Kids spend so much time at school working hard and stressing out, don't they? Well the best medicine for kid stress is a little fun! And with April Fools' Day rolling around on April 1st, it's the perfect time play a few harmless pranks on your students to lighten things up.
Favorite, classroom-tested April Fools Day ideas for school
In this blog post, I'll share some ideas for silly tricks and April Fools' Day jokes that will get your kids laughing (any maybe rolling their eyes at you too).
April Fool's Day Brown-E Treat
This one has been around awhile, but it's still one of my favorite practical jokes! You will need to do a little advance preparation, but it's so worth it. For this activity, you will need:
a baking pan
a piece of tin foil
brown construction paper
brownies (1 for each student)
First, cut a bunch of letter E shapes out of the brown paper. Place them in the baking pan and cover it with the piece of foil. When students arrive the next morning, tell them that you have a special surprise - but only if they're on their best behavior ALL DAY. They will be begging to know what it is. Bring out the pan and let them guess what's inside.
Someone is bound to say BROWNIES. That's your cue to say - Yes! Everyone will get a brownie today!
At the end of the school day, pass out the paper plates. Your students will be so excited for their special treat! Start making your way around the room with the baking pan. Place one Brown E on each student's plate.
It won't take very long for the groans and complaints to start. Try to keep a straight face and continue passing them out. I always try to feign innocence by saying, "What's the problem? Didn't I say we were having Brown Es today?"
But of course, it's just a joke. Don't let the kids get too upset before you bring out the actual brownies and give them all their special treat!
April Word Search
This is an easy, no prep prank that's best for older students. Younger students will just get frustrated, so I suggest this one for grades 3 and up.
Basically it's a fake word search because none of the words in the word bank are actually in the puzzle. This is a great activity to use as morning work on the first of April.
Luckily you don't have to make this yourself. Click the image to download a free copy of mine. Just print and use!
Foolish Word Problems
This activity can be used with any grade level - regardless of what math skills they are learning. All you have to do is look in your math curriculum for a few word problems. Retype them, leaving out all of the numbers.
During your math time, pass out the worksheets and tell your students to get to work. This funny prank will immediately have them looking around to see if anyone else is as confused as they are. After a few minutes, tell them time is up and begin calling on students to share their answers.
Note: This only works if you have never used numberless word problems (an actual math teaching tool) with your class.
April Fools Donut Garden
Spring time is often when students learn about plant life during science. It's also the perfect opportunity to try this super fun April Fools' day joke for the elementary classroom! Here's what you'll need:
zip-loc sandwich bags (1 for each student)
Cheerios or other O-shaped cereal (Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks will work)
Tell students they're going to plant a garden today to study how seeds grow into plants. Go ahead and make it a science lesson by discussing what plants need. Talk about how farmers plant seeds to grow the crops that we eat. Make a list of all the foods that come from the earth.
Then tell students that you're going to give them each a pack of seeds to grow their own food (They will be very excited!) and pass out the seed packets you have prepared. If you want to make it extra special, bring it a package of mini donuts to share with them too!
Grab a free printable copy of my donut seeds bag topper below:
April Fool's Day Pop Quiz
I have such fond memories of playing this silly trick on my class! It's uniquely funny every single year and one of the best pranks around. This one works best in grades 3 and up (students must be able to read independently) and is even enjoyed by older kids. Here is how it works:
When your class arrives in the morning, tell them they are having a pop quiz and that you're testing them on how well they can read and understand sentences. In truth, it's a hilarious way to remind student to always read the directions carefully first!
First, print out a class set of the quiz which you can download here: April Fool's Prank Following Directions Quiz
Pass them out to your students and tell them to get started.
Remind the class that it is a test, so there's no helping each other.
Set a timer and tell them they have 10 minutes to complete the test.
After a few minutes, you will see kids starting to do the completely silly things listed on the paper and it's so much fun! If your students actually read and follow the directions at the top of the page, they will sit at their desk quietly and pretend to be working. But most students, in my experience, don't really pay attention to the instructions on a piece of paper and will set straight to work.
After your timer goes off signaling the end of 10 minutes, stop everyone and let them know the whole thing was a fun prank. They will get a good laugh and a reminder to ALWAYS READ THE DIRECTIONS!
I hope you have enjoyed this list of April Fools day ideas for school and get a chance to try out one or two of them in your classroom! While there isn't a lot of time in the school day to stray from core instruction, it's a good idea to sprinkle in a fun activity once in awhile.
For more April Fool's Day fun, I highly recommend some of the videos and activities on Wonderopolis! They are a great way for kids to learn something new and interesting. Here are a few that are perfect for April Fool's Day:
How Did April Fool's Day Begin? (the history of April Fools for kids)
What is Fool's Gold?
Does Laughing Help You Live Longer?
You might also want to check out these spring-themed resources in my shop: