Although the historical origins of April Fools’ Day are uncertain, one thing is clear – children love this annual day of silly pranks and jokes. In addition to the pure fun of telling jokes, the experts at Kiddie Academy point out the educational benefits of exercising your family’s funny bone year-round.
"When children tell jokes, they are actually playing with language and vocabulary, making associations between words and concepts. This is an important component of literacy education," says Richard Peterson, vice president of education, Kiddie Academy. "Sharing funny stories and jokes also offers a safe format for children to showcase their attempts with language — not only is it OK if people laugh at them, it’s a bonus. Making someone laugh also helps to build a child’s self-esteem."
Here are five fun ideas for adding humor to your family’s life:
1. Host a Family "Open Mike" night. Invite your children to tell their favorite jokes. Join in the fun by also sharing your own kid-friendly humor. Use an empty paper towel roll covered in aluminum foil to serve as your microphone. Laughing together creates wonderful memories.
2. Share tall tales, whether they are classics such as Paul Bunyan or John Henry, or your own creations. A tall tale usually involves solving a problem in a big and funny way. Talk about why a giant griddle for Paul Bunyan’s pancakes would or wouldn’t work.
3. Ask your family members – "Who is the funniest person you know?" Follow up with questions about why he or she is funny, and tell a few funny stories starring that person.
4. Play with Words. Challenge your family to see how many related puns you can string together in a conversation. A pun-marathon is great fun for car rides, or even over dinner. Puns help children exercise comprehension skills such as reasoning, inference, and context clues.
5. Tell Knock Knock jokes. Many are kid-friendly, and the web offers a huge selection. They’re classics, and fun to share.
For more education tips, including a tutorial for creating your own family microphone, parents can visit Kiddie Academy’s Family Essentials blog. I love their family friendly Earth Day activities too!