Joke Theme Day/ April Fools’ Day
Having a day for humour and jokes is the perfect way to brighten up a dreary weekend due to rain or snow. This would also work for April Fool’s Day.
I’ve never been a big fan of April Fool’s Day. My mother used to trick me every year with the same trick: “Quick, girls! Look out the window…there’s a rabbit in our yard!” Every year, she’d get me and my sister. As harmless as that joke was, it was my little sister’s prank that really made me wary of April Fool’s…she woke me up one First of April morning to offer me a glass of apple juice (how sweet) that was really pickle juice (how horrid!). Long story short, I’ve never really honoured the April Fools tradition with my children. However, my kids love jokes and riddles so I thought we’d have some fun with that for this Theme Day!
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
You may want to also use this Theme Day as an opportunity to talk about kindness. Explain that jokes are funny when they bring joy and laughter to everyone but they aren’t nice when they are hurtful and at the expense of others.
For some history about April Fool’s Day check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_fools_day
For some songs that capture the spirit of joking try some parodies.
Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat It” is a favourite with my boys. Check here for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJjMnHoIBI (I showed them Michael Jackson’s Beat It first so that they would understand what a parody exactly is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRdxUFDoQe0)
For instructions on how to get kids to write a Silly Song Parody of their own check here: http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-silly-song-parody/
Nursery Rhymes in and of themselves are often very silly and fun so you could always read some old favourites for this Theme Day.
Also, there are some delightful and silly poems by such authors as Shel Silverstein and Dennis Lee (check below under Books for examples).
More funny rhymes for kids can be found in children’s limericks (check below under Books for some suggestions). For some examples online check here: http://grahamlester.webs.com/kids.htm or here: http://www.brownielocks.com/kidlimericks.html
Note: For instructions on how kids can write their own limericks check here: http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/
NOTE: If your kids don’t want to write their own limericks perhaps they will want to illustrate some like my boys did.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “April Fool’s Coloring Page” or print out my Make Someone Laugh Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Aspiring poets or little comedians may enjoy the challenge of writing their own silly poem, either a parody or a limerick or their own creation. Let their imaginations go wild!!
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What is your favourite joke? Have you ever made up your own joke/ What was it? Can you think of a favourite knock know joke? Can you make up your own joke?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a silly story or poem (parody, limerick or otherwise).
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any joke books.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about April Fools’ Day or joke and riddle books.
Go to the library on your own to find joke books from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search for “April Fools’ Day” or “Jokes and riddles” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
For some silly poem books try these titles:
· A Light in the Attic, poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, HarperCollins Publishers, 1981 – This is a classic collection of silly poems of which I never tire of reading. For Shel Silverstein’s first poetry book try Don’t Bump the Glump!
· Because I Could Not Stop My Bike and other poems, by Karen Jo Shapiro and illustrated by Matt Faulkner, Charlesbridge Whispering Coyote, 2003—This is a great book to further show kids what parodies are as it is full of funny versions of celebrated poems .
· Bubblegum Delicious, by Dennis Less and illustrated by David McPhail, Key Porter Books, 2000 – a fun book of Dennis Lee’s children’s poems. For another classic Dennis Lee book try Alligator Pie!
· Lots of Limericks, selected by Cohn Livingston, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1991 – This is a large collection of limericks.
· There Once Was a Very Odd School, by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Tamara Petrosino, Dutton Children’s Books, 2004 – This is a book of school related limericks that isn’t too long.
· Twimericks: The Book of Tongue-Twisting Limericks, written and illustrated by Lou Brooks, Workman Books, 2009 – For a fun twist on limericks try this book! They are a challenge to read aloud because they are also tongue-twisters!
Try to find some of these titles for a few fun joke books:
· April Fool’s Day Jokes to Tickle Your Funny Bone, by Amellia LaRoche, Enslow Elementary, 201 3—A book full of jokes and fun facts.
· Ha! Ha! Ha! And Much More: The Ultimate Round-up of Jokes, Riddles, facts, & Puzzles, written by Lyn Thomas and illustrated by Dianne Eastman, Maple Tree Press, 2008 – This is a big book with lots of riddles and jokes plus interesting facts about animals, the body, weather etc.
· Just Joking: 300 hilarious jokes, tricky tongue twisters, and ridiculous riddles, National Geogrpahic Society, 2012—This book is full of fun!
· Kids Kookiest Riddles, by Steve Charney and illustrated by Rob Collinet, Sterling,2005 – A good selection of jokes for kids to read.
· Recess Riddles, by Marilyn Helmer and illustrated by Jane Kurisu, Kids Can Press, 2004 – This joke book is a level 3 Read Alone book, great for beginner readers.
For some picture books about April Fools’ Day search for these books:
· April Foolishness, by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Albert Whitman and Company,2004 – When the grandkids visit the farm they try to fool Grandpa…are they successful?
· April Fool, Phyllis!, by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, Holiday House, 2011—Punxsutawney Phyllis tries to warn everyone that a blizzard is on it’s way so they will cancel the treasure Hunt but no one believes her because it’s April Fools’ Day!
· Barnyard Fun, by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Paul Ràtz de Tagyos, Amazon Children’s Publishing, 2013 – What will horse do when Sheep goes a bit overboard in his April Fool’s jokes.
For some non-fiction books about April Fools’ Day try these:
· April Fool’s Day, by Melissa Schiller, Children’s Press, 2003 – This is a small book with large easy to read text perfect for beginner readers but still had some interesting facts that I didn’t even know.
FUNNY FACES MAGAZINE COLLAGE:
Materials: Old magazines that can be cut up, child safe scissors, coloured paper or plain paper, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Together with your child look through old magazines and cut out eyes, ears, lips, noses, hair, etc.. Sort these into piles. (You could also be searching for animals for the craft below).
Step 2: Now the fun and creativity can begin. Have your child create his/her own funny face by gluing various body parts to the paper.
GOOGLY EYED ANIMALS:
Materials: Old magazines that can be cut up, child safe scissors, coloured paper or plain paper, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers, markers or crayons (Optional), white glue, googly eyes.
Step 1: Together with your child look through old magazines and cut out photographs of animals.
Step 2: Have your child glue the animal pictures to paper to create a scene. Encourage creativity. Perhaps the animals could be doing something silly like driving a car, or having a party.
Step 3: (Optional) Have your child add any embellishments with markers or crayons.
Step 4: Have your child use white glue to attach googly eyes to the animal pictures.
KNOCK KNOCK DOOR CRAFT:
Materials: Coloured paper, child safe scissors, glue stick, pencil, markers
NOTE: Ask your child what his/her favourite knock knock jokes are and have him/her write them down to remember them. Likewise, if your child cannot think of any jokes read through some joke books form the library to find some or check out this website: http://www.ahajokes.com/knock_knock_jokes.html
Step 1: Have your child choose one colour of paper for the doors and one colour for the background.
Step 2: Help your child draw doors of various sizes making sure there are two of each size.
Step 3: Help your child cut out the doors leaving a tab to fold over and glue to the paper.
Step 4: Fold the tabs over and glue them to a sheet of paper making sure to overlap two “doors” so that when you open one door another appears.
Step 5: On the first set of doors have your child write “KNOCK KNOCK Who’s there?” and draw a door handle.
Step 6: Bed the door open and on the backside from the words or name like “Nobel” and then on the front of the next door (the one that was under the first) have your child write “Nobel who?” or whatever (to go with the joke).
Step 7: Open that second door and now have your child write the final answer: “Nobel here, that’s why I knocked!”
SNAKE IN A CAN CRAFT:
Materials: Empty and cleaned small yogurt pot, coloured paper, glue stick, tape, coloured paper, child safe scissors.
Step 1: Have your child decide on the colour for the snake and cut for long strips out of coloured paper. Glue two strips together and another two to form two longer strips.
Step 2: Glue these two strips to make a large “L” shape.
Step 3: Have your child fold one strip over on top of the other and then the other end of the “L” over that one in a back and forth pattern to create an accordion of paper.
Step 4: Have your child decide what colour to make the yogurt pot and cut out some paper to wrap around it. Then glue the paper to the yogurt container and tape it to keep the paper wrapped around it. NOTE: My eldest wanted to keep the container as is and kept the top (cleaned) to glue back on top to trick his father.
Step 5: Have your child draw two eyes on one end of the accordion (or glue googly eyes) and then cut out a little red tongue and glue that on as well.
Step 6: Put a blob of glue inside the yogurt pot and stick the snake inside with the head end facing up.
Step 7: Cut out a paper top to glue one edge to the yogurt pot and have the snake stick its head out or glue the lid shut (as my son did by using the original top) so that you surprise someone who opens it!
Materials: drinking straws, child safe scissors, an empty jar, yellow paper, black marker, a cup to trace for a perfect circle, pencil, tape.
Step 1: Trace around a cup to create many circles on a sheet of yellow paper and then have your child cut them out.
Step 2: Have your child draw happy faces on the circles.
Step 3: Tape the happy faces to drinking straws to create a bouquet of happiness. You may want to trim some straws to get different heights or tape some to bendy straws to bend out of the jar a bit.
Step 4: Display or give as a gift to brighten someone’s day!
Fake Fried Egg: Add a dollop of yogurt to a plate and an apricot half from a can to create a faux fried egg.
Cherry Soup: I wanted to create a surprise lunch by making more of a dessert soup and stumbled across a cherry soup recipe which I adapted by using frozen cherries and lemon rind instead of the more complicated cherry seeds. It is basically a chilled yogurt soup with mixed stewed and blended cherries in it. I can no longer find the recipe I used online as the link no longer works. There are many cherry soup recipes you might want to try.
Faux Fries: I found the recipe for this funny lunch idea here: http://spoonful.com/recipes/faux-french-fries I used some refrigerated pizza dough for my faux fries.
My boys were greatly amused by the Shepherd’s Pie that looked like a berry pie. The mashed potatoes were tinted pink by blending in canned beets. I will admit I never told them there were beets in the dinner and they never did ask why the potatoes were pink. I found the recipe here: http://spoonful.com/recipes/fauxberry-pie
The poundcake grilled cheese look-a-like I made for dessert was a big hit with my boys simply due to its look. I was pretty impressed with how the pound cake actually looked like toast once it went under the broiler of my oven for a few minutes (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). I found the original recipe here: http://spoonful.com/recipes/grilled-cheese-april-fools-day It was pretty late at night and dark by the time we ate this and I couldn’t get my camera to work with the lighting at hand so it’s not the best photo. You can check it out on Facebook in our More Goodies Album.
For more information about April Fool’s Day around the world check here: http://holidays.mrdonn.org/aprilfools.html
For some animal jokes check out this page: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/activities/justjoking/
For more Jokes and riddles check here: http://www.funology.com/jokes-and-riddles/
A special thanks to “Courtney’s Kids from Colorado” for recommended this link to “Brain Games & Riddles to Play in the Car”: https://www.titlemax.com/resources/brain-games-riddles-to-play-in-the-car/
After your family has read some joke books why not illustrate some of your favourites. To see some of the jokes my sons illustrated check out our More Crafts and Activities Album on Facebook.
Match the Joke with the Picture Game:
As you read joke books together write down your favourite jokes. Fold a piece of paper in half and then cut the paper in two. Fold that piece of paper in half again and on one side write the joke, on the other draw a picture to illustrate the joke. Cut the paper in two to create a match. Make as many as you can and then turn this into a game by trying to match the jokes with the pictures. You could make this a memory game for something a little more challenging.
I’m not one for pranks but you may want to try one of these harmless prank ideas on the morning of April Fool’s Day for to start your Joke Theme Day:
Blue (or any other colour) Milk: Tint your jug of milk with food colouring and surprise your kids when they pour some milk onto their cereal. Or change it up by adding a couple of drops of food colouring at the bottom of the cereal bowl, then top with dried cereal. When the white milk is added and your child mixes the spoon in to eat…the milk changes colour: http://spoonful.com/recipes/magic-milk-bowl
Upside Down Room: Flip furniture, picture frames, and toys upside down the night before.
Googly Eyed Foods: I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was cute…just add those craft store googly eyes to jars and containers of food in your fridge!
Gag Packed Lunch: I like these ideas from Spoonful.com – sticking a gummy worm in an apple, taking a chip bag and filling it with carrots and using tape to seal the re-sealable plastic bag. For instructions check here: http://spoonful.com/recipes/gag-lunch
Gelled Juice: Jell-O in a glass with a spoon makes for a funny trick of a drink that is undrinkable: http://spoonful.com/recipes/gelled-juice
What show or movie makes your child laugh? Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library beforehand) to find your child’s favourite comedy movies or cartoons. Make some popcorn, cuddle up and laugh as you watch a funny show!
“A good time to laugh is any time you can.”
- Linda Ellerbee
Jester Colouring Page
Funny Faces Craft
Googly Eyed Animal Art
KNOCK KNOCK Doors
Snake in a Yogurt Pot!
Fooled You Foods!
Match the Joke Card Game
Photo: C Wright
Joke Day Journal
Harmless Prank: Blue Cereal Milk
A Happy Bouquet to Brighten Someone’s Day!
April Fools’ Day Word Search
Have fun with your family during your Joke Theme Day and don’t forget to laugh!