April Fool's Day Activities
By Freda J. Glatt, MS
April Fool's Day is quite an appropriate way to begin National Humor Month. Here is some background information plus a few activities for you to enjoy.
Did you know that April Fool's Day began in France in 1564? Before then, the new year was celebrated on April 1! As some Europeans continued celebrating the new year on that day, they were called April fools and their friends would play silly tricks on them.
The harmless pranks of April Fool's Day take place in the US, Germany, France, Great Britain, and other countries. In France, an April fool is a poisson d'Avril, an April fish, and chocolate fish are a special treat. In Scotland, people call you an April cuckoo.
Be sure not to play a joke after 12 noon or you will be the fool!
Now, for a few activities:
1. Cut out a 1" square for every child playing this game. Write "A" on one of them and put them all in a bag. Have all children choose a square, not telling anyone which they chose, and put them back in the bag. As children sit in a circle, a child is chosen to go first. If he did not choose the "A", he will walk around the circle and return to his spot; another child is chosen. Only the child who chose the "A" will walk around the circle, tap another on the shoulder, say "April Fool!" and start running. The tapped child chases him. If the tapped child does not beat the first child back to his spot, he continues walking around the circle and taps someone else; if he DOES beat the first child back, the first child has another turn to walk, tap, and run.
2. For older children, follow the same directions for the squares. After the squares have all been chosen, let the children scatter in the play area. At the Start signal, have children start moving around. The child who chose the "A" is IT and tries to tag the other children by whispering "April Fool!" each time he tags someone. Children that are tagged must freeze into statues. IT must be subtle in order to sneak up and tag the other children.
NOTE: The top two games are easily adapted to any letter of the alphabet for any theme. Try one for a birthday party!
3. Have children create their own lists of ten things (a good way to review nouns) or create a class list. Have an interesting variety. Without letting children see the silly story they are going to create, call on ten to say one of their words or to call out one from the class list. Fill in the blanks of this story (from Spring is Here, Macmillan Seasonal Activity Packs, 1987) as they provide the words:
One day, I put on my beautiful brand- new _____. Then I went out for a walk. The first thing I saw was a funny _____. It was right next to a striped _____! Then a tiny little _____wearing a huge _____walked past me. I was so surprised that I forgot to watch where I was going. I walked right into a big _____and bumped my _____. Then I saw a huge _____riding on a small _____. I laughed so hard I almost dropped my _____. What a silly way to start the day!
4. See if you are fooled by these riddles!
a. Which animals can jump higher than a tree?
b. What are the things you'll never eat for lunch?
c. What do you lose every time you stand up?
d. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
e. Why can't you tell a secret in a vegetable garden?
5. Remember that any time is great for a SMILE BREAK! Try it when you feel tense!
I hope these ideas are useful and ignite your own creativity. Enjoy!
ANSWERS to riddles: a. Every animal can jump higher than a tree because a tree can't jump! b. Breakfast or dinner c. Your lap d. At the bottom of the page e. The corn has ears and the potatoes have eyes.
About the Author
Freda J. Glatt, MS, retired from teaching after a 34-year career in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her focus, now, is to reach out and help others reinforce reading comprehension and develop a love for reading. Visit her site at http://www.sandralreading.com. Reading is FUNdamental!
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