There are plenty of holidays that involve showering your child with happy surprises (Christmas presents, birthday cakes, Easter presents) but only one that allows you to play a dirty trick on your kid. That’s right, we’re talking about April Fool’s Day. You might be nervous to prank a kid—after all pranks can be mean and kids can be sensitive, but fear not, friends: All the options in our roundup of 20 April Fool’s Day pranks for kids are completely harmless and guaranteed to get a laugh. Enjoy.
20 April Fools Pranks for Kids
1. Bathroom Sink Surprise
Thankfully the mischief here is sillier than mean (i.e., a different kind of waterworks). This prank is also particularly easy to execute: Just discreetly place a small square of tape—scotch tape will do the trick, but duct tape is even better—to the underside of the faucet for an unexpected sprinkler effect.
2. The ‘let ‘em Eat Brownies’ Prank
“Hey kids, I made brownies!” is music to the ears of youth everywhere...until they sit down, eagerly awaiting their sugar fix and discover that you’ve served up something a bit too, er, literal for their taste. Yep, simply cut out a couple capital letter “E’s” from brown construction paper and your brilliant prank is ready to be plated—get it? Brown E’s!
4. Cold Breakfast
April Fool’s pranks are a dish that’s best served ice cold...literally. Prepare your kid’s breakfast cereal 12 hours in advance so you can stick it in the freezer (spoon and all) and surprise him with a lovely looking, but totally inedible block of ice in the morning. Pro tip: Have scrambled eggs on standby in case your child wakes up hangry and the joke is on you.
5. Short Sheets
Ahh, the old summer camp classic. Indeed, the short sheet maneuver is tried and true; it’s also fairly easy to accomplish with just five minutes of sneaky folding any time before ‘lights out.’ Make the bed with the top sheet as you normally would, except this time, instead of the tucking the top sheet at the foot of the bed, fold it back toward the headboard, essentially making a little sleep sack, or the “short sheet.” This one will work best for slightly older kids—‘cause let’s be honest, April Fool’s really isn’t worth throwing a wrench in your toddlers delicate bedtime routine.
6. Shoe Crisis (aka Retribution Treasure Hunt)
Is it just us, or is it incredibly hard to get kids to put their godforsaken shoes on? (Sorry.) Good news: April Fool’s is a holiday that allows parents to find genuine delight in that oh-so familiar struggle. Hide one shoe of every pair in a secret location and stand back as your kids work hard to get out the door (for a change).
7. Bugging Out
The age and temperament of your child will absolutely dictate how well this prank goes over—but with that in mind, you might consider putting a creepy-crawly prop on their pillow or by their bedside. (Think, plastic spider trinket.) Note: Parents—particularly bug-fearing ones—should not try this at home unless they can take what they dish out. Just sayin’.
8. Juice Jest
Your kid sure does love an ice-cold, soft beverage—fruit punch, orange juice, apple juice, any juice...Now imagine your kid’s surprise when they discover something amiss with their favorite drink. Replace fruit punch with a cup full of Jell-O, or refill an empty container of OJ with plain water and food coloring: There are many different ways to pull off this prank and it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
9. Snack Swap
There’s a good chance that the Easter candy season is in full swing by the time April Fool’s Day rolls around. What does that mean to you? For starters, it’s an excuse to gorge yourself on Cadbury Creme Eggs. That’s right, friends: Go ahead and indulge in any tinfoil wrapped candy you choose—just don’t destroy the evidence. Instead, use those empty wrappers to conceal grapes for the ultimate bait and switch. (But maybe set one piece of chocolate aside for your crestfallen kid.)
10. Screen Time Interference
So your kid has a bit of a Netflix habit (same). No big deal—just cover the sensor on the remote with a strip of clear tape for an easy April Fool’s prank that is unlikely to go unnoticed. Plus, being in control of screen time is a win no matter how you manage it, right?
12. Googly Eye Goof
Serve your child food that stares back by putting googly eyes on each piece of fruit or snack on their plate (you can stick it on with frosting instead of glue); Or just put googly eyes on a bunch of random things in your fridge and see how long it takes your kid to notice.
13. Cereal Switcheroo
If you have a two-cereal household, start April Fool’s day off on the right food with an easy breakfast prank. Before your child wakes up, switch the two bags of cereal so your kid ends up with a bowlful or Raisin Bran even though they reached for Lucky Charms.
Find a picture of a friend or family member and use photoshop to make it look like the person is levitating. Pull the doctored photo up on your phone and feign amazement as you show your kid: “Look! Dad learned how to float!” This one is especially effective on younger kids (but don’t expect your tween to fall for it).
15. Pizza Mishap
This prank is sure to be as frustrating for the hungry as short sheeting is for the fatigued—and all you need to do is seal an empty pizza box shut with some super glue. Set pizza prop out on the table and tell your child you ordered pizza for dinner and that they can help themselves. Now sit back and watch as your perplexed kid struggles to gain access to their dinner. (Bonus points if you actually do order pizza and eat a slice of the real thing while you watch.)
16. Midnight Furniture Shuffle
This one requires a little bit of space and will only work if your kids are heavy sleepers. Sneak into their room while they’re asleep and shuffle their furniture around as discreetly as possible. You can move their computer desk to the opposite side of the room, place their backpack in their bed, rearrange their bookshelf and if they have a sibling, you can even swap their beds. Be ready at to giggle at the look of sheer confusion when they wake up the next morning. (Just make sure you don’t put something where someone can trip on it!)
17. Bedtime Mishap
You’ll need to do some pre-planning to pull this off, but trust us, it’ll be well-worth it. First, get a bed pad to waterproof their mattress. Then after your kid goes to sleep, sneak in and pour some water into their blankets. They’ll momentarily be horrified as they think they’ve wet the bed, but the sweet sigh of relief after they find out your little prank will be exhilarating.
18. Faux Chocolate
A couple of years ago, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o pulled this prank on her Eclipsed co-stars, and we think it’s a goldmine. Dip some small onions in chocolate, making sure to thoroughly coat them. Then, offer them to your kid as homemade chocolate-covered strawberries or truffles. If they have a sweet tooth, odds are, they’re going to take a full bite and the hilarity will ensue…for you at least.
19. Poop Prank
The best pranks are the ones that can work on kids of all ages and this TikTok favorite gets the job done. Dip your fingers in Nutella or peanut butter, head to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and call for your kid to bring you some toilet paper. As they hand you the new roll, “accidentally” smear the chocolate on their hands and begin profusely apologizing. If the TikTok vids are any indication, there will be some serious water works that will follow soon after, so prepare to do some damage control.
20. False Alarm
Your school-aged kid is probably used to you waking them up softly and crawling out of bed, so this will definitely take them by surprise. Instead of coaxing them out of bed per usual, bust into their room screaming and pretending you overslept and they’re going to be late. Watch them scramble and fumble for their belongings before you confess. (If they have an alarm clock, you can escalate this prank by pushing the time forward too.)