April Fools’ Day ideas will amuse tykes

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April Fools' Day might not be an official holiday, but it sure is fun. Its roots go back hundreds of years.

The most popular theory is that it originated when the old Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar we use today. With this change, New Year's Day was moved from the end of March to the first of January.

People who objected to the change continued to observe the New Year with a week of celebrations that ended on April 1. These people were seen as stubbornly clinging to the past. They were ridiculed and had jokes played on them by those who accepted the new calendar. They were seen as 'April Fools' - and thus April Fools' Day was born.

The folks who enjoy this holiday most are children - but this is a great time to show them that parents and grandparents have a sense of humor, too. Turn the tables on the young ones in your life by trying a few of these good-natured pranks. It just might start a family tradition.

Pull a switch-a-roo
Get into everyone's dresser and switch the underwear around. Nothing is funnier to little ones than underpants, and they're sure to giggle when they find their little brother's briefs or their daddy's boxers in their drawer, instead of their own.

Do some watercolors
Change all the water in the house to the color of your choice. The children will be completely amazed when they discover orange water in the bathroom, ice cube trays, birdbath and water bottles.

Backward day
Serve meatloaf and mashed potatoes for breakfast - then pancakes and sausage for dinner. With the scrambled menu, the children just might clean their plates. Or, for an easier twist, just serve dessert before dinner, as a celebration of wackiness, for the night.

Creepy crawlies
Track down some plastic spiders or bugs, and plant them around the house! Hide them in coat pockets and favorite jeans, or tuck a few in a new ice cube tray. Unroll the toilet paper a bit, slip in a creepy crawly, and roll it back up for a surprise later. And with a bit of white or clear thread, you can even hang a few around a room to wake children up in the morning!

Dress 'em up
Unpack a few of a child's newborn baby clothes and use them to dress up a favorite teddy bear or other toy. This not only looks hysterical, but the children simply will not believe they were ever small enough to wear the clothes.

The hunt's on
Instead of the usual snack time, make it a treasure hunt for children as they search the house for all the hidden treats. Be warned, however, that they may want to repeat this game often.

Give them the jokes
Tuck a few of your favorite jokes in a child's lunchbox or backpack. It's a great way to help them spread some fun at school.

With these ideas, you're ready to go. Try a few of them out. Just be sure to save some for next year.