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Most children like jokes. Once children get to a certain age, jokes take on a whole new meaning but it isn’t just about the ‘ha ha’ and the giggles. There’s a lot at play for older children to be able to process and understand what is happening in a joke. Depending on the joke, the child will need to know about homonyms, the double meanings of some words, and the context in which the joke is given.
My child, now 7 years old, has been into jokes for quite some time. In the beginning, the jokes didn’t always make sense but the effort and the thinking was certainly well on its way. She’s always been an avid reader which has helped greatly in her joke repertoire. She’s borrowed joke books from school, laughing at the ones she gets while seeking clarification for ones that she’s not quite sure of.
Lately, she’s been coming up with a lot of her own jokes. Here’s one she told me today and I made sure I wrote it down before I forgot:
Child, “Mom, why was the book blue?”
Mom, “I don’t know. Why?”
Child, “Because it’s not red! Get it, like read the colour red and blue like blue when you’re sad but also blue like the colour!”
Now, I wasn’t sure if my daughter had made this joke up or if she had read it from a joke book and according to her, she made this one up all by herself. I cracked up laughing at the sheer brilliance of it all because honestly, it took some serious brain work to find the homonyms for two colours and use them both in the right context! As it turns out, her capacity to read has helped her once again.
Child, “Mom, did you know that the best jokes are ones that use homonyms?”
Mom, “How did you know that?”
Child, “I read that in H’s joke book. She brought it to school the other day and I read that jokes that use homonyms are the best ones.”
Well, if I was impressed before, now I’m floored. It’s one thing to read information in a book but it’s a whole other ball game to then extrapolate the information and use it appropriately. I’m sure other joke books have a similar joke but for my kid, this was quite the independent creation.
I often feel like children don’t get the credit they deserve for all the hard work they do. Reading isn’t easy. Once you can read, it doesn’t mean you understand all the words you’re reading. Once you understand what you’re reading, you might even want to apply the information you’ve read and you may or may not apply it correctly. That learning process is a dance of trial and error and it is not an easy process. It’s a lot of hard work for children, even if they smile and giggle through it all.
So, next time your child tells you a joke, take a moment to reflect: exactly how much work went into that one joke? After reading today’s post, you might just learn that it’s more than you originally thought!
In case you’re interested, the first image comes from an earlier book review on the Brain Games Kids Daring Doodle Book, click here if you’d like to read it!
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