20 Fun (and Harmless) April Fools’ Pranks for Kids
On April 1, everyone can get in on the fun. These easy April Fools’ pranks for kids are sure to make the whole family laugh.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Clever (and fun) April Fools’ pranks for kids
April Fools’ Day is coming up, and it’s the perfect time to lighten the mood with some harmless yet hilarious April Fools’ pranks for kids. Remember, April Fools’ Day lasts for 24 hours, so you can have a full day of pranks (and jokes) planned for your kids that will keep them guessing. But if you can dish it out, you can definitely take it too, so tread carefully—kids might just get in on the pranking game with some April Fools’ pranks to play on parents.
We prefer the jokes and japes that have everyone crying with laughter (rather than just crying), so these are all silly, memory-making high jinks that will get the whole family giggling, no matter who’s on the receiving end! For even more prank-tastic inspiration (and even more April Fools’ pranks for kids) see these funny April Fools’ pranks to pull this year and check out these numbers to prank call. Now, go forth and prank!
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Make a move while they sleep
This April Fools’ prank is perfect for kids who are heavy sleepers. Sneak in during the night and shuffle their furniture around, change out their comforter or even swap your kids from one bed to another. They’ll wake up wondering what exactly happened while they were snoozing! Also check out these April Fools’ pranks that went wrong.
Turn their milk blue
Have some Star Wars fans in your family? Tell them you got them some extra special milk direct from Tatooine! This easy April Fools’ prank for kids is perfect for those who drink milk or eat cereal every morning. Simply put a few drops of blue food coloring into your milk carton, shake it up, then pour. You get bonus points if you make Star Wars–themed labeling to glue onto your milk carton. For more laughs, check out these short jokes.
Let the Easter Bunny play jokester
April Fools’ Day isn’t far from Easter Sunday (Easter lands on April 9 this year). It’s the perfect opportunity to let your Easter Bunny get in on the fun a little early this year. If you’ve already stocked up on Easter candy, carefully unpeel the foil from some foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and reuse the wrap to cover individual grapes for a sweet (and silly) surprise.
Give them a little bathroom reading
This is one of the easy April Fools’ pranks for kids that is low effort with big laughs. Unroll your toilet paper a bit, then use a Sharpie to write a funny joke or “Happy April Fools’ Day” on the TP. Roll it back up and wait to see who uncovers your surprise.
Swap out their breakfast cereal
This is the perfect April Fools’ prank for kids who love their favorite cereal. Trick your kids into eating a healthier cereal (or surprise them with a usually off-limits sugary kind). Simply swap the bags between two cereal boxes, and see how long it takes your kids to realize they’re pouring something different into their bowl. Your favorite fast-food chains also get in on the pranking action!
Set up a balloon surprise
“Wow” them when they wake up in the morning—this is a great April Fools’ prank for kids who love fun surprises. Use painter’s tape to attach several wide pieces of plastic wrap across your child’s door, and fill the pocket it creates with inflated balloons. When your child opens their door in the morning, a huge balloon explosion will greet them.
Serve a foolish meal
Faux foods have become a delicious way to celebrate April Fools’. This is an easy April Fools’ prank for kids that will make the whole family laugh at the dinner table. Serve half a canned peach atop a flat circle of vanilla yogurt to create a fake fried egg in the morning—you can even serve that with cinnamon-sprinkled apple faux fries.
For dinner, make meatloaf and separate it into cupcake tins, then frost the “cupcakes” with mashed potatoes as a special “dessert for dinner.” And for actual dessert? Try “grilled cheese” made with slices of pound cake as the bread and gooey yellow frosting in lieu of cheese. The kids’ “juice” can be jello refrigerated in glasses, with straws embedded for an extra realistic touch. The foolish meal will surely get them laughing!
Create a crazy candy mix
This fun April Fools’ prank for kids is perfect for those who eat candy by the handful (or who wish they could). Trick them with a seemingly appetizing candy dish—but mix together Skittles, Reeses Pieces and M&Ms. That first handful of candy will definitely taste a little … ahem … unusual. Odds are, they’ll probably pick through it a little more carefully after that. While you’re at it, here are some pranks to pull based on your zodiac sign.
Let them have a crazy “growth spurt”
This easy April Fools’ prank is perfect for kids who hate to eat their vegetables. The night before April Fools’ Day, serve them a healthy dish (try broccoli or Brussels sprouts) and let them know that they’ll probably grow quite a bit as a result. Then stuff a few tissues into the toes of their shoes, and perhaps lay out a couple pieces of one-size-too-small clothing for them. The next morning, they won’t believe how giant they’ve become—and maybe you’ll be able to get them to eat broccoli more often! If you’re looking for something funny for the whole family, check out these gag gifts.
Share some “brown Es”
Cut several “Es” out of brown construction paper, put them in a 9-by-13 pan and cover it with foil. Tell your kids you made a batch of “brownies” for them, and watch as they get tricked when they open the foil. You might want to have a batch of real brownies waiting in the wings to ease any upset!
This is an easy April Fools’ prank for kids that can actually be played year-round. After your kids are asleep, set the clocks forward yet another hour—then wake them up by announcing you’re all late for a very important date! See how quickly they scramble … and how long it takes before they realize the correct time. Keep the laughs going with these April Fools’ Day memes.
“Freeze” their technology
Take a screenshot of their smartphone or computer screens, and leave the image open or turn it into their screen saver. This easy April Fools’ prank is great for kids who are addicted to their phones. Let them freak out for a few minutes as they think their screen is frozen before you come in to save the day.
Have them plant some “doughnut seeds”
You’ve probably heard of the famous April Fools’ joke regarding spaghetti trees. This one is equally fun. Make a fake label with a picture of doughnuts and glue it onto an envelope stuffed with Cheerios. Tell them you got them a package of doughnut seeds and see if they take the bait—and if they start planting them!
Swap out their snack food
Carefully open a bag of Cheetos and swap out that cheesy snack with some healthier baby carrots. Reseal and watch for the inevitable surprise. You could even play it off as a new, healthier formulation of Cheetos—or a special treat the Easter Bunny shared!
Create some “see” food
Put eyes on your food and ask the kids if they like seafood (“see” food). Glue googly eyes onto your milk cartons or pickle jars, or paste edible sugar eyes on fruit and other treats (you can use a little dab of gel frosting to adhere them). Draw silly faces on your eggs with a magic marker.
This prank is equally funny and adorable. On March 31, lay out matching outfits for your kids to wear the next day—but don’t tell them they’ll match their siblings. Watch with delight as they head to the breakfast table and realize they’re dressed just like their siblings! And get plenty of pictures, of course.
This requires some ingenuity, but it’s well worth it. Grab some bubble wrap, cut it up and put it in your kids’ shoes. The next morning, help them put their shoes on and watch as they hilariously pop with each step!
Fake cake pops
This one is sure to get the kiddos who have a soft spot for desserts (which is, well, the majority of kids). Grab some cooked Brussels sprouts and dip them in melted chocolate or candy. Then, set them up to look like delicious cake pops on the counter. Offer the kids a sweet treat—and watch as they bite right into the deceptive dessert. Similar to the brownies prank above, you may want to have some real cake pops waiting for the kids—you know, as prizes for being such good sports.
Only pull this prank if you know your children won’t freak out at the sight of bugs—and yes, that includes fake ones. Grab some fake ants and spiders and sprinkle them on your children’s pillows as they sleep. They’ll wake up totally grossed out that they slept next to some seriously creepy crawlies. Also, here are some prank videos for the perfect April Fool’s inspiration.
The classic whoopee cushion
This one’s an oldie-but-goodie. Snag some whoopee cushions, blow them up and place them under your children’s favorite spots to plop—could be at the dining room table or on the couch. Watch and laugh as those unmistakable noises fill the room!
Now, check out these hilarious text pranks to pull on your friends.
Submit your best joke here and get $25 if Reader’s Digest runs it.
Additional reporting by Kelly Kuehn.