What is Poisson d’avril?
Poisson d’avril is today, the first of April. April Fish as the French call it, or April Fool’s for us in America. In France, traditionally for kids, they complete crafts with fish and even tape paper fish to unsuspecting peers’ backs.
French Together has done some amazingly extensive research and writing on the French tradition and the possible origins of the tradition here, so I’ve kept my explanation short. If you are at all interested in the origins and history, it’s worth the time to read it!
Before completing our Poisson d’Avril craft, I wanted to read a book…
Our favorite book featuring fish:
MC requested Rainbow Fish, and since we don’t have that book, I did a quick search online “Rainbow Fish read aloud.” The Screen Actors Guild has done an amazing job of having different actors read various children’s classics and “animate” the pictures in the books to bring them to life. These books are all available to view at their website, storylineonline.net.
As a side note, at the beginning of our self isolation that we began a few weeks ago, MC would say, “I want [this book],” or, “When will we get [this book] from the library?” I had started a list of books that MC wanted.
This week, I decided that would be a longer wait than we were all ready for, so I have been searching for these book online. Using the book title with the words “read aloud” have really saved me. Bonus – it’s given me a couple extra minutes here and there to just. Breathe. and. Relax.
Our Poisson d’avril craft
We decided to celebrate the holiday by doing a little craft to send to friends. Although I don’t think many are in the mood for jokes this year, I thought that everyone would enjoy a little card with a fish on it.
One of the biggest things we do every day is walk to the mailbox. And I’ve always enjoyed receiving letters and cards – it’s even more of a joy to see someone has sent some correspondence right now.
I think it was also a good mystery for most of the adults (aside from a French teacher colleague!) to try to figure out what the heck “Happy Poisson d’Avril” means.
I cut out some construction paper fish, and Mon Cœur (MC) glued them to our postcards. They dried while she napped, and afterwards she chose the decorations: stickers and glitter pens!
She decorated each of the cards, then picked out which card would go to whom, and finally she dictated to me what she wanted to tell each person (mostly, “I love you!”).
Life lessons: Mailing letters
MC loves to help and wants to be involved every step of the way. Sometimes this is super helpful, and other times…I just haven’t figured a way for her to contribute without me getting super frustrated or trying to be completely hands on.
We’ve tried putting stamps on and using the return address stamp before. This time, I drew a purple square on the back of each envelope and a red rectangle on the front of each envelope.
We worked one side at a time, and this time she had a visual where to put the postage stamp and where to “stamp” the return address. We are still working on the return address stamp accuracy; overall, I’d say it was successful!
I love the envelopes we use – they are super easy to seal and one more way that MC can contribute to preparing the letters to mail.
With all this time on our hands, I am trying to find ways to keep in contact with people – a text, phone call, video chat, or letter. It has been so nice to work with MC on these cards, to know that we’re sending a little bit of sunshine to each of these people. And it has brought me some rays of sunshine to receive pictures, texts, and phone calls from friends and family in response.