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April Fool's

My mom was always the biggest prankster around. You never knew when you were going to get a cold glass of water dumped on you in the shower or squirted through the window with the kitchen sink sprayer while playing outside. April Fool’s day was an especially fun day in my family. Here’s just a few of the jokes I remember being played on this day.

  • A note on the TV saying it was broken. We totally missed this joke because we just took off the sign and turned on the tv.

  • My mom sewed the legs in my dad’s underwear closed. He was not happy about this joke.

  • My mom covered the toilet with plastic wrap. She later regretted this practical joke as it turned into quite a mess.

  • The milk was turned green. No one would drink it.

  • The chocolate Easter eggs that are covered in foil were not chocolate, but grapes. I can’t believe my mom actually unwrapped the chocolate and rewrapped grapes.

  • All of the clocks were changed and we got up an hour earlier than needed. No one was too happy about this one, but I continued to play this on friends in college and on my husband early in our marriage. Let’s just say no one likes to get up earlier than they have to.

All of these jokes were harmless and fun. They were also done in love. In fact, my mom loved to bring play into our home. She always encouraged us to play and make things. No matter what idea I came up with for a Halloween costume, she would help me create it. When we took our annual vacation at a cottage in Wisconsin with no TV or internet, my mom was always full of fun! She taught us new board games, created silly games where she wrapped up the food for the week as prizes, planned a frozen t-shirt contest (that was fun!), encouraged silly string and whip cream wars, and helped us put on family talent shows. Sometimes we spend hours answering trivia questions or hunting through the house to get our birthday and Christmas gifts.

I’m so thankful my mom created such an atmosphere of play for me to grow up in. I think it’s helped me be a better mom and teacher too. I’ve learned it is much easier to teach when students approach learning with a playful attitude. We seem to understand that young children learn by playing, but as they get older we tend to take some of the fun out of learning in order to get through more content or to manage behavior more. The reality is, this approach often backfires. Play and fun are tools that open students to learning. Are you or your students stuck? Don’t be an April fool, add a little to play to your routine!

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