My girl has a way of bringing out the best in me, except when she asks me to tell her jokes. I seriously cringe and even get nervous because I know I’m severely disappointing her. My mind goes absolutely blank and I stare at her anxious 5-year-old face that’s just waiting for her mamá to pay command to her wishes.
Nothing comes out. Not a word.
Then, in a desperate attempt to save the moment — and her mom — she comes up with the genius idea of making up our own jokes.
“You go first,” I tell her.
She comes up with something wildly creative, crazy and fun.
“Tú turno, mamá!” (It’s your turn, mom) And that’s when I throw the ball to dad, wherever he may or may not be at that time.
“Ask your dad; he’s the funny one,” I explain.
“Yeah, that’s why I’m funny, too. Right?” Yes, exactly. Mom is not the funny one.
The above scenario must change.
I gotta tell you it’s really tough to be unfunny when you grow up in Latin America where every single party or reunion ends up with rounds upon rounds of chistes (jokes), and you’re always the one just sitting there laughing with tears streaming down your eyes because they’re so good — even the ones you’ve heard hundreds of times, but you can never remember the punchline.
But, I was never one to tell jokes. And the times I attempted, they just fell flat. It’s just not in me. Period.
No matter how much I know and have made peace with my lack of funniness, I still want to make my girl crack one of her loud and contagious laughs thanks to my jokes. I don’t want to sit there dumbfounded the next time she wants to play “Knock Knock” and all I can come up with is:
Oh, no. Don’t cry about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fun mom, just not funny. I can get silly with no problem ,and we do it a lot; we have wild dance parties in the kitchen and I’m still cool enough to be wanted around her friends. But funny? Nah.
So I will need to turn to good old books and a few apps to help me get a repertoire of simple jokes and riddles I can reach for in a moment of need. I need simple kids jokes that are easy for me to remember and that will stick with her. Jokes that can get us started so that her own imagination can then just run wild and free on its own. She’s a very creative and funny girl — like her dad — and her jokes make absolutely no sense yet, but are hilarious in their own right. We definitely want to nurture that, so mom will have to fake it until she makes it.
National Geographic Kids Just Joking: 300 Hilarious Jokes, Tricky Tongue Twisters, and Ridiculous Riddles 1 of 11We love getting our monthly National Geographic Kids magazine in the mail and this one is a special treat we just ordered.
The jokes, riddles, tongue twisters and more silliness are brought to life through National Geographic's classical style of photography of people and animals.
Order it via Amazon for $6.95
Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids 2 of 11A sample joke from the book:
Q: How do you make a hot dog stand?
A: Take away its chair.
Yeah, a keeper. Simple and short enough to make the little ones laugh.
Buy on Amazon for $4.99
Knock Knock Who’s There: My First Book Of Knock Knock Jokes 3 of 11This one is just perfect for any Knock, Knock loving child like mine.
The jokes are simple and fun, and are even easier for a kid to comprehend because of the colorful illustrations. They will be entertained with pulling back the flaps to uncover the punchline.
Get it on Amazon for $7.99
Kids Jokes — Jokes for Kids by Kids 4 of 11Jokes to have on-hand anytime! The really fun thing about this app is that your kid can also submit his own jokes and then have a blast seeing them appear in the app, if they clear the approval process.
Like this joke submitted by a girl named Mandy:
Q: Why did the streetlight turn red?
A: It was caught changing in the street!
Available in iTunes for the iPod, iPod Touch and iPad for $0.99
The Everything Kids’ Joke Book: Side-Splitting, Rib-Tickling Fun 5 of 11Most likely the most thorough book on kids jokes there is. Not only does it include jokes in a myriad of categories, it also is a how-to-tell-a-good-joke manual of sorts for kids.
Get it on Amazon for $7.95
Phineas and Ferb Laughapalooza Joke Book 6 of 11It's Phineas and Ferb; need I say more?
Find it at Amazon for $3.99
How Do Dinosaurs Laugh Out Loud 7 of 11Dinosaur jokes at their best, with lift-the-flaps to add to the thrill.
Find it on Amazon for $7.99
What Do You Hear When Cows Sing?: And Other Silly Riddles 8 of 11What do you hear when cows sing? MOOsic, of course!
These 22 riddles will make storytime, laugh-out-loud time. The illustrations are fun and the riddles silly. Perfect for our funny little ones.
Available at Amazon for $3.99
Frogs Are Funny!: The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational Muppets Joke Book EVER! 9 of 11If you or your kid is a Muppets fan, then this one is a must-have. The jokes in the book are taken straight from the scripts of the Muppets movies and TV shows.
Throw in your Kermit or Ms. Piggy impersonation and you've got it made!
Get it from Amazon for $10.11
Knock Knock Jokes for Kids 10 of 11Don't get caught without a good Knock Knock joke when you need it the most!
Just turn to this fun app that can either read the jokes out loud to your kid or not. The repertoire is fun and you can search by categories.
Available via iTunes for the iPhone and iPad for free!
Chicken Butt! 11 of 11You know what? What? Chicken butt!
The classic joke is also a book with beautiful illustrations and a silly story that will have all rolling in laughter.
And, I hate to admit, my girl is at the age where the word "butt" somehow makes it into any funny phrase she utters.
Find it at Amazon for $10.36
How about you? Are you a funny mom? It would be great if you could share in the comments below your best kids joke so we can all add to our repertoire!
Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
Read more from me at
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