12 Wholesome April Fool's Day Pranks for Kids—and Parents, Too

On April 1—or any day your crew needs a laugh—check out this collection of pranks, props, treats, and tricks. They're wacky enough to tickle an entire family of fools. We mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.

April Fool's Day is the perfect occasion to make everyone laugh. Whether you're a family of seasoned pranksters or occasional comedians, a well-planned gag will surely score some chuckles. The key is understanding your audience and thinking outside the box (say goodbye to predictable prank calls and worn-out whoopee cushions).

An image of three girls laughing.
Getty Images.

For some high jinks inspiration, check out this compilation of April Fool's Day pranks for kids and parents. They're creative, low-effort, and guaranteed to turn you into a family of fools!

1. Cereal Shocker

Hide realistic-looking gummy worms in the bottom of your kid's cereal bowl for an "eww"-worthy breakfast prank.

April Fools Day Pranks Cereal Shocker Realistic Gummy Worms
Yunhee Kim

2. Dough...Not

An apple is healthier than a doughnut. To trick your kids into thinking they're about to have a decadent doughnut, try these simple instructions:

  1. Peel and core an apple, then cut it in half horizontally.
  2. Next, use a knife to trim the bottom, so it's curved (like a doughnut).
  3. Melt 6 ounces of candy melts.
  4. Pat the apple dry
  5. Then dip the apples top-down into the candy melts, set them on wax paper, and cover them with sprinkles.

3. Pop Goes the Carpet

Cut a piece of large-bubble bubble wrap to fit under your child's rug. Hide it before they get up (if it's a larger rug, slip a piece under where they'll step). Wait to hear giggles when the rug goes "pop!"

4. Meatloaf Surprise

Here's an unforgettable April Fool's Day prank for kids: Make meatloaf and mashed potatoes look like a decadent cake! Here's how:

  1. Divide 3 pounds of your favorite meatloaf recipe into two 8" round cake pans and bake (drain off any liquid that remains in the pan).
  2. You'll need 5 to 6 cups of smooth mashed potatoes to frost the layers.
  3. Use a pastry bag and tip to pipe on additional mashed spuds for an extra-convincing confection.
April Fools Day Pranks Meatloaf Surprise Cake Mashed Potato Frosting
Yunhee Kim

5. Good-Morning Gag

This prank only works when April Fool's Day falls on a weekend since it involves tricking your kids into thinking it's a school day. Have them wake up and get ready as usual, but make sure you're running late, and say, "We're going to miss the bus! I'll have to drive you." Instead of pulling up to school, take them to their fave breakfast spot.

6. Faux Cookie Dough Dip

This deceptively delicious recipe has the texture and flavor of homemade cookie dough, but it's actually a bean dip in disguise. Here's the recipe:

  1. In a food processor, blend 1-1/2 cups chickpeas, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter (we used a natural, unsweetened variety), 3 tablespoons oats, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and baking soda.
  2. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
  3. Serve with apple slices or other fresh fruit.

When snack time is over, tell your kids they are now full of beans.

7. Tease, Please!

For an afternoon snack, make a deceptive meat and cheese board, with cookies and candy chews standing in for the traditional savory snack in two simple steps!

  1. To make the crackers, pull apart several vanilla sandwich cookies. Leave the filling intact and scatter green sugar sprinkles on half the pieces. Scrape away any filling from the others.
  2. For the cheese, soften white and orange fruit chews (we used Tootsie Fruit Rolls) in the microwave for a few seconds, then shape them into cubes or roll the candy flat and use a knife to trim it into rectangles. Form the holes with a small cookie cutter or piping tip.
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8. Micro Meal

This prank, inspired by Gulliver's Travels, will generate big belly laughs when you present your kids with a Lilliputian lunch. Here are the instructions:

  1. Line a small empty matchbox with foil or parchment paper (so that the food can actually be eaten, if desired).
  2. With a glue stick, attach a 2- by 4-inch piece of decorative paper around the exterior.
  3. For the handle, squeeze a drop of tacky glue onto each end of a 1-inch length of pipe cleaner and adhere it to one side of the box.
  4. Finally, pack it with a teensy lunch.

Not sure what to pack? Try this fun ideas:


With a sharp knife, cut little triangles of bread, lunch meat, and lettuce, then stack them.


Frost the top of an O-shaped cereal piece and sprinkle it with nonpareils.


Slice a bit of carrot into miniature carrot sticks.


Chop a raisin into tiny pieces.

9. The Colossal Popsicle

So your kid has a huge appetite for frozen treats? Wow them with a mutant ice pop that's as big as their head! To make a simple version:

  1. Remove the top from a 46-ounce can of juice, pour out a little of the juice (so it won't overflow when it freezes), and insert a foot-long length of 1-inch wooden dowel.
  2. Place strips of masking tape across the can to hold the dowel in place, then place the can in the freezer overnight or until the juice is solid.
  3. To remove the pop, run the can under hot water to loosen it.

After the prank is played, chop up the pop and put the pieces in a blender or food processor to make delicious shaved ice (that can be served in reasonable-size portions!).

10. Trick Treats

Remove the wrappers from Tootsie Rolls and replace the candy with cut and peeled carrot pieces; for individually wrapped bubble gum use cut sections of string cheese. You can also replace round lollipops with large grapes or Brussels sprouts (use fresh treat sticks from a craft or party store).

April Fools Day Pranks Trick Treats Fake Candy with Vegetables
Yunhee Kim

11. Broken Funny Bone

What kid hasn't secretly longed to show up for school with a broken limb so they can bask in the attention and collect the loving signatures of well-wishers? This prank allows kids to cast themselves in that starring role without suffering. As a bonus, this reusable fake is a fun prop to keep around for make-believe doctor visits.

Start by gathering the supplies:

  • One knee-high white tube sock
  • Paper-towel tube
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Foam brush
  • White glue.

Then follow the instructions below.

1. Cut the toe off the sock, then make a thumb hole by cutting a half-inch slit an inch from the cut end.

2. To make a cast form, bulk up a paper-towel tube by wrapping three or four plastic bags around it. Secure them with masking tape. Cover the form in plastic wrap, then slide on the sock. Attach a length of masking tape down the sock.

3. Use the foam brush to apply a thick layer of glue all over the sock, except where the masking tape is (this unglued area will allow the cast to stretch so that the wearer can easily slip it on and off). Let the sock dry overnight. Remove the masking tape, then remove the cast from the form. Ask well-wishers to sign the cast with markers.

12. A Helmet to Crow About

For a wacky stunt on April Fools' Day, deck your family's helmets with some chicken-inspired trimmings, then get ready to hear some chuckling—and possibly some clucking—as you cruise the neighborhood.

Here's what you'll need

  • Felt
  • Tacky glue
  • Large googly eyes
  • Old socks
  • Cotton batting or other stuffing
  • Safety pins
  • Heavy-duty double-sided tape
  • Pair of gloves
  • Embroidery thread
  • Large-eyed needle.

To make, follow these instructions:

1. Cut a figure-eight shape from the felt. Glue on the googly eyes.

2. To make the nose, cut off the toe of the sock and stuff it. Using a safety pin, attach it to the felt. Adhere the felt to the back of the helmet with double-sided tape.

3. Stuff the gloves, tucking in the cuffs to hold the stuffing in place. With the double-sided tape, adhere the gloves to the top of the helmet.

4. Using the embroidery thread and needle, make a few stitches through each glove and knot the thread ends inside the helmet.

Chicken Bike Helmet
Andrew Greto
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