Get Silly: Bond with Your Kids over Humor

Celebrate April Fools' Day and discover how humor can you bond with your teens and tweens.
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Okay, so maybe it isn't a major holiday or, for that matter, even a minor one. But April Fools' Day can be a fabulously fun occasion to celebrate with tweens and teens. Why not plan some playful pranks, goofy gags, or just a night of family fun? And there's no need to stop after just one day! Try these suggestions any time to help kids develop a sense of humor, to build bonds, and to create memories that will keep everyone smiling.

Pull Some Pranks

Show your kids a few ways to "punk" their dad or siblings: You can try the classics, like switching salt for the pepper, rigging a "dancing" dollar bill with fishing line, or sneaking a plastic spider onto someone's dinner plate. Other good gags? Tint mayonnaise with green food coloring, switch your computer's screen saver to a slide show of embarrassing photos, or put a raisin "bug" in the toothpaste tube. Or get your sleepy teens with a breakfast prank: Pour a bowl of cereal with milk and freeze it overnight before serving, or try switching the cereal in the boxes (cornflakes for mini-wheats, for example). Encourage silliness but make sure to set boundaries so no one gets carried away.

Hold a Stand-Up Shutdown

Turn your living room into an amateur stand-up night -- no hecklers allowed. Have your tweens borrow a kids' joke book from the local library or visit a site like kids.yahoo.com/jokes so they can pick out favorite laugh lines to recite for the family. Knock-knock jokes work well for younger kids. Teens can play host and emcee the evening, reenact a comic monologue, or tell a (clean!) joke from a famous comedian. Or if you're brave, put yourselves in the hot seat and let your children "roast" Mom and Dad. Make one kid your "roast master" and give each of your children the floor for 10 minutes to poke fun at your quirks.

Put On a Funny Family Film Fest

Host your own comedy movie night. Introduce your children to oldies but goldies -- like Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, and the Little Rascals -- to a brand-new audience. Or gather to watch classic comedies from the '80s and '90s like The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the Ace Ventura series, which are big on pratfalls and sight gags. Go the animated route with Ice Age, Shrek, and Monsters, Inc. for silly puns that teenagers will be old enough to appreciate. Or show a more current comedy like Astroboy or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Continued on page 2:  Be Spontaneous

 

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