There are literary references to April Fools Day as far back as the 14th century, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The fun of this unofficial holiday is that everybody gets in on the action, from small children to TV stations to multi-billion dollar companies! Arguably the all-time champion of corporate April Fools pranks is Google. Their jokes have ranged from their first prank in 2000, which asked users to project a mental image of what they wanted to find while staring at an animated gif. The user would then get one of several humorous error messages such as “Query is unclear. Try again after removing hat, glasses and shoes.” More recently, Google’s prank was promising a version of Google Translate which could be used to talk with animals!
You might not be Google, but you can still have a little fun this April Fools Day. Here are some light-hearted pranks to try in your house:
Make Them (Ahem… Their Phones) Fart: Although whoopee cushions are definitely worn out, farts will always make people laugh, regardless the age group. Bring this stale prank into the 21st century with some hilarious farting apps. An easy way to do this one is to secretly grab your target’s phone and search the app store for “fart ringtones” and download one. Go to settings and select it as their alert sound for texts. Then sit back, relax and watch them squirm when they get a text.
Ice cube bugs: The night before, put a plastic bug in an ice tray, add water and freeze. Once it’s frozen, put it in your ice dispenser and wait for the magic.
Got (Blue) Milk?: Put a few drops of food coloring in a pitcher of milk (choose your kid’s fave shade). Make sure she’s watching when you nonchalantly fix her morning bowl of cereal!
Text shortcut: Create a shortcut on your target’s phone. On the iPhone, under Settings> General> Keyboard> Text Replacement, you can hit the add button (+) to substitute a word or phrase with something else every time it is typed on the phone. For example, I once replaced the word “Home” with “a zoo animal” in my husband’s phone. I got a few texts that read “I’ll be a zoo animal by 6pm.”
Make their Oreos taste minty fresh: Carefully separate a handful of Oreos and scrape off the filling, then add a dollop of toothpaste (the fluoride in toothpaste is toxic, so be sure to find one that is safe. Mayonnaise is also a safe alternative.) Smooth out your filling substitute, put the cookies back together and in the bag, then wait for the fun!
Short Shoe: You’ve heard of short-sheeting a bed, but that’s a lot of work, and who wants to make the bed more than they have to?!? Instead, try stuffing tissue or a plastic grocery bag into the toe of your kids’ shoes — they’ll wonder if they magically grew huge feet overnight. And watching them keep trying to put them on will be hilarious for you!
Snack Switch: Carefully open the bottom of a bag of your girl’s favorite snack and replace it with another snack she enjoys. Then tape the bottom of the bag shut and wait for her to open it and be confused.
Spark the Conversation
Talk to your girl about the nature and intent of pranks. Some are meant to embarrass or hurt the target, but some are just for a little laugh. This is a great way to introduce a conversation about empathy with a lighthearted approach. When your girl is on the receiving end of one of the pranks above, she might feel grossed out or frustrated, but never threatened or belittled. Tell her to remember how she feels, and if she sees someone else, or she herself is the victim of a more malicious prank, she can recognize the more serious feelings of fear or embarrassment and speak up.