Writing jokes with children
17 December 2018, Meena Tharmarajah
I’ve been making crackers (or bonbons) which my daughter absolutely loves. This fun activity contains many opportunities for learning, including several short writing activities such as, check lists, name labels for each cracker, and of course jokes.
I’ve always found jokes very interesting in terms of literacy. Children want to laugh at jokes and they want to make others laugh too, which means they are really invested in trying to understand why a joke is funny. But a short joke often plays with language, and if you skip just one word or even a single letter the joke is ruined (e.g. ‘can’ instead of ‘can’t’).
It’s bloody hard to come up with your own joke, and my children’s jokes are just not that funny – yet! So with that in mind we’ve been looking for jokes on the internet… which are also mostly not funny.
It HAS been very funny reading these with my daughter and determining that, yes these jokes are terrible and we will NOT include them in our crackers. I also get to explain jokes, which often involves understanding different spellings (and graphemes) and how these relate to sounds (phonemes).
Check out this joke…
Q. Why does Santa have three gardens?
A. So he can say “Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!”.
The main concept here is that ‘Ho’ the exclamation that Santa makes riding on his sleigh, sounds the same as the garden ‘hoe’ tool which has a different spelling. I skipped any other ‘ho’ interpretations. In addition to spelling we looked at why and when you would use, speech marks, question marks and exclamation marks. We also got to understand the acronyms Q and A, for ‘Question’ and ‘Answer’. My daughter initially labelled these ‘A’ and ‘B’ (she’s great at abstract maths concepts).
Below are some instructions on how to find and write jokes with children. Just try not to make them write too many! It’s just as useful for children seeing you write jokes too.
Writing Jokes with Children Activity
What you will need:
- A practice piece of paper
Joke template (or small pieces of paper about business card size)
Internet connected device ( for looking up jokes)
Step by Step Instructions
You’ll need to do this first and read the jokes before your child reads it as a lot of jokes are adults only. Find jokes that are short and clean.
Read a joke with your child
– Ask if they found it funny. If they don’t find a joke funny ask them why. They may not understand the joke, and you will have an opportunity to explain it.
Write the joke out on a practice piece of paper.
For older children, get them to write it out themselves.
For younger children, write it out for them, sounding out each word and explaining each punctuation mark.
Write the final joke on a joke card.
Cut out joke cards using our template, or just cut business card size pieces of paper. Using the practice version, copy the joke onto the card. Try decorating the card with funny hand drawn emojis or Christmas ornaments.
For older children, get them to pay attention to the spacing on the card so that the joke is easy to read for someone else.
For younger children, get them to sound out there words as you write them. You could make deliberate mistakes to see if they pick them up!