Pranks for kids: pull my finger doesn't count...
March 30, 2010 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Innocuous April Fool's pranks for a young kid (5) to play, and to be played on him?

My five-year-old son is excited about April Fool's Day this year (Thanks, Caillou) and I'm trying to figure out some fun but basically gentle/not too gross pranks, both ones that he can pull on Mommie and I as well as ones we can play on him. I won't really have time to lay in any special supplies like fake whatever or dribble glasses so they have to use common home supplies if any. I understand that by teaching my child a prank I am in essence agreeing to go through the motions of the trick one thousand times. So, got any good tricks for kids?

(I did look over all the April Fools questions I could find but didn't see anything that quite applied).
posted by nanojath to Grab Bag (38 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Call him Tim and insist that's been his name all along.
posted by advicepig at 4:29 PM on March 30, 2010 [22 favorites]


Have him make an April Fools Day card for his mom, but glue the card shut. On the front, some sweet little message like "Dear Mommy, I love you and I just wanted to say....", mommy tries to open card and can't, mommy then turns to the back of the card and it says, "Happy April Fool's Day!".
posted by greta simone at 4:30 PM on March 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


The ol' rubber band depressing the lever on the sink sprayer nozzle thing basically got me through college. Can he reach the kitchen sink at 5?
posted by Think_Long at 4:33 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you use paper cups, put a pin hole on the bottom of one.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:45 PM on March 30, 2010


Wake him up in the morning and say that there is a deer/unicorn/dragon in the front yard.

Be ready to chuckle when he runs excitedly to the window.
posted by davey_darling at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Scotch tape over the faucet (to make water spray outward) is similar to Think_Long's suggestion and perhaps a bit more common. I know for a fact that it has worked on moms before.
posted by circular at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


just don't do what my dad did (he thought it was funny) and insist that you're not his real father at all and that he's just on loan.
posted by luriete at 4:50 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The best April Fool's prank ever pulled in my family was the year that my sister waited for my mom to get in the shower, and then set all of the clocks in the house ahead 15 minutes. Mom gets out of the shower, glances at the time, and then promptly freaks the fuck out, rushing everyone out the door and to the car in a vain attempt to make sure that we're not unforgivably late to school/work. Something similar might work in your household.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:59 PM on March 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Like luriete said, don't make him question his identity. Even calling him Tim might be a bit too much. Why don't you turn it around, and let him call his mother by his kindergarten sweethearts name?
And do give him an empty eggshell!
posted by Psychnic at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Teach him how to short sheet a bed.
posted by labwench at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Put food coloring in the milk, if you have it in a non-see-through container.
posted by GaelFC at 5:07 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know you said you don't have time for special supplies but oh my god do kids love whoopee cushions.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:17 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


If the door to his bedroom opens in, during the night close the door and tape newspaper over the doorframe. When he opens the door in the morning, all he'll see is newspaper. Or he could do this to his mom, either to your bedroom or to the bathroom while she's in the shower. Hmmm. I think I know what I'm doing to my kids this year...
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:27 PM on March 30, 2010


Something that worked not once, but twice in my family: have the child pass along to the parent-cum-prank-victim an important message from a "Mr. Baer" (or "Bayer"). Mr. Baer (or Bayer) must be called at once, but he will need to be paged. The number to pass along? An administrative or other suitably "inside" line at the local zoo.

Repeat the next year with "Mr. Lyon."
posted by MimeticHaHa at 5:30 PM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


When I was about that age, I had a stuffed dinosaur that made a screeching noise when you squeezed. I hid it under my mom's pillow and it scared the crap out of her when she went to bed.
Also, you can look online for recipes for dinners that look like desserts. Stuff like mashed potatoes in an ice cream bowl or a meat pie.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:12 PM on March 30, 2010


When I was maybe 9 years old, or possibly a lot younger, one morning my father told me and my younger brother that we were going to meet our Aunt Anna that afternoon. This led to a lot of questions about this Aunt, who I'd never heard of before: whose sister was she? Had she married one of my uncles? Why hadn't I ever met her before? Why was she coming over?

To all of these, my father just told us to wait until we met her. He said he knew we'd like her.

That afternoon, it was finally time to meet her. My father said she was just outside, and it was time to go see Aunt Anna.

I asked why we were going out the back door, onto the deck; he said just to come out and we'd see (I think he was getting a little impatient with our thousand questions by that time.

We got outside, he pointed up to the chimney. That's where the TV antenna was mounted.

It still took a few minutes for us to figure out the joke. But when we did, it was pretty funny. And, obviously, I still remember it.
posted by amtho at 6:16 PM on March 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


Cut a simple paw print stencil out of paper then sprinkle talc (or flour) over the stencil to make a series of paw prints across the floor. Tell him the Easter bunny got mixed up and came to the house early.
posted by rags at 6:28 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


A great prank for a kid is to take a empty dishwashing liquid bottle --Joy, Dawn, something like that-- clean and dry it, then thread a piece of white string through the squirt cap, knotting both ends with a small square knot after threading. Screw the cap back on and tuck the string all the way into the bottle until the knot stops it. Squirt it at the kid once, the string really does look like soap shooting in your face if you don't know, then let them play with it the rest of the day. Pretty harmless, except for having to endure being 'tricked' repeatedly.

From cub scouts, 1965 or something....
posted by umberto at 6:36 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I was little my favorite prank was to separate some oreos, scrape the frosting out and replace it with toothpaste, then put the top back on and try to make everyone take a bite.
posted by elysenavidad at 7:27 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Last year, I had my then-5-year-old daughter completely convinced she was going to Chore Camp. Everyone was in on it - my mom even mentioned it on the phone that day. If your child is sensitive about being away from home, it might not be kind, but you could talk about it like a day camp. By the time my daughter figured it out, she couldn't stop laughing.

That Family Fun site has some family friendly April Fools pranks you might want to check out. I know, it's Disney, but it's useful, and there's not an animated mouse in sight.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 7:38 PM on March 30, 2010


Gluing quarters to the sidewalk with krazy glue never gets old.
posted by benzenedream at 7:40 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


My brothers, mom and I put marbles in my dad's medicine cabinet when we were kids. My mom took care of the actual getting the marbles in the cabinet part- I seem to remember a sock being involved- but I still remember us all eagerly lying in wait for my dad to groggily open the cabinet door on April 1st.
posted by MadamM at 7:42 PM on March 30, 2010


I blocked my parents bedroom door with books one year. I was waiting when they woke up and took a very amused/grumpy picture of my father that I still have.
posted by mearls at 7:58 PM on March 30, 2010


Wake him up in the morning and say that there is a deer/unicorn/dragon in the front yard.

Don't do this. It will teach him not to trust you and that lying is ok. I remember when I was a kid, it slowly dawned on me that the kids that lied to their parents were the same ones whose parents lied to them.

Good pranks aren't based on lies. They are based on other people's innate expectations. the books blocking the door, april fools day card, short sheeting a bed and marbles in the medicine cabinet are all good examples.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 8:10 PM on March 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


This question is so good it's been asked before - so, some more ideas there: what are some April Fool's pranks that are okay for a 5 year old?
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 PM on March 30, 2010


Good pranks aren't based on lies.

But that's the whole point of April Fools' Day! It's not about random funny pranks, but embarrassing the gullible (which more often than not involves a lie).
posted by bingoes at 9:12 PM on March 30, 2010



Something that worked not once, but twice in my family: have the child pass along to the parent-cum-prank-victim an important message from a "Mr. Baer" (or "Bayer"). Mr. Baer (or Bayer) must be called at once, but he will need to be paged. The number to pass along? An administrative or other suitably "inside" line at the local zoo.

Repeat the next year with "Mr. Lyon."


Oh my god, please don't do this. I work at a zoo and every year we get literally thousands of prank calls on April first--Mr. Baer, Mr. Lyon, Ana Conda, Sally Mander, Jim Panzee, Don Key, etc--and it's really genuinely horrible for the person answering the phone.

Please please please don't do this.


As for an actual prank suggestion, what about sugar-free Kool-Aid in the shower head? Never tried that but always wanted to.
posted by Neofelis at 9:15 PM on March 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


Help him unscrew the shower head and insert a piece of chicken bullion. The next person to take a shower will smell like chicken soup. It's kind of mean.
posted by samsaunt at 9:40 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


something that drives people nuts is replacing their toothpaste with a different toothpaste. You have to squeeze all their toothpaste out and then replace it so the toothpaste tube looks the same, but has completely different toothpaste. It's incredibly surreal. You do it by cutting off part of the bottom of the tube then when you're done, supergluing it so that it looks relatively normal to the sleepy victim.

It really freaked my ex out because he couldn't figure out what was different, but it was. To make it more chill for a 5-year-old you could always replace the toothpaste with frosting. That sounds delicious!

Another variation of this is blocking off the top of the tube and cutting a hole in another place in the tube. When they squeeze it toothpaste comes out of the wrong place. I don't remember how my ex pulled it off, though, sorry. It's really cute, though, and easy to clean up. From then on you just have to get the toothpaste through the new hole. :)

You can also put clear tape or glue into the tops of shampoo bottles to block the little opening so the shampoo can't get past it. So they can't get shampoo in the morning! Well, they can, they just have to unscrew the top.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:22 PM on March 30, 2010


Ever since The corpse in the library suggested "newspaper over the doorframe" I've been working out details of a modification I just have to try April 1.

For the newspaper sheet that will be taped at head level:
- cut a horizontal slot about a foot wide in the middle; then cut down an inch at either end
- put a piece of green painter's tape on the bottom edge of the slot
- tape a sign below the slot, saying "Hallway Being Fixed - Pull Green Handle to Open Temporary Door"
- tape this lot to the door
- tape a second, slightly smaller sheet on the back of it, bulging out, so that it can hold several handfuls of something
- fill the bulge with popped, unbuttered popcorn / ping pong balls
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:15 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Box of confetti on top of the door is always fun.
posted by electroboy at 6:42 AM on March 31, 2010


My aunt loved serving "looks like" foods to her boys -- a peach half on cottage cheese that looked like a fried egg, or a mashed potato sundae.

Please don't make your son go to school dressed like a girl. (My mother is a very, very special lady...) I think I was more embarrassed than he was.
posted by Madamina at 7:12 AM on March 31, 2010


An new classic: Encase something of Mom's in jello. If it's something clean, like her favorite mug (or the only clean mug, or something else required for the morning coffee), then everyone can enjoy some jello later.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2010


I was older than 5, but ... my dad once got a printout of the previous night's winning lottery ticket, handed it to me, told me it was an actual ticket, and had me listen to the radio for the winning number. Cruel, but funny.
posted by troywestfield at 10:14 AM on March 31, 2010


I'd like to hear what the OP wound up doing.

Postscript to what I'd suggested earler: It sort of worked; one suspected something and pulled the handle anyway, one suspected something and made their own door at the bottom (clever monkeys.) Guess this is best for the under-8 set.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:14 AM on April 1, 2010


I carefully refilled all of our horribly sweet kids cereal boxes with fine healthy Quaker Oatmeal last night. There was a lot of hasty rustling and muffled panic coming from the kitchen this morning.
posted by benzenedream at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2010


Thanks all, I'll give a follow up soon.
posted by nanojath at 11:37 AM on April 1, 2010


We ended up doing a couple of things - I took Psychnic's suggestion and got to show him how to blow out the contents of an egg, which got tossed at mom after work. The egg angle also reminded me of the old "rattle snake eggs" gag, so I made one and played it on him with very gratifying results, and then of course he had to play it on everyone (including me, several times) all day. I wish I'd had Mom's reaction to that one on camera, despite knowing it was some sort of prank it really caught her off guard (but she had a good laugh about it). I'm looking forward to having some more prep time next year and maybe trying out some of the "lookalike" foods. Thanks again.
posted by nanojath at 8:48 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


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