According to a study conducted at Harvard’s Neuroscience institute, the contagious nature of humor builds a sense of community. April Fool’s Day is a great opportunity to create some fun and think outside the box! Educational research shows that correctly-used humor can be an effective intervention to improve retention in students from kindergarten through college. Choose to combine those witty Fool’s Day pranks with powerful teachable moments and guarantee that your students will not only learn but will also retain the information. Where to get started you ask? Follow our guide to April Fool’s Day fun and find the combo of fun and learning that best fits your class!
- Make a silly rhyme. Knowing and distinguishing the sounds of language combined with the ability to hear have the power to release truly giggly results. This April Fool’s Day we encourage you to let phonological awareness inspire silly rhyming in your classroom. Moments of the day offer great opportunity to insert silly rhymes that will spring smiles across the faces of your children. Try “I just finished a puzzle wuzzle.” Or “At lunch I drank a glass of juice caboose.”
- Try tongue twisters. Your preschoolers will have great fun trying to follow tricky tongue twisters. Start with a tongue twister such as “A Haddock”, where you lead children in saying the words as fast as they can. Striving to speed through a tongue twister can be contagiously funny!
- A haddock!
A black-spotted haddock!
A black spot
On the black back
Of a black-spotted haddock!
- A haddock!
- Sing a song. Create a laughable scenario by simply singing familiar songs with incorrect words such as “Twinkle, twinkle, little car.” You can’t go wrong with a little lyrical humor. And then invite your children to create their own new lyrics to entertain you and their classmates.
- Be preposterous. Nothing says April Fool’s Day like acting a little harebrained. Simply choose to ask cockamamie questions like “Should we go to Mars for recess?” “Do you all have your goldfish to practice writing our letters?” These ridiculous questions will tickle children and certainly lead to laughter and creativity.
- Play dress up. During one of the most light-hearted holidays of the year, it is only fitting that you should have your children dress up and pretend to be a jester. Outfit your classroom with funny hats, old button-down shirts, big shoes and let the children’s imagination take them away! Show them that funny antics are encouraged by putting a shirt on backward or pretending to make a pizza with a hat!
- Read a humorous book. There are many ways to go about April Fool’s Day, but this list would not be complete without a few suggested books to read aloud to your children. The following are sure to have your preschoolers rolling on the floor laughing: Rhyming Dust Bunnies, by Jan Thomas; Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems; or the pun-filled Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog, by Jon Agee.
- Silly face contest. Sometimes all it takes is a funny mug to start an uproarious giggle fest in your classroom. Today is the day to encourage such behavior! The only supply needed for this activity is a reflective surface and the right attitude 🙂 Encourage your students to make the silliest faces that they can and then challenge the children to describe them.
- Sing a funny song. If you already have a funny song in mind, then please share in the comments! We suggest a classic tune called “The Banana Song”, which takes children’s names and makes them the center of the fun. Check out the lyrics below for a child named Anna:
- Anna, Anna,
Banana fana fo fanna,
Fee, fi, mo manna,
- Anna, Anna,
- Hula hoop challenge. Challenge your preschoolers to a hula hoop contest. Have the children set into the hula hoop one by one. Make sure all of your students have stood inside one hula hoop, and shout: “How many preschoolers does it take to fill a hula hoop?” Then lift the hoop up over their heads!
- Laugh at yourself. We’ve all heard that laughter is contagious. Because frankly it is! So this April Fool’s Day we encourage you to set the example and start laughing. Nothing is more important than sending the message that laughter is both appropriate and valued. And remember: the average preschooler laughs 400 times a day; the average adult only 15 times. It’s time to start catching up— get your laugh on!
Fundamentally, humor activates our sense of wonder, which is where learning begins. It is simply logical that humor could enhance retention. Humor reflects our joy and reduces stress for children and adults alike. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of humor to help put things in perspective. One of the greatest gifts you can give to children is to encourage them to see the humor in life. Have a wonderfully humorous April Fool’s Day!