Best Form of Humor for Kids and Others (Mom/Teacher Told)

It’s widely said that the lowest form of humor are puns. I’ve also added sarcasm and shock humor to this list here>>The Lowest Form Of Humor- Puns, Sarcasm, Or Shock (Ranked). So with that in mind, what’s the best form of humor, especially for kids and those around kids?

The best form of humor targets its audience appropriately while achieving the goal of being funny. This means jokes are tailored to whom it’s meant for, including age, interests, and mentality as considerations. In addition, the best form of humor doesn’t shock or demean others to be funny.

I admit I’m not naturally funny, but as a mom of four and retired public school teacher, I’ve found it super important to work on my comedic skills. Comedy works wonders for discipline and child control!

Below I’ve shared what I’ve learned from my experiences using humor, research on the best form of humor, what experts have to say on the subject, and some suggestions to guide you, particularly with kids in mind.

One way to build humor with your kids is to use it strategically through routines or regular activities. For instance, our Fun Jokes For Kids Coloring Book is a great tool for embedding humor through kid-friendly activity.

What is meant by best form of humor?

Whether you’re reading The Wonky Donkey or one of the many Lemony Snicket books, you’ll find that humor plays a key role in children’s literature. So knowing this, then, what is it that makes the best form of humor for people, from kids to adults?

What’s meant by the best form of humor can be taken several ways. For one, it’s the opposite of the worst form of humor, which is humor that shocks, insults, or is just too simple like puns. As well, the best form of humor is smart comedy that targets its audience appropriately, children or adults.

Kids love telling jokes, even if they can’t quite explain them or if the jokes have punchlines that don’t make sense.

Worst Forms of Humor:

  • This is humor that insults or demeans.
  • It’s humor that bullies in attempts to be funny.
  • It’s humor that makes fun of their audience, rather than makes their audience laugh.
  • Bad forms of humor are too simple, given no real thought.
  • Worst forms of humor aren’t age appropriate.
  • Bad forms of humor don’t target their audience properly, such as uses technical language or jargon that doesn’t fit the listener.

For humor to be the best, it must be clear to the listener, not just funny to the provider. So a funny joke told to a two-year-old isn’t funny at all if it’s using language or innuendo above the two-year-old’s ability.

Simply put, the best form of humor is unquestioningly funny. Not so simple is making the ‘funny’ part.

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How can I make good humor?

So knowing what makes good humor is just the first step in making ‘good humor.’ What does it take to make good humor?

Making good humor takes more effort than most realize. To be funny, you must know your audience, whether it’s a two-year-old at the breakfast table, a classroom of middle-schoolers, or adults reading your book. Once you properly target your audience, you’re better equipped at tailoring your comedy.

  • To make humor good, then you must also resist the urge to do what makes the lowest forms of humor. Don’t insult; demean; or become vulgar to tell a joke. Usually the only reason people laugh at shock jokes is because they’re shocking…not because they’re funny.
  • Don’t use language that is above your audience either. Sometimes we actually have a funny quip or joke but if you must explain the joke, then the punchline is lost. It’s not good humor!
  • While some are naturally funny, many aren’t, yours truly included! So to make good humor naturally isn’t something realistic for me. So for me and others like me, it’s okay to research for good humor. Read some joke books and comics. Figure out what makes some things funny and learn from it. Here’s an article I wrote about funny books>>Are There Books On Being Funny? (More Than You’d Think)

Comedy is a skill learned, just like many other skills!

  • Just like researching for good humor, practice makes perfect so rehearsing is a way to get better at it and make your humor ‘good’. You can practice alone doing your own monologue but in my experience, the best way to get good at something is to actually do it many times. So even though you might risk embarrassment, practice some humor regularly with your family, friends, or with little ones you encounter. See what makes them smile!
  • Sometimes it’s not way you say but how, so delivery matters too! Be sure to smile when telling jokes, or to pause before punchlines, letting the context sink in, especially if you are working with little kids. Also you want to make sure you have your audience’s attention. Re-telling a joke because some weren’t’ listening isn’t a way to create good humor.
  • And literally, good humor is g-o-o-d. It makes people feel good, both the teller and the listener. Good humor is positive and makes you laugh and smile, not laugh from shock or discomfort. Good humor puts everyone at ease.

Best Humor for Little Kids

Research has been clear to show that the development of humor is an important growth milestone for children, so it’s not being frivolous to want to make little kids laugh and smile.

The best humor for little kids is slapstick comedy and comedy that is unexpected. People falling or acting overly goofy, as well as humor that’s surprising like dad wearing underwear on his head or jumping out and saying ‘boo’, is guaranteed to make most young children smile and/or laugh out loud.

Now of course there are always outliers to this, and it’s important to know your audience to tailor jokes specifically whenever you can.

Kids who are overly shy or easily frightened aren’t going to enjoy you jumping out and yelling, ‘boo!’…not until they are comfortable with it and know that there isn’t anything to be scared of. But in my experience, though, these kids are often the ones who laugh the loudest-over time-from this once they’ve come to expect it. These kids love to play ‘peek-a-boo’ then!

Is peek-a-boo actually good humor, though? Well, yes, for infants and young toddlers! Again, know your audience. Our 6-month-old granddaughter Marcie squeals and giggles with her Opa (my husband/her grandpa) because she enjoys playing these kinds of fun/funny games with him.

Try this:

  • Surprise your littles by wearing their clothes, on your head, of course!
  • Use gibberish language, that they recognize aren’t real words.
  • Speak in crazy, silly tones.
  • Chase them… and pretend to fall down.
  • Yell ‘boo!’ or ‘gotcha’ when they walk by
  • Laugh out loud so that they know something is supposed to be funny and learn to recognize humor tactics.

Best Humor for Bigger Kids

What about the best humor for bigger kids? As parents, grandparents, and teachers we know all too well that as kids get older, they also grow ‘cooler’ somehow, so trying to use humor with them can be tricky.

The best humor for bigger kids like middle school and up is humor that requires extra thought and isn’t overt. This age group prefers humor you have to think about ‘to get’, evoking an exclusive quality. It’s why they often use sarcasm and irony, but I caution relying on it too much for laughs.

Using sarcasm with big kids might be tempting because it’s easy to get teens to laugh from it. However, this humor tactic gravitate towards bad humor qualities like being demeaning, bullying, and vulgarity, so it’s best to avoid these as much as possible.

Instead of resorting to using sarcasm with teens, try other ways to utilize subtle humor. It may take more effort, for sure, but you’ll get better results in the end, making it worth it. And you won’t be reinforcing negative behavior to impressionables!

Jokes that require ‘a second thought’ or deeper thinking are good because these actually support brain growth for big kids (remember, the adult brain isn’t fully developed until age 24). While teens might still laugh at slapstick comedy, you’re actually able to use more covert humor with them since their brains are capable of abstract thought.

What is a humorous character?

Jim Carrey is notorious for playing humorous characters, many ‘off script’ antics included!

So now that you’re getting a better understanding of ‘good humor’ and what’s meant by the best king of humor, let’s look briefly at humorous characters, both real and fake. As a teacher, I know that the most popular books in my classroom were books with funny characters.

A humorous character is a person, fictional or real, known for being able to consistently make people laugh, keeping in mind that he or she follows the guidelines for good humor. In literature and film alike, humorous characters are often used as ‘comic relief’ sidekicks to lower tension and stress.

Below I’ve listed some examples of popular humorous characters/actors in film and television.

Humorous Character by Rowan Atkinson (aka ‘Mr. Bean’)

Rowan Atkinson has popularized his ‘Mr. Bean’ character as humorous with slapstick and silly antics.

Mr. Bean is a fictional character popularized by British actor/comedian, Rowan Atkinson. Mr. Bean has several films but also a kids cartoon series.

Young kids especially enjoy Mr. Bean because of Atkinson’s incorporation of slapstick tactics in his comedy. This character is always fumbling something, falling down, knocking stuff over, and committing utterly embarrassing things, though Mr. Bean is hardly embarrassed.

Little kids such as toddlers don’t always understand what’s happening but they get the funny parts clearly. As well, Mr. Bean rarely talks and verbal language is quite limited on the shows so that’s not a barrier to kids.

Humorous Character by Jim Carrey (aka ‘Ace Ventura’)

Jim Carrey has created many iconic, hilarious characters over the years, but perhaps one that is particularly funny for bigger kids (i.e. middle schoolers and teens) is ‘Ace Ventura.’

The Ace Ventura movies are funny for all ages, as Carrey seamlessly utilizes slapstick too, but there are mature themes and language not suitable for little eyes and ears, causing these films to be rated PG-13 or higher.

Ace sometimes uses sarcasm too, but he’s such a goofball it’s not in its typical ‘demeaning’ way, so the humor in these films (or by most of Carrey’s characters) can be considered ‘humorous characters’ in the truest sense of the definition and are especially good for teens.

Humorous Character by Steve Carrell (aka ‘Michael Scott’)

While Steve Carrell made not have created the ‘Michael Scott’ character, he certainly made it his own.

Almost all adults enjoy The Office, and a big reason is because of ‘Michael Scott’. This is evident since the ratings dropped considerably when Steve Carrell left for greener (i.e. film) pastures.

Carrell created a humorous character out of this ‘boss’ who’s really quite awful, being racist, sexist, and just plain ol’ clueless. But Michael Scott is humorous because of his faults.

This is mostly because despite his faults, he’s actually a nice guy and cares so much for his staff that he thinks of them as family. People find him humorous because they know the silly things he does is not ill-intended, so then, it becomes acceptable to laugh.

This kind of humorous character is especially appealing to adults because the character has ‘heart.’

The Punchline for Best Form of Humor

The punchline for best form of humor is this: realize it’s the opposite of bad humor. The best humor is not mean, shocking, or vulgar. It also must target its audience properly whether the comedy is meant for two-year-olds, twenty-two-year-olds, or eighty-two-year olds!

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Jackie Booe

A mother to four kids, grandmother ("Oma") to a growing number, a retired teacher for over 18 years, and a wife to Mat since 1994, Jackie knows kids and laughter. She holds a license to teach in 3 states and is certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners, with practical experience at all levels. She holds three degrees in the field of education and has taught education courses online at the university level as an adjunct professor, too. She has mentored numerous education interns, hosted professional development for educators, and tutored, in addition to homeschooling her own children.

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