April Fool! It doesn’t get much sillier than April Fool’s Day. But in a time of year where, at least in the center of the U.S., winter is refusing to quit, we can really use some silly family fun. And creativity, of course. Here are some places to start.
- Try some silly April tricks, even if April 1 has passed. I once chaperoned at a camp where the rule for pranks was that campers had permission for any prank they could talk an adult counselor into doing with them. This allowed the girls to have a grand silly time without allowing dangerous or unkind jokes. The same rule could apply at home. Get out the red lipstick and kiss the mirror or car windshield. Write something in soap on the bathroom mirror so it mysteriously appears when the room fills with shower steam. Color the morning milk pink. A good family rule is, “Family pranks make everyone smile.” If you concentrate on happy surprises appearing in silly ways, you’ll have more fun and have the opportunity to point out the difference between “tricks” that make people laugh and those that are hurtful.
- Read and write jokes together. Get out your favorite joke books and have some fun, then think about what makes the jokes funny. Can you do something similar? The Just Kidding website sells joke books, but it also has an online section where you can submit your own jokes, along with worksheets meant for school, but useful for home joke writing, too. Try your hand at original joke writing. Who knows, you may have a budding comic in the making.
- Some people have Backwards Day January 31, but April is another good time to have a backwards day. How many things can you do backwards in one day? Start with bedtime stories, then family game “night” before dinner—the first meal of the day. Think about wearing clothes backwards, reading a book from back to front, having backwards races, or (naturally) playing first and doing household chores later. Check out this amazing list of palindromes (words or phrases that read the same way backwards) or Marilyn Singer’s Mirror, Mirror, full of poems that tell two different versions of fairy tales, one when read from the top down, and another when lines are read from the bottom up). If you want a real challenge. Try creating one of those!
- Work together to create some tricky food for family or friends. This fauxberry pie is dinner disguised as dessert, while the spaghetti and mealballs are is dessert disguised as dinner. Once you look through the website, you’ll be inspired to invent your own food tricks.
- Be a clown! There are lots of websites to help you do basic clown makeup. Here’s one place to start. Or watch this video to help you begin to design your face. I’ll bet the jokes you wrote earlier will be even funnier with a clown face.
- And, of course, there are lots of experiments good for silly fun.
Float an egg, create invisible ink, or make a vinegar volcano. There’s a world of silly science fun, just waiting.
Have fun and laugh together. Playfulness is at the base of creativity, young or not-so-young.