April Fools' Day Pranks and Ideas for School and Teachers with Classroom Activities


April Fools' Day Activities and Ideas for Upper Elementary

By now you know that I truly believe in the power of using holidays and seasons to motivate and engage students in meaningful learning activities. No matter how old students may get, they are still truly motivated by seasonal and holiday-inspired lessons and activities. I have seen this year after year in both my third grade and fifth grade classrooms.

One holiday that I KNOW students are always so excited to celebrate is April Fools' Day! And why wouldn't they? It is a day filled with fun, laughter, and silliness...all the things that every student, no matter their age, absolutely LOVES!

Whether you want to prank your students on April Fools' Day or just use it as a lesson motivator, these ideas and activities will surely bring a smile to you and your students' faces this April! Be sure to grab the free lesson, just perfect for April Fools' Day at the bottom of this post.

Make it a History Lesson

April Fools' Day Activities and Ideas for Upper Elementary

My students always love learning about the history of different holidays. April Fools' Day has such a fun and uncertain history. Historians are still debating over its true origins, making it fun to read about and deciding which of the different theories you agree with! 

Take some time on April Fools' Day to read about and watch some short videos about the history of this holiday.

Try these:

Focus on the Power of Laughter

April Fools' Day Activities and Ideas for Upper Elementary

Helping students develop strong emotional health should always be a top priority, especially in today's stressful age. Laughter is known to reduce stress and help both students and teachers feel more relaxed.

Teaching students that age-old idiom, laughter is the best medicine, can really do wonders for students' emotional well-being. Start with facts! Getting your daily dose of laughter can improve your mood and strengthen relationships, too. Doctors agree that even a small giggle can increase endorphins and improve your mood in just moments.

Humor in the classroom has many proven positive outcomes, too. It can:

  • increase perseverance of difficult tasks
  • promote outside the box thinking
  • strengthen friendships and peer relations in your classroom community
  • improve attendance and increase classroom participation

Help your students understand the value of laughter with these high-interest nonfiction articles.

Get Them Laughing with Alliteration

free aprils fools day activity for kids

I am all about using laughter in the classroom to engage students, motivate them, and build classroom relationships. In fact, we start out each and every morning with a joke of the day. But when April rolls around, we spend each morning trying to do some tongue twisters. Not just any tongue twister, but ones my students have written themselves!

Writing tongue twisters is such a fun and memorable lesson AND the bonus is that it is all focused around alliteration, a figurative language strategy that I always encourage my students to use as writers. So while it is a fun lesson, it is meaningful, too!

Grab the FREE lesson and activities that I use to teach alliteration and tongue twister writing in my classroom right here!

Poetry Read Aloud Giggles

funny poetry books to share with kids

I love sharing funny picture books all year long! But when April Fools' Day and April come along, we dive deep into poetry. The first of April is the perfect day to kick off both April Fools' Day and National Poetry Month with a whole lot of giggles from poetry books that kids love! 

Here are some of my favorites:

My favorite time to read aloud some funny poetry is right before dismissal. It is always a good thing when you can send your students home smiling and laughing!

To Prank or Not to Prank

April Fools' Day Activities and Ideas for Upper Elementary

Don't want to play a prank on your students? This activity is for you! Be the judge in your classroom courtroom while your students debate over whether or not students should be allowed to play pranks in school on April Fools' Day.

I love holding debates in my classroom. Not only do debates address multiple skills and objectives, but it allows students to put all of their opinion and persuasive writing strategies and knowledge into action within a real-world activity. Plus it helps sharpen both their listening and speaking skills! 

Want to challenge your students with this activity? Go a step further and have students argue for the side they actually disagree with. It will help them to see things from a different perspective!

Teacher Pranks You Can Easily Pull Off

April Fools' Day Activities and Ideas for Upper Elementary

Not every teacher likes April Fools' Day! You may or may not want to pull a prank on your students, but if you do, read on!

Some tricks I have played on my students in the past include:

  • The popular brown E trick
  • Loof Lirpa Bird prank
  • Swap classes with another teacher: For this, I went up and taught fourth grade, and my colleague came down and taught third grade. I loved it and so did the kids!
  • One year I took away all the students' chairs and told them they were being used for an assembly and that they had to stand all day. I gave in and gave them their chairs after a little bit because I felt so bad with all of them standing and doing work at much shorter desks! 

We polled our audience and asked readers and teachers, just like you, to share the best pranks they have pulled on their students. Below is a list of ideas that teachers have used to have a little fun with their students. Make sure you read to the end, the last one is in my future!

{Be sure to check to see if your school or district has a policy about April Fools' Day pranks BEFORE you play any prank or joke on your students!}

  • I tell students I will bring them in "ipads" and actually bring in eye pads from the first aid aisle. --Dannella Bishop
  • I once told my class that they needed to line up at the door because we were going on a surprise field trip. (Of course, no field trip was scheduled). Students began cheering, then a couple of students said wait.... I didn’t bring my lunch.... I told them we had lunch taken care of already. I looked out the door at the end of the hallway and one of our bus drivers was parked at the end of the sidewalk (she had come in for a bathroom break). I told my class our bus was waiting for us and we needed to go. When we got out to the bus I had my class wait while I got on the bus and got the driver to go along with the joke. She was all for it. My class got on the bus, the driver started the bus and pulled around the parking lot into the parking lot of the middle school next to our school and then back round to the doors we came out. I said wasn’t that the best field trip ever! The kids looked really confused and asked what we were doing back at school. That’s when I said April Fools. That class of students are now seniors in high school and I still hear about that day! - Deb Boocher
  • I did a word search that had no words one year. While they were working on another assignment I pretended like I was timing myself completing the worksheet. I was talking under my breath to get their attention so they would be curious about what I was doing. Then after I passed it out to them I told them if they found all the words faster than me I would bring them lunch from any place they requested. They worked so hard for a good four minutes before finally realizing the words weren't in there at all and that I had pulled a prank on them. They loved it and couldn't believe I got them. They were talking about this day even the next school year on April Fool's Day. It was amazing. -Michelle Haslam
  • Back in the day of February writing tests, we told the kids that the mail lost their tests and they had to redo it. Even the principal got involved. They were just devastated! We read the directions and then the “prompt”. I can’t remember exactly what it said but something along the lines of write about a time you were punked (days of the show Punked). Some caught on quickly but others...not so much! -Nichole 
  • Another audience member told us about this fun prank: Donut seeds to grow some donuts!
  • I have been known to announce pop-quizzes and hand out pretend tests/STARR tests, give spelling tests with super hard words, with the bonus word being April Fool, I have pretended to have lost my memory and forget all names for a full day before and after, spoke in a British accent pretending that nothing was wrong with me -Jill Danklefs
  • I teach 5th graders, so they love this... I buy a package of the Robin's egg candies, and put one in a baggie with a few brown pine needles. I tell my class that I have been watching a bird's nest for a couple weeks, but unfortunately one of the eggs fell out of the nest last night, so I brought it in to show them. I make a big deal of taking it out of the bag and carefully holding it cradled in my hands. I walk around and show them the egg. After they've all seen it, I talk about how I can probably try to put it back in the nest, but hmmm..actually the mother bird probably won't accept it back, oh well...and then proceed to pop the egg right in my mouth and eat it. The kids lose their minds!! -Amy Shuler

If you can't beat'em, join'em! Get in on the fun and laugh a little, well really a lot, with your students this April Fools' Day! And don't forget, when it comes to bringing laughter into the classroom, don't just wait for April 1st to roll around! Start from the first day of school and watch your classroom community grow and become a positive place for everyone to spend their day!

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April Fools Day pranks for teachers

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