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Many adults associate April Fools Day with pranks. But, as any parent who has tried to pull a practical joke or speak ironically to their young child knows, kids do not always experience (or appreciate) pranks as we do. What if we reframed April Fools Day as Get Silly Day? Kids are experts at all things silly! When we get silly, we delight kids and we enter into their world in a way that really gets their attention. Plus, adding some humor to play is a super way to spark the kind of joy that helps kids (and us) thrive. As part of our free Calendar of activities, we say, "Let's make this April 1st (and every day!) a day for silly moments and belly laughs for all!
- Create a Silly Jar—Grab a jar (or hat/box), some paper and something to write with. Let kids know that Get Silly Day is coming, a day to celebrate all that is silly! Show them the jar and say, “Do you know what this is? It’s not just a jar—it’s our Silly Jar! We can write down all of the silly things we want to do on Get Silly Day and put them in this jar.”
- Fill your Silly Jar—Ask your child what kinds of silly things they would like to do, write them down on strips of paper and put them in the jar. If kids can write or draw, hand them some paper, too! Need ideas? Here are some Tinkergarten favorites:
- Bring instruments or a phone or other music-player outside. Have a silly dance party to make each other laugh.
- While you dance—or just while you are hanging out—take turns imitating each other’s silly movements.
- Want a starting place for silly movements? Imitate animals and try to guess which creature each of you is pretending to be. Add in noises and let yourselves get really into the play.
- Look in the mirror together and make funny faces. Be sure to mimic one another's silly faces. Kids LOVE to see people copying what they are doing, and when we make different faces, we actually help kids learn emotional empathy! Or, get on video chat with people you love and do the same.
- Make silly mud faces for trees.
- Help kids hang upside down, and even try to hang upside down yourself—that change in perspective can help everyone find a little more silliness, and it helps balance kids senses, too!
- Use sidewalk chalk to leave silly pictures on the sidewalk that will make neighbors and passersby smile.
- Stand outside your home or on a safe corner of the street and wave, smile or do a silly dance to the cars and people who go by.
- Write a joke on a piece of paper and leave in someone’s mailbox or record it on video and send it to someone.
- Wear your clothes backwards or inside out.
- Make MUD and let loose!
- Make a silly hat or nature crown from objects you find outside.
- Sing your child’s favorite song and change the words to something silly.
- Make it a backwards day! Eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.
- Have a conversation together where all the words are sung instead of spoken.
- Dress up in costumes and take a family walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.
- Celebrate and share—On April 1st, let the silliness commence! Throughout the day, invite your child to select and try out one of the silly ideas from their jar. Share photos of your family’s Get Silly Day with loved ones to spread smiles. Tag @tinkergarten and #TGMoments in your photos and share them within our OutdoorsAll4 FB community to inspire even more silliness and joy!
- Still want a little prank? Here are two favorites kids can get behind!
- "Sprung a Leek"— Place a sizable leek under the sink, radiator, etc. then get an adult to come running with the phrase, "There's a big "leek" under the radiator!"
- "Brown E's"—Cut a series of letter E's out of brown paper or just draw a bunch of letter E's on a piece of paper using a brown marker or crayon. Ask a friend or family member if they'd like some brownies. Then, present them with your brown e's. We love to also have yummy baked brownies to enjoy after a good laugh, too.
Why is this activity great for kids?
Adding silliness to your family routines is a super way to spark joy, an emotion that impacts our bodies and our minds in lasting ways. And, a good sense of humor gives kids the tools they need to see things from many perspectives, a cornerstone of empathic thinking. Humor also helps kids think flexibly and grasp unconventional ways of approaching a situation—both of which allow for divergent thinking, an essential component of creativity.
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