There are some simple strategies for writing jokes that just can’t lose. Let’s start out with jokes that are based on a popular expression.
Every kid has heard some adult say: “He’s got ants in his pants.” Or (just to be fair) “She’s got ants in her pants.” It’s funny to imagine someone jumping around because he (or she) has ants in his (or her) pants. That’s why it could be the punch line for a great joke.
Is there an animal that really could have ants swarming all over its body? You bet! An aardvark breaks into anthills and chows down on the insects inside. As ants rush to safety, some scurry up the aardvark’s long snout. It’s a good thing an aardvark can shut its nostrils tight!
Now that you have an animal in mind, you need to think of a question that hints at the answer. Let’s try this one:
Q: Why did the aardvark jump for joy?
A: It had ants in its pants.
When kids study the solar system, they learn that life on our planet couldn’t exist without a steady stream of light rays from the Sun. Here’s how you can use that science fact and a popular expression to write a great joke:
Q: What did Earth say to the Sun?
A: You’re the light of my life!
Okay, okay. That joke might have gotten a groan instead of a laugh. After all, it’s a little bit sappy.
Next, let’s try a joke that’s more gross and goofy. When someone isn’t brave enough to do something, we say he or she “has no guts.” You can turn that expression into a joke that includes something every kid knows about the human body:
Q: Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road.
A: It had no guts.
Hope that one made you chuckle.
Now it’s your turn. Can you or the kids you know come up with jokes that use the following expressions as punch lines?
• earth science joke: “It was your fault.”
• animal joke: “It has two left feet.”
• space joke: “You’re hot stuff!”
Here’s a book that might help: Terban, Marvin. Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms. New York: Scholastic, 2006. An idiom is an expression that can’t be understood based on the meanings of the individual words. Examples include kicked the bucket, which means “died” or keep tabs on, which means “watch closely.”
Feel free to post your best jokes in the comments. We could all use a good laugh.
Be on the lookout for more joke-writing posts in the future. And check out the Super Silly Science Jokes I post on Friday.