(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness?
BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART
For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)
Using Joke Books to Lighten the Mood and Teach at the Same Time
by Natasha Wing
Like sneaking grated vegetables into a recipe, joke books are a great way to get your kids to read without it feeling like reading. There’s no chapter to finish. No stressful plot or conflict. But skills are still being learned. Kids learn about humor and what’s funny and how to play with language. They learn how to read aloud and get comfortable in front of an “audience.” They learn how to memorize. All while building their vocabulary.
Here’s an example of the fun you can have with a joke.
Why do Europeans walk funny?
They convert feet to meters.
This is silly on several levels. First, picturing people walking funny IS funny!
Then having their feet change into something else like meters is silly. Adults may think of meters as a measurement, but younger kids might imagine a real object like parking meters.
From here, you can now turn this into a learning experience. Find out the conversion rate of feet to meters. Then go around your house and measure things in feet and see if your child can convert to meters. See, you snuck in a little math, too!
If you want to extend this further, you can have your child draw a caricature of a person walking with meters instead of feet. Look up what caricatures are and study the different exaggerated styles, then draw. Now you’ve snuck in an art class!
Here’s a way to expand language. When writing jokes you don’t want to give away the answer in the question, just hint at it. For example, there’s a joke in Saltwater Sillies: 300+ Jokes for Buoys & Gulls about seals. If I had written, “What branch of the military did the seal enlist in?” it would have been too simple to guess. (Navy Seal) Rather than using the word “seal” in the question, I used another word for seal which is pinniped. Pinniped means fin or flipper-footed and refers to the marine mammals that have front and rear flippers. This group includes seals, sea lions, and walruses. Finding this out allowed me to substitute pinneped for sea lion and walrus jokes, too. Your child will now know another word for seal, sea lion and walrus!
Here are some fun ways to use joke books while sheltering in place.
- Make sure your household and the grandparents’ household each has the same joke book. Then during Facetime or Zoom chats you can take turns telling each other jokes. It’s a fun way to connect and make each other laugh. Plus it gives your child an opportunity to ask their grandparent what a word means.
- Challenge your child to come up with a new joke.
Give him or her a list of words that sound alike such as:
Then see if they can come up with a joke using one or more of those words. Have them share it out loud with someone to test it out.
- Have your child write a joke on a postcard and mail it to a friend or teacher that your child misses. Ask the friend to mail one back.
- Play a game of make up the answer.
Write down three joke questions. Then ask your kids to supply their own answer. Have everyone vote on the funniest answer.
- Play act out knock-knock jokes. Two people can participate in this: one says knock-knock and the other asks the question, Who’s there? The children can dress up by wearing hats, or can act by pretending to be a character and change their voices. If you want to add music to this stand-up comedy act, have another child with a drum, harmonica or a kazoo make a funny noise with their instrument after each joke answer. Record it and send it to a friend or family member.
While you’re at home teaching, use joke books to lighten the mood, and feel good about developing your child’s sense of humor and vocabulary.
Where do king crabs live? In sandcastles! Hundreds of ocean-themed jokes for kids ages 5-10. Knock-knocks, tongue twisters, one-liners, and puns will keep them laughing all the way to the beach. Also includes fun facts, and kooky caricatures for kids to color in. Packable size to take on trips. Crack your friends and family up with a gift of humor!
Available on Amazon (https://amzn.to/2XsuFez) and other online retailers.
Natasha Wing is the author of a funny children’s book using bakery puns called Bagel In Love. She has also published three joke books: Lettuce Laugh: 600 Corny Jokes About Food; Buzz Off!: 600 Jokes About Things with Wings; and Saltwater Sillies: 300+ Jokes for Buoys and Gulls. More of her books can be found at natashawing.com. Friend her author page: facebook.com/natashawingbooks.