When it comes to Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and other holidays, there are always at least a few movies to watch with your kids to get in the spirit. Sometimes there’s so many you couldn’t even finish them all if you tried. But when it comes to April Fool’s movies for kids, there’s a shockingly low number of films (think, like, zero) based on the actual holiday. That said, there are plenty of April Fool’s-appropriate movies filled with
family-friendly pranks, jokes, and more.
That’s right — instead of searching for movies that are literally about the holiday, think about what makes April Fool’s Day so much fun. It’s all the
jokes, laughter, and pranks, right? Well, the good news is there are plenty of hilarious movies that capture the essence of April Fool’s in a way that’s appropriate for family movie nights.
Whether the movie focuses on switching places (
The Parent Trap), swapping lives with someone else ( She’s The Man), or hilarious and physically kinda harmful pranks ( Home Alone), these movies will have the entire family in stitches. Just be sure to check the ratings ahead of time, as not all of them are meant for the littlest members of the family. We wouldn’t want any toddlers thinking marbles are meant to be left out for you to slip on. 1 The Parent Trap
Lindsay Lohan as Annie and Hallie, as well as Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, The Parent Trap is possibly the ultimate prank, and one this movie made all millennial parents wish they could pull. C’mon, who doesn’t want to meet the twin they never knew at summer camp and then switch places with their twin? In Disney’s 1998 version of The Parent Trap (the original came out in 1961) , Hallie and Annie swap lives and move to totally different countries in an attempt to reunite their long-separated parents before their dad marries the wrong woman. Watch The Parent Trap, rated PG, on Disney+. 2 The Pink Panther
The Pink Panther starring Steve Martin, inspector Jacques Clouseau, who is a bit of a bumbler, is put on the case when a beloved French soccer coach is murdered and his ring (which holds the priceless Pink Panther diamond) is stolen. While this movie has a kid-friendly PG rating, Common Sense Media has warned that the 2006 movie is perhaps best for kids over 11 years old due to sexual situations, slapstick violence (think getting hit in the crotch), as well as crude language and humor. Watch The Pink Panther, rated PG, on Netflix. 3 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is an absolute classic that your older kids will enjoy just as much as you did growing up. If you’ve never seen it, Matthew Broderick as Ferris is a wisecracking high schooler who has a knack for skipping class. Recommended for kids over 12 years old due to profanity and less than exemplary behavior, follow him through a day of slacking around Chicago with this John Hughes classic from 1986 this April Fool’s Day. Watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime. 4 She’s The Man
Speaking of prank movies for older kids, Amanda Bynes stars in the very hilarious
She’s The Man, a movie that proves anything boys can do, girls can do funnier. In 2006’s She’s The Man, Viola Johnson disguises herself as her twin brother at boarding school and clinches a big soccer game, whips out her tampons to help with her “really bad nosebleeds,” while also falling in love with the team’s star player, Duke. Watch She’s The Man, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime. 5 The Emperor’s New Groove
Unless you’re Yzma herself, you probably don’t have the powers to pull a prank quite like the one at the center of this family-friendly April Fool’s movie. She turns egotistical Emperor Kuzco into a llama, strands him in the countryside, and assumes the throne. If your kids haven’t seen this gem of a movie, they’ll love watching Kuzco and his new best friend journey back to his kingdom.
Watch The Emperor’s New Groove, rated G, on Disney+. 6 Mrs. Doubtfire
Here’s another movie where someone operates in disguise. In
Mrs. Doubtfire, the classic 1993 family comedy starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, Mara Wilson, a Pierce Brosnan, a divorced father masquerades as a quirky nanny with an accent in an attempt to spend more time with his kids each day. Naturally, wild hijinks ensue (that iconic burnt shirt kitchen scene will forever remain in our memories) but the ending is heartwarming despite all the jokes along the way. Watch Mrs. Doubtfire , rated PG-13, on Hulu. 7 Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
Starring Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinski, this sci-fi comedy from 1989 is so nostalgic for millennial parents, so here’s hoping the kiddos love it just as much. In
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, an inventor’s kids and their friends sneak into his workshop and are accidentally miniaturized by his experimental shrink ray. Watch as they try to get help and return to full size from just a quarter inch tall, hide under blades of grass, and escape from a giant scorpion. Watch Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, rated PG, on Disney+. 8 Home Alone
Home Alone is technically a Christmas movie, but it’s also the absolute best kid-friendly movie that’s all about pranks. Now, these pranks aren’t so harmless since they’re meant to keep the burglars out of Kevin McCallister’s house, but they’re funny every time. Besides, who doesn’t need a little Christmas cheer in April? But, keep in mind, that due to the amount of violence and the whole “I accidentally abandoned my kid at home alone to fend off burglars” storyline, Common Sense Media recommends this movie is best for kids over 10 years old. Watch Home Alone, rated PG, on Disney+. 9 Dennis the Menace
A precocious, adorable child who drives his elderly neighbor absolutely bonkers over his summer vacation? Sounds like the makings of a heart-warming April Fool’s movie to me. Your kids will laugh out loud as Mr. Wilson gets covered head to toe in flour, woken up early by Dennis climbing into his bed, and hit in the forehead with a flaming marshmallow.
Watch Dennis the Menace, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 10 Charlotte’s Web
Most parents, when they think of
Charlotte’s Web, tend to go straight to the ending (still heart-wrenching after all these years, ugh). But the gist of most of the movie is a very elaborate ruse between a group of farm animal friends to keep their pig friend alive. Despite all the pig-going-to-slaughter associations, it’s a warm and fuzzy movie to watch as a family for April Fool’s. Watch Charlotte’s Web, rated G, on Amazon Prime. 11 Roald Dahl’s The Witches
Based on a book by the famed
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author, The Witches is a remake of a 1990 movie by the same name. A recently orphaned boy moves in with his grandmother. On a trip, their hotel stay coincides with a convention of witches plotting to rid the world of all children. Hijinks (and children morphing into mouses) ensue. Watch Roald Dahl’s The Witches, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 12 Playing With Fire
John Cena stars in the 2019 movie
Playing With Fire as a fireman in the California woodlands. After he and his team rescue three siblings from a burning cabin, they’re in charge of keeping the little ones safe until their parents can get to the station. As you can imagine, that’s when things go totally awry. Reviews are a bit mixed, but one parent wrote that the acting “was a little cheesy” but overall funny for older kids and young teens. Watch Playing With Fire, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 13 Are We There Yet?
Are We There Yet? starring Ice Cube, Aleisha Allen, Nia Long, and more, Nick spots the gorgeous and recently divorced Suzanne and is smitten right away. But her young kids, Lindsey and Kevin, have been chasing other suitors off. When their mom has to fly to Canada, Nick promises her he’ll drive the kids to Vancouver and join her there, and they do everything in their power to run him off on the drive. Watch Are We There Yet?, rated PG, on Hulu. 14 Clifford
No, not the one with the big red dog, the one with adult Martin Short playing a young child.
Clifford follows an oddball kid — played by a grownup — to visit his uncle Los Angeles (nearly crashing the plane with his antics on the way there). Screen this flick if you’d like to see him drive his uncle completely nuts over the course of 90 minutes. Watch Clifford, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 15 Matilda
In this 1996 classic starring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, and Rhea Perlman, Matilda Wormwood has some pretty unkind parents, and a school principal, Mrs. Trunchbull, who bullies the students relentlessly. When Matilda realizes she has the power of telekinesis, she uses it to right the wrongs of the adults around her, and the ending is oh-so-happy.
Common Sense Media calls the movie a “offbeat dark fantasy gem [that is] intense, sometimes scary,” so it’s perhaps best for kids over 9 years old. Watch Matilda, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 16 Paddington
Ever wondered what it would be like to watch a bear with a charming British accent who’s obsessed with marmalade move to the big city? In the oh-so-adorable
Paddington film from 2014, a sweet and clumsy bear moves to England and is taken in by a family there after his rainforest home is destroyed. But a local taxidermist is determined to steal his fur, and, well, you’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Watch Paddington, rated PG, on Netflix. 17 School Of Rock
Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, the main character in
School Of Rock. Dewey, an unsuccessful musician turned substitute teacher, plays guitar in his band, until they kick him out. In need of work, he lies his way into a substitute teacher position at a high-brow private school. And teach his students about music he does, but his choice of lesson plans (all about rock ‘n’ roll) is totally new to the kids. Soon, his class is preparing for the Battle of the Bands. Will they win? Watch it this April Fool’s Day to find out. Watch School Of Rock , rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime. 18 Ramona and Beezus
Based on the children’s novel series by Beverly Cleary, the 2010 family comedy
Ramona and Beezus is all about the one-of-a-kind little girl Ramona Quimby. Her big imagination comes in handy when she and her older sister, Beezus, need to save their home. This sweet flick stars some recognizable faces like Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sandra Oh, and Josh Duhamel. Watch Ramona and Beezus, rated G, on Disney+. 19 Kicking & Screaming Elf isn’t Will Ferrell’s only kids’ movie to watch again and again for the holidays. For April Fool’s Day, there’s Kicking & Screaming. In the 2005 family comedy, Ferrell plays a man whose father always wanted him to be an athlete. When his own son begins playing soccer, Ferrell’s character decides to coach the team, and hopes to beat the rival team coached by his old man. Watch Kicking & Screaming, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. 20 The Pacifier
It seems Vin Diesel is all about family in most of this movies. In
The Pacifer, he plays a highly trained Navy SEAL who is assigned to protect a scientist’s five children for national security reasons. And, it turns out, military training doesn’t prepare him for absolutely everything. Watch The Pacifier, rated PG , on Disney+.
Whether you choose a movie off of this list or feel called to a different funny flick, just know there are plenty of films that make good April Fool’s movies (even if the holiday itself isn’t part of the plot).
This article was originally published on
March 24, 2022