FREE Ideas for Celebrating April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day was always a fun day in my 5th grade classroom. 
I love celebrating silly holidays with kids - and always worked hard to balance the fun (read: zany silliness) with our regularly scheduled activities. 

Here is a compilation of fun FREE ideas you could implement in your classroom on April Fool's Day {April 1st}. 
A Mountain of Morning Work
The first things that I like to do on April Fool's Day is shock my students with a big ole mountain of morning work. 
This is usually their crazy list of tasks:
1. Read three novels and write complete essay summaries for each one in your reading journal
2. Write out your 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 times tables
3. In your spelling notebook, write each word from this week's spelling list 8 times each.
4. Memorize the Declaration of Independence
5. Make a 3D model of the solar system using items in your desk
6. Write a 16-page persuasive letter to the principal, convincing her that you need an additional recess period.

Another variation: 
Ashley from said that she would always have her fourth graders write their homework assignments every morning. On April 1st she would have a longgggg list for them to copy - and when they were all done she would tell them to read the first letter of each assignment - it would spell "APRIL FOOLS" :)
Directions Test
Hand this out...and sit back to watch :)
It's hilarious - and a great discussion-launcher!
Definitely a memorable activity and a fun way to celebrate April Fool's Day.
I hand out the "test" and tell the students to read the directions very carefully and to work as quickly as they can. The key is most students don't read carefully - they just start following the directions as they go, calling out their age, jogging around the classroom saying, "I love school!," and working multiplication problems on the back, etc. However, if they read all the way through, they just need to write their name, draw a picture of a house, and smile at the teacher, showing that they followed the directions carefully. 
I usually have one or two who follow the instructions properly and I always make a big deal about them and shower them with praise and sometimes a small prize :)

You can download my "Directions Test" for FREE here:
*if you download it, please leave feedback!

Opposite Day Activities
Now the official Opposite Day is January 25th, but April Fool's Day also makes an excellent excuse to celebrate and do a fun assortment of opposite activities - some of these ideas are so fun your students will forget that they're learning! :)
"My Opposite Age" asks students to imagine that the numbers in their age have been switched!  They must write a journal entry about what their life is now like – and include a picture!. (For example if they are 06 years old, they pretend that they’re 60! If they’re 12 years old, they pretend they’re now 21.) Note: If they’re 11 years old, they can choose to be 1 or 110 :)

"Opposite Learning" gives kiddos some practice with basic skills - but with an OPPOSITE twist :)
Also included are some fun antonym activities:
Wordless Word Search
My fifth graders love word searches - but this one will give them a run for their money and make them sweat all day long. You can let them work in pairs, you can up the ante, but there's no way they can finish this puzzle...because this is a wordless word search. That's right - NONE of the words in the word bank are actually in the word search. :)
You can snag this freebie from Second Grade Math Maniac

I Broke My Funny Bone
This one's a classic - a broken bone on April Fool's Day.
But this teacher actually made a feel-real "cast" out of paper towel rolls and zip loc bags and even had her students sign it - they totally bought it! Melissa from "Inspire Me ASAP" shares her story here: We Broke Our Funny Bone!
Lirpaloof
Denise from "Sunny Days in Second Grade" has an AWESOME April Fool's Day activity - send your kids on a lirpaloof hunt! You can give your students this reading passage:
Then hand out some carrots and head outside to lure the lirpaloofs out with singing.
While no lirpaloofs will appear, it will be funny to watch - and an activity your kiddos will not soon forget!

p.s. Doesn't this remind you of the scene in Up when Carl sends Russell off to find a "snipe" :)
Brown E's:
Every year I pull a small April Fools prank on my students. I tell them that I have brought it a special treat for the end of the day... brownies! But they have to work diligently all day in order to earn this treat.
But at the end of the day, this is what gets passed out... 
Hahahahah! Get it? 
A Brownie 
A brown E!
They are often SO confused...and then SO MAD! :)
But they soon laugh - and many take extras home to try the joke on their parents and siblings.

Phew! So many fun and silly ideas - I hope you can find one or two that you'd like to try with your students. I hope you have a fun-filled April Fools Day filled with friendly pranks and memorable silliness!

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