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Tired of always playing by the rules? April Fools' Day is one day of the year you can unleash a little mischief. Try out a few of these good-spirited pranks on your unsuspecting kids – or team up with the kids and make your partner the target. As long as everyone is laughing, a little bit of naughty can be a whole lot of fun.
Fun with food
Fill a cereal bowl half full with water and put a spoon in it, then put it in the freezer. On the morning of April 1, top off the bowl with some cereal and milk. When your loved one digs in, the bowl (and its contents) will go flying.
"Waiter, there's a fly in my juice"
Find a small plastic gross-out toy from around the house – a plastic fly or eyeball will do. Put it in an ice cube tray with water and freeze. Drop the ice cube into a glass and wait for the impending screech.
Add a few drops of food coloring to a carton of milk and place it on the table with a box of cereal. Blue milk on wheat flakes in the morning is an immediate indicator that it's April Fools' Day.
A savory tooth
Scoop some mashed potatoes onto an ice cream cone and cover it with sprinkles for a not-so-sweet trick.
The icing on the cake
Cover a rectangle shirt box with frosting so it looks like a sheet cake and decorate it for authenticity. Hand your kids a cake-cutting knife and tell them to serve themselves up a slice.
Fill up a cereal box with the unexpected: pretzels, popcorn, or packing peanuts!
Apple of my eye
Core out a hole in an apple and stuff it with a gummy worm. Put it in your child's lunchbox for a sweet surprise.
Rocks in the box
Stick a good size rock in your child's lunchbox. As she skips off to school, she'll be baffled by the rattling and thumping coming from inside.
Super fizz soda
Your unsuspecting target will think he's in for a treat when you serve up a glass of his favorite pop. Right after you pour the beverage (diet cola works best), plop in a chewy mint candy disguised in a handful of ice. The tiny pores on the candy's surface allow carbonated bubbles to form quickly and within seconds the glass will bubble over.
Bedlam at bedtime
Pull out a beloved bedtime story that your child knows by heart – like Goodnight Moon or The Runaway Bunny – and jumble all the words. Try, "Good night, asparagus. Good night, trombone." Be prepared for, "That's not right!"
Print out some photos of family members or pets and cut out their heads. Strategically tape them into your child's favorite book (i.e., tape Dad's head over Max's in Where the Wild Things Are, and tape your dog's head over Max's dog's, who is being chased with a fork). It will give the story a whole new meaning!
Take the lid off the toothpaste tube and firmly stuff a small piece of cotton in the opening until it's plugged. Then use a small pin or needle to poke 20 or more holes all over the tube. One firm squeeze of the tube, and you'll have toothpaste coming out from all directions.
In the middle of the night, gently pick up your child and place him in his sibling's bed and vice versa. They'll wake up and wonder what the heck happened!
The silent treatment
During a perfectly normal conversation, switch your voice to mute. Mouth all your words but move your lips and act like all is normal. Break the silence with a good laugh.
"The principal called…"
Three words that can instill panic. Follow up with something fun and nonsensical, like, "He says you were dancing on the cafeteria tables again."
Write a funny message or draw a funny picture on a toilet square a few squares in on the roll. When the next user unrolls, she'll be greeted with unexpected reading material.
Grab some doll clothes and stick them in the dryer. Call your target over to lend a hand with the unloading, then gasp, "Oh, no! The clothes shrunk!"
Give your child's stuffed animals new homes throughout the house. Put one of his loveys in the kitchen cabinet alongside the cereal, for instance. The more the toy blends into its new environment, the better this prank will be.
It was here just a minute ago…
Grab the camera and snap a few pictures of items around the house – like a jacket hanging on a hook, the lunchbox on the kitchen counter, the cookie jar. Then stash those items and replace them with the photo.
Pack your child's closet with inflated balloons, and wait for your little one's reaction when he opens the door.
All mixed up
Put your shirt, pants, and even a baseball cap on backward, and walk into the room acting like absolutely nothing is unusual. Ham it up by calling it backward day and walk around the house backward.
Place a dollar on the floor and stand nearby holding a scrap of cloth. When your victim bends over to pick up the cash, rip the cloth. He'll reach back to see if he ripped his pants.
Out and about
Move your partner's car out of the usual parking spot and replace it with a look-alike toy car and a note with two simple words: April Fool!
What would Mary Poppins say?
Open an umbrella and fill it with confetti and close it. When your target pops it open, she'll be showered in the surprise.
Just for Mom or Dad
While you were sleeping
If Dad is foolish enough to take a nap on April 1, he's practically begging for this prank: Spray some whipped cream in his hand and then tickle his nose with a feather.
A drawer full of drawers
Sew all of Dad's boxers or tighty whities together. Fold them neatly and place them back in his underwear drawer. The next morning he'll get more than he bargained for!
The world's easiest diet
Switch the button on the bottom of Mom or Dad's scale from pounds to kilograms. It's the nicest trick in the book!
Tried and true
The oldest joke in the book
Passing gas is always funny. Pull out the ol' whoopee cushion and put it to good use: Under the couch cushion, hidden beneath a sweater on the office chair, on the car booster seat.
Stuck like glue
Glue a few coins or colorful glass rocks to your outdoor patio or walkway. Prepare for the baffled expression that's sure to follow when the fooled try to pick them up and they don't budge.
Slip a rubber band around the sprayer on the kitchen faucet so it's stuck in the "on" position. When your victim goes to wash his hands or do the dishes, he'll get a nice little shower!
Leave them in stitches
Sew up or, even easier, use double-sided tape to close up the leg holes on your target's underwear or the end of their coat sleeves.
Short sheet the bed
Leave the fitted sheet as it is, but instead of tucking in the top sheet at the foot of the bed, tuck it in at the top. Then, from the foot of the bed, pull the sheet back up so it's folded in half. Tuck in the sides and put the rest of the covers on as usual, and put the pillow back in its regular spot. When your target crawls into bed, he'll kick and struggle to get under the sheet, and soon he'll hear your laughter and the last "April Fool!" of the night.