April Fool’s Day
Caring for others
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect on the origins of April Fool’s Day and how we can enjoy ourselves without hurting others.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- Ask the children whether they know another name for 1 April. If someone says ‘April Fool’s Day’, ask the children to tell you what that means. You may wish to ask them whether they’ve heard of any tricks that have been played on that day.
- Briefly give some of the background to April Fool’s Day.
– It is celebrated in many countries around the world.
– In England, the one who is caught out is called an ‘April fool’.
– In Scotland, he or she is called a ‘gowk’, meaning ‘cuckoo’ or ‘fool’.
– In France, the term is poisson d’avril, which means ‘April fish’.
– There is a similar Indian custom on the last day of the festival of Holi.
We’re not sure where the custom started. Some say that it’s related to the uncertain weather; others think that it may be connected with the old calendar, when 25 March used to be New Year’s Day. Long ago, the new year celebrations would last for a full eight days, which was known as an octave. 1 April was when the festivities reached their peak and ended. Later on, the start of the new year was moved to 1 January.
- While we are having fun on April Fool’s Day, we need to be mindful that making fun of somebody else can be hurtful. It’s important to strike a balance between good-humoured, responsible amusement and being unthinking or cruel.
- Ask the children to contribute some ideas regarding:
– the sorts of tricks or words that can be hurtful
– our feelings when cruel tricks are played on us (especially if they are played often)
– the lingering memories of being the target of unthinking or hurtful words
- Jesus teaches that we should love one another as as we love ourselves. There is no place for unthinking and hurtful behaviour, but Jesus didn’t mean that we should go round being serious all the time either.
Time for reflection
Encourage the children to think about their friends. Good friends are there for us when we are sad and look after us if we are lonely, but they also laugh and joke with us.
Jesus had a group of special friends when he was on earth. There is no doubt that he would have laughed and joked with them.
There is a verse in the Bible that tells us something about smiling and happiness. Proverbs 15.13 says, ‘A happy heart makes the face cheerful.’
Encourage the children to try to make someone else happy today!
Thank you for friends.
Please don’t let me hurt my friends or anyone else.
Thank you for the times when we laugh and are happy together.
Please help us to look for ways in which we can help other people to be happy.
‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from the film Toy Story, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNi02gxTI1M (2.04 minutes long)