezer. (This should be done the night before for optimal laughs.)
  • Add googly eyes!: Adding a few peel-back googly eyes to your milk cartons and orange juice containers can elicit laughs and smiles almost immediately.
  • Make a batch of brown E’s: Everyone loves brownies! Using construction paper or brown felt, trace and cut out lots of shapes of the letter E and place them into a baking dish. Then, ask your littles if they would like a “brown E.” (You may want to make up a batch of replacement brownies just in case.)
  • Mint Oreos: Who doesn’t love Oreos? If your kids are a fan of the chocolate/creme cookies, an innocent and silly prank to play on them would be to open the Oreos, remove the cream filling, and replace it with mint-flavored toothpaste. (Bonus points if the toothpaste is totally white, giving the appearance of real Oreo cookies.)
Bychykhin Olexandr/Shutterstock

Some of these things are not like the other

Sometimes, when it comes to kids, the best method of a good prank is just a KISS — keep it simply silly! Forget tedious prank setups and waiting for the perfect moment; keep it simply and silly with easy-to-do and wholesome pranks that will have your kids looking forward to April 1 every year. A few of our favorites are:

  • Room swap: If your child is a heavy sleeper, consider swapping out their room’s furniture or swapping sides of the room to confuse your kids upon waking. Even if they aren’t a heavy sleeper, you could easily adapt this prank by only moving smaller or lighter items.
  • Time’s up!: Pushing the clock backward or forward an hour or two can really throw them off, especially if it’s done closer to bedtime.
  • TP messages: Adding a silly note or funny phrase to your toilet paper roll can really take it up a notch. Just unravel the roll of toilet paper, write a note on the paper, then roll it back up and wait for the message to be discovered!
  • Stuck on you: If your child is a remote-stealer, adding a strip of tape to the remote’s sensor can have them searching for answers for as long or as little as you keep up pretenses on your prank.

April Fools’ Day is an exciting and energized way of expressing humor but can sometimes go too far. As parents, we are more than able to have fun with our kids, but without hurting their feelings or causing undo stress or anxiety. Introducing fun and innocent practical jokes can liven any household, and they can even open the door to your own child’s imagination for building laughter and humor in their own lives.

From food dupes to silly bathroom messages, we hope to guide parents in having fun with their kids. At the end of the day, making lasting memories and experiencing belly laughs that last all night are moments that you wouldn’t trade for a million dollars. So, grab some supplies, synchronize your watches, and get creative today.

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
10 classic board games that make ideal holiday gifts
Ask Santa for one of these classic board games to delight the family this holiday season
Game Night words on game board

For a parent, there are few things as special as sharing a favorite family board game from their youth with their own children and creating a new generation of memories. These fun, family-friendly games provide a great way for any family to sit and enjoy each other's company without any distractions.
Board games enjoyed something of a renaissance at the beginning of the pandemic when the country shut down and parents looked for ways to engage their children in interactive indoor activities that didn't involve a screen. But don't call it a comeback; classic board games have never gone away or lost their ability to unite all ages around the table for family game night.
Simple pleasures are the best, they say, so if you're looking for a holiday gift for the household, consider these classic family board games that prove the old adage: The family that plays together stays together.

1. Candy Land
Introduced in 1949, Candy Land has been the gateway to family board games for generations of children. According to Hasbro's website, it was created to entertain hospitalized children during the polio epidemic. Today, it's still the sweetest game going, as players move their pieces through colorful landscapes such as Cupcake Commons, Lollypop Woods, and Chocolate Mountain. This game is great for pre-readers and counters, as cards dictate player movements with color blocks.

Read more
8 cool holiday gift ideas for teens who have it all and hate everything
Don't panic, this is the list of holiday gifts for teens you need
A teenager holding some Christmas presents.

If you have teenagers, the holiday season may look a little different from when you were the parents of little ones. Finding presents for a teen that won’t make them roll their eyes or give you that dead stare is tricky. There are only so many video games and electronic devices to get your teen before you run out of ideas.

Before you give up and start planning how to wrap up gift cards or cash, take a deep breath. We came up with a list of amazing ideas that will help get you through your Christmas shopping. Let’s look at eight different holiday gifts for teens that will get you a smile from your child, and maybe even a hug.

Read more
Christmas charities where families can volunteer together to give back
Pick one these Christmas charities and give back as a family
Mom and daughter making homemade Christmas ornaments

The holidays are a season of joy. You get together with loved ones and receive cards from friends and family who live all over. You get to see your kids' faces light up brighter than your tree when they wake up on Christmas morning. It's a good time to be surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.
Unfortunately, this time of year isn’t the happiest for everyone. For some, it's a reminder of what they don’t have, such as strong connections with loved ones or money to purchase their children the trendiest toys on the shelves. Lending a helping hand can not only allow these folks to have a happier holiday, but it's also beneficial for your children. Giving back as a family can teach kids empathy and the importance of altruism. You may have a ton on your plate, so finding Christmas charities can be overwhelming. Let us help you and yours help others.

Charities that mostly cost you time
More Love Letters
Getting holiday cards in the mail is a fun surprise. Everyone loves a bit of snail mail. We all enjoy hanging our Christmas cards on a door or wall to make the holidays more special. However, some people may not get mail during Christmastime. In fact, they may feel rather lonely during the holiday season.
More Love Letters’ volunteers help give people the pick-me-up they need through the simple act of collecting handwritten letters. Every day, the organization will feature a story about a person who could use some cheer. People write sweet notes which will get mailed to those who need them most. Your family could do this all year long as well, not just at Christmas.

Read more