This year the boys are old enough to understand practical jokes and the purpose of the day. They love telling jokes and think just about anything is funny. It got me thinking, what sort of pranks could I play on them to celebrate the day? So, without further ado, here are a few ideas I’ve come up with thus far.
Make a fake pillow mommy under the covers and wait for the unsuspecting boys to rush in and announce, “Time to wake up!”
Dye their milk green and tell them it came from a green cow. (FamilyFun had a similar idea.)
Declare it backwards day and let them wear their clothes backwards.
Give them an apple…with a gummy worm climbing out of it.
In the spirit of the Punxsutawney clan, create my own treasure hunt. I have to think carefully about the prize though. No maple candies for us with Easter and all that Easter candy right around the corner.
Do you have a favorite April Fools’ Day prank? I’d love to hear your ideas for injecting some fun into the day.
As avid readers of Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill recall, Phyllis predicted an early spring. Bored from all that hibernation, Phyllis decided to take a little trip this year in anticipation of April Fool’s Day, the subject of her newest book.
I am flattered to say that our family was selected as the first stop on Punxsutawney Phyllis’s World Tour to promote April Fool, Phyllis! We are big fans of her original Groundhog Day story, and her April Fool follow-up continued to delight.
During her less-than-24-hour stop in Southern California, Phyllis received multiple readings. Cooper and Finley read the book for bedtime Thursday night. On Friday, Ms. Dina’s class at Palmdale United Methodist Preschool read the story. The class also helped Phyllis find her way to the sugarhouse using the maze from Susanna Leonard Hill’s site. We also shared the book with some of other friends in the area.
We made sure to snap a few photos of Phyllis alongside some of our more recognizable landmarks: Joshua trees and super fast airplanes. (Important note: Our area is the birthplace of the Space Shuttle and the spot where Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time. Planes that have flown higher, faster and further are all developed, built and tested here.) Phyllis really enjoyed the trip to the Joe Davies Heritage Air Park where she saw all kind of stealthy aircraft including the SR-71 Blackbird, U-S Dragon Lady, and F-117 Nighthawk. Rumor has it she might have taken the Nighthawk for a spin.
And now, for a review of the book (drum roll, please!):
Themes/topics: April Fools Day, nature, weather, groundhogs
Opening and synopsis: ”Phyllis knew everything about the weather. After all, she was Punxsutawney Phyllis, Weather Prophet Extraordinaire! So, when she woke up on April first, the day of the Spring Treasure Hunt, it took only one whiff of the morning air to tell her something wasn’t right.”
All the signs point to a blustery blizzard for April Fools Day. No one believes Phyllis’s prediction that a storm is on its way. When the snow hits during the annual Spring Treasure Hunt, will Phyllis be able to save her cousins?
Why I like this book: Honestly, there aren’t that many April Fools Day books on the market, and with small children at home, I like to celebrate each new holiday and season with a themed book. Beyond its theme, there are several elements to recommend this book. First, its discussion of weather and natural cycles can inspire lessons about how to predict weather, signs of spring and winter and the like. Second, children actually participate in the Spring Treasure Hunt along with Phyllis and her cousins. My three and five-year-old love puzzles and mysteries, and they enjoyed shouting out their guesses to each new clue. Finally, Hill includes a historical note in the back of the book detailing the origins of April Fools Day. As with the best children’s books, I learned something new. I had no idea that April 1st originally was considered New Year’s Day under the Julian calendar. When the Gregorian calendar took root beginning in 1582, New Year’s Day became January 1st. Those who continued to celebrate April 1st as the first day of the new year were considered the original fools.
Resources: Hill includes classroom guides for kindergarten, first and second grade on her Web site. This guides align with many state standards for several subjects. Just for fun, Hill also has a Phyllis paper doll dress up page and a maze worksheet.
And now, we must say “bon voyage” to Phyllis and send her on her way. Next stop….Texas!
Groundhog Day is right around the corner (Feb. 2nd). What a fun way to explore whether, animals and folklore with your curious kids. There are a number of resources available online and in your local bookstore.
First, I’d like to recommend a delightful Groundhog Day book by fellow 12 x 12er Susanna Leonard Hill: Punxsutawney Phyllis(Holiday House, 2005). Hill puts a feminist spin on the Groundhog Day tradition. Phyllis is a young groundhog who knows she could do her Uncle Phil’s job. But her family is reluctant because she’s a girl. One year, Uncle Phil lets Phyllis help him make the annual prediction. He foretells six more weeks of winter when the signs of early spring are readily apparent. Phyllis changes Uncle Phil’s mind and becomes her uncle’s successor, breaking the groundhog glass ceiling. Hill also includes information about the traditions of Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil. This book is a fun read for children ages 4 through 8. Hill also has some fantastic Groundhog Day resources and activities on her site. You can find them…….here.
For a brief overview of Groundhog Day’s historical roots, see the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club web site. Essentially, the tradition has its origins in the European Candlemas Day. To quote from the Groundhog Club Web site, according to one old English poem:
“If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.”
Specifically, the Germans, who later settled Pennsylvania, believed that if a hedgehog cast its shadow on Candlemas Day, there would be a second winter. In North America, German immigrants substituted native groundhogs for hedgehogs, and the rest is history.
If you are looking for Groundhog Day-related activities and lesson plans, you can turn again to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Learn how to make a thumbprint groundhog, whip up groundhog cookies and more. The Mini Page also boasts activities and lesson plans for Groundhog Day.