No one really knows how April Fool's Day began.
The most popular theory is that it came about in the late 1500s when France began using the Gregorian calendar, starting the new year on January 1 instead of at the beginning of spring in March. Word of the change took a while to spread, and families in rural areas continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring. As the story goes, these uninformed country folk became known as "April fools."
Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, doesn't believe this interpretation. He says that the beginning of spring was only the legal start to the New Year, and that Frenchmen had been traditionally celebrating it on January 1 for as long as anyone could remember. He believes that the day simply grew out of European spring festivals of renewal, in which disguises and camouflage were a common piece of the celebration.
Regardless of how it actually started, April 1 is as great a day as any to inject a little extra fun into your lives. Here are a few ideas for some harmless tricks that you can play on or with your kids. Happy Foolin'!
1.) On March 31, fill a cereal bowl halfway with water (one for each of your kids). Place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, top off the bowl with cereal and a splash of milk, and then watch your kids try to dig into their breakfast!
2.) If your kids are heavy sleepers, sneak into their rooms and remove all their underwear and socks from their drawers. Replace them with shirts, shorts, and pants so in their half-asleep state, they'll end up seriously confused about where they keep their underclothes.
3.) Put all your fruits and vegetables on the kitchen counter and add googly eyes. Or add googly eyes to everything in your fridge or pantry. Our Elf on a Shelf, who loves playing pranks on our family, did this last December!
4.) Stick large marshmallows onto the ends of the branches on one of the leafless trees in your yard. Casually mention over breakfast that you noticed the leaves were starting to come in on the tree. They'll be delighted when they see it!
5.) Prepare any flavor red Jell-O according to package directions. Pour into drinking glasses and add a straw, then chill. Serve the "juice" with lunch or dinner.
6.) Use dry erase markers to give all the people in your framed family photos funny faces. Just be sure to only use it on the glass!
7.) Paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish. It won't lather up when someone tries to use it.
8.) Serve up a bowl of fresh strawberries with some sugar for dipping... but use salt instead!
9.) If you are the one who packs the lunch, tell your kids "I put a brownie in your lunch today." You can make up for it with a better dessert after dinner!
10.) Change the language and the voice setting on everyone's iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
11.) Even better, set up a replacement for a commonly used shortcut. Maybe change "LOL" to "DINOSAUR!!!" or "TTYL" to "A Shark Ate My Homework"!
- For Apple products, go to Settings – General – Keyboard – Text Replacement
- For Android, go to Settings – Language & Input – Personal Dictionary – "+" icon
12.) Serve dessert for dinner and dinner for dessert! Get our recipes and instructions HERE.
13.) Change all the apps on an iPhone to look like kittens or exploding bombs using iphoneception.com.
14.) Super-glue dimes and quarters to the floor of your garage and watch your kids try to pick them up. Leave a few loose ones, too, as a reward for persistence.
15.) Cut out a silhouette of a bug or spider and tape it to the inside of a light cover. Hopefully, they'll be too freaked out to notice the tape lines.
16.) Fake an incoming call from your child's favorite movie star or singer with the Who's Calling Fake Caller app (it's free!).
17.) Place a small piece of scotch tape over the remote sensor or mouse sensor so it won't send a signal.
18.) Introduce them to "sushi" for the first time... no raw fish required! Get our instructions HERE.
19.) Stir the orange cheese powder from a box of macaroni and cheese into chilled water and serve it up as a refreshing glass of orange juice. Only do this to someone with a solid sense of humor and a strong stomach... my sons played this trick on my husband and he said it was disgusting with a capital "D"!
20.) Make a peanut butter and "strawberry jelly" sandwich for someone, but instead of jelly, use salsa. My sons did this to my husband too. He said it wasn't as bad as the "orange juice" but was still pretty revolting. He won't eat or drink anything they make him anymore.
21.) Get our recipe for Dirt Cake and dig into a bowl of dirt and worms for dessert!
22.) Or maybe, just the worms! Try our recipe for Yummy Gelatin Worms. (And save it for Halloween to use again!)