A Laugh Is A Smile That Bursts. » Mary H. Waldrip
When I was in the classroom, I made sure 4 things happened everyday : we would read together; sentences would be written, math problem solving would take place; and, no matter what ~ we would laugh together about something.
Everyday after lunch we gathered to discuss & solve social problems (class meetings) and listen to the next chapter of a read-aloud. Students took turns each day reading a riddle to solve and a joke to amuse. This daily, mini activity did A LOT to ease possible leftover tension from the class meeting and, also, provide a brain-break from “school” content.
Reading a funny chapter book was icing on the cake!
AND it ALWAYS was an instant breath of fresh air for me…. Nothing is more delightful than the spontaneous laughter of children !
I felt developing and maintaining a sense of humor with my students was part of their education. Learning when to laugh and what to laugh at is, to me, a critical part of children’s social and emotional development. Think ~ nervous laughter…
Laughter’s Power & Benefits
An article I read on the site Kids Health.org from Nemours, a pediatric health system, supported my opinion regarding the power of laughter, especially as a developmental tool in children. “Encouraging Your Child’s Sense of Humor” was reviewed by one of the pediatricians on staff, Mary L. Gavin.
Studies have shown laughter is a positive way to connect with others, and a well-developed sense of humor can make children smarter, happier, and healthier. It, also, helps them/us cope with life’s challenges, like moving/uprooting, teasing, bullying.
This important life tool gives us the ability to:
- see things from many different perspectives
- be spontaneous
- think “outside the box”
- find joy & participate in the playful aspects of life
- not take ourselves too seriously
- battle illness/physical problems, like pain, stress, digestion
The Developmental Stages of Humor
Children, especially very young children, giggle 100s of times EVERYDAY! And as they grow older…..
Of course, what has a Toddler in stitches ~ think silly songs & rhymes, bubbles & puppies ~ will only, maybe, make a school-aged child smirk.
With all the new vocabulary being tossed around in the classroom, Wordplay takes a front and center place beginning in Kindergarten ~ think Dr. Seuss with nonsensical words & characters.
They enjoy repeating a simple joke again and again , especially if it rewards them with a giggle or two ~ even a smile will do.
Exaggeration and physical humor (slapstick) is very funny at this stage. Few children will NOT laugh at their peers physical foibles, unless s/he is harmed.
Older grade-school children like puns, riddles and gross-out jokes. Peer-deviations in behavior & dress are, also, targets for “humor”.
And, then, there’s the merciless “dark” humor of adolescence….
Where’s Your Sense of Humor !?!
Here are a few things you can do encourage your child’s sense of humor:
- Make jokes
- Tell funny stories
- Laugh out loud ~ often
- Encourage your child’s attempts at humor: drawing “funny” pictures, reading from a joke book, observing humorous interactions
- Watch comedies together
- Take time to explain to your child why certain “jokes” are NOT FUNNY.
UUHHH ~ That’s NOT Funny…..
Since a sense of humor is taught behavior, it’s up to you to set some guidelines.
Making fun of another person’s challenges and/or culture is not funny, whether physical, mental or emotional.
Just because others are laughing in a mean way, doesn’t automatically give any one permission to laugh. A “that’s not funny..” response shows character and conscience. However, it can, also,be risky in a room full of guffaws…..
Teaching your child when & where a joke is to be told is really important as well.
Monitoring your “adult” sense of humor is very valuable because, “well, you think that’s funny…” Think ~ audience.
Reading funny books together is a perfect time to teach your child what is funny and what is just mean & off-color.
Here’s a List of 20 Funny Books you and yours can enjoy & , together, fall out of your chairs.
Grade Levels 1-4 Books for Smiling, Giggling & Laughing Out Loud
I collected this List of Funny Books from my classroom experiences as well as the sites: imaginationsoup, childhood101 & greatschools.
These 20 funny books are wonderful read-alouds for you to share and will probably be re-read independently as your child’s reading level grows. You may even hear the stories being shared aloud with younger siblings.
These book titles are all part of a Series, which is great for continued readings. They are randomly listed with page amounts and Grade Level interests.
- NARWHAL & JELLY Series ~ Ben Clanton 64pgs / GL: 1-4
- DORY Series ~ Abby Hanlon 160pgs / GL: 1-3
- UNICORN IN NEW YORK Series ~ Rachel Hamilton 128pgs / GL : 2-5
- STICK DOG Series ~ Tom Watson 192pgs / GL: 2-7
- AMELIA BEDELIA Chapter Book Series ~ Herman Parish 160pgs / GL: 1-5
- ROSCOE RILEY Series ~ Katherine Applegate 128pgs / GL: 1-5
- FRANKIE PICKLE Series ~ Eric Wight 96pgs / GL: 2-5
- RAMONA QUIMBY Series ~ Beverly Cleary 240pgs / GL:3-7
- COCO BANJO Series ~ NJ Gemmell 192pgs / GL: 1-3
- BROBOT Series ~ James Foley 112pgs / GL: 2-5
- DRAGONS LOVE TACOS Series ~ Adam Rubin 40pgs / GL: K-3
- TWITCH THE SQUIRREL Series ~ Vivian V. Velde 80pgs / GL: 1-4
- PRINCESS IN BLACK Series ~ Shannon Hale 96pgs / GL: K-3
- IVY & BEAN Series ~ Annie Barrows 120pgs / GL: 1-5
Solo Trade Books
These funny Book Titles stand alone, though the authors may have written additional books in the Humor Genre.
- THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS ~ Jon Scieszka 32pgs / GL: 2-4
- FROODLE ~ Antoinette Portis 32pgs / GL: K-3
- EXCLAMATION MARK ~ Amy K Rosenthal 40pgs / GL: K-3
- DIARY OF A WORM ~ Doreen Cronin 40pgs / GL: K-3
- ANIMALS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT WEAR CLOTHING ~ Judy Barrett 32pgs / GL: K-3
- THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER ~ Kevin Henke 240pgs / GL: 2-7
Hope some of these 20 funny books send you and yours leaping onto Laughter Lane.
Need more Tips and/or Book Titles?
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