16 April Fool’s Pranks to Pull on Your Kids

Last winter, in the midst of “Snowzilla” (a huge snowstorm that engulfed my area in almost three feet of snow), my children decided to put a very realistic-looking (and feeling) fake spider in one of my boots.

When I first put my foot in, I thought maybe there was a discarded glove or sock in there. But when I reached my hand into the boot, I touched something furry. FURRY! Just then, all my nightmares about rodents or tarantulas somehow ending up IN MY HAND came true in that instant. I screamed with decibels loud enough to rival the Psycho shower scene.
Little did my kids know, as they laughed hysterically, that they had sealed their fate. I was determined to get them back and get them back GOOD.

Almost every day since that day, it has been game on for pranks in this house, and I have scared my three boys a few times with throwing fake insects in their faces as soon as they walk in the door from playing outside, or hiding in the coat closet and jumping out at them as soon as they go to put their coats away after school, or putting rubber witch fingers under their pillows.

But I still don’t think I’ve achieved prank nirvana.

So this April Fool’s Day, which is a Saturday (mwahahaha), my kids are going to get an all-day marathon of tomfoolery and trickery. If you’re looking forward to this day (almost) as much as I am, read these 7 pranks I handpicked from the interwebs, along with 9 more that my Facebook friends were kind enough to pass along to me.

  1. Frost Their Flakes

Kick off April Fool’s Day right by getting the party started first thing. The night before, pour a bowl of your kid’s favorite cereal, add the milk, and then put the bowl in the freezer. When you serve it to your kid the next morning, he or she will dig into rock solid Fruit Loops!

  1. Push Their Buttons

You can also do this trick the night before, especially if your kids get up and go straight to the TV on weekend mornings. Put a piece of tape over the remote control sensor so that the TV won’t turn on. The kids will probably think it’s the dawn of the apocalypse. (Be warned: This could also backfire on you, since they might panic and wake you up)!

  1. Eyes on the Prankster Prize

If your kids are used to helping themselves from the fridge, get googly eye stickers and stick them onto everything in there. Your kid will either scream or laugh; either way, good times.

  1. Sweet Revenge is All Yours

Cut a bunch of letter “E’s” from brown construction paper, and put them in a foil-covered baking dish. When your kids come in from playing, tell them you’ve made them some brownies. When they pull back the foil, they’ll find their brown E’s. This time, there will be no laughter.

  1. Potty Horror Surprise

In the bathroom that your kids use the most, take a sheet of saran wrap and cover the toilet bowl (under the seat) tightly. (You might want to clean the toilet before touching it because, eww, kids’ toilets). Then put the seat back down and put a plastic spider (I’ll be using the one from my aforementioned story), rubber snake, or stuffed mouse—anything horrifying will do, really—in the center of the plastic. Put the lid back down, walk out of the bathroom, and wait for the drama to unfold.

  1. Watercolor Wipe Out

Get some food coloring, and take it to that commonly used bathroom. Unscrew the little screen or cap on the faucet and drop your dye into it, then screw it back on. When your kid goes to wash his hands (hopefully right after his potty scare), he’ll get a surprise. (Make sure the dye won’t stain your porcelain, or else the joke will be on you)!

  1. Eye Bought You Something, Kids! (Psych)

OK, I have to say I hesitated to add this one, because it is SO cruel, but then I thought about that spider in my boot (can you tell I hold onto things)? Tell them you bought them a new iPad. Hand them the gift bag, which they will open to reveal an actual “eye pad” bandage (that you can find in any drug store). Told you it was cruel!

Top Mom-tested Pranks

Now that I’ve given you the best the interwebs could offer, let’s take a look at some ideas from real-life moms who are pros at the pranking game!

“Oh, April Fool’s is serious in my house. I have switched out the cereals—pulled out the bag and put it in a different box. I have even swapped out their dresser drawers! Basically, I mess with my kids in any way possible. It’s payback for every time they put a fake plastic snake in my room to scare me.” Charice L., Glendale, California

“This isn’t my prank, but still a good one! My Aunt did the loving act of making caramel apples with onions instead of apples once. The looks on my cousins’ faces were the most memorable looks I’ve ever seen!” Kylie L., Bluffton, Indiana

“Some years I do something; other years I just let them think that I might have. One year, I did the brown-E trick, and the younger two thought it was funny. My high schooler had been so excited about the real brownies that she nearly cried when they were just paper. I felt so guilty for a moment that I almost wished I hadn’t also greased her doorknob.” Jennifer M., College Station, TX

“I put saran wrap over all the doors to bedrooms when they were sleeping! When they were hollering to get out in the morning, I told them that they must have morphed into an alternate universe when they were sleeping.” Savanah A., Fries, Virginia

“I woke them up and told them there was no school, and then I said ‘April Fool’s!’ That one didn’t go over too well.” Royal R., Billings, Montana

“I made sort of a spider web of painter’s tape to block the entrance to my son’s toy room one year!” Sarah C., Jefferson, Wisconsin

“I filled their rooms with blow-up balloons, about waist-deep!” Barbara A., Honea Path, South Carolina 

“My hubby put Easter egg dye pellets in the washers of the faucet so when they went to brush their teeth they were surprised with red water. They ran to every sink and laughed at every new color!” Candace S., Gainesville, Georgia

“My mom used to get us every year with stuff like salt in the sugar bowl at breakfast (making for some nasty cereal) or short-sheeting our beds. By far the greatest prank was the year she mixed cornstarch and water to look like milk, again at breakfast. I took a small sip, scowled, and Mom caught my eye with a wink. My older brother picked up his glass and started gulping down “milk,” spitting it out with an enormous ‘Yuck!’ Mom was laughing so hard she didn’t even mind the mess.” Sarah from Mother of Serendipity blog, New York City, New York

So now that we have a full catalog of ideas for this year’s April Fool’s Day and many more to come, let’s get busy plotting. Our little stinkers deserve those tables to be turned once in a while!

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