Don’t you just love watching your kids develop a sense of humor? I get such a kick out of the things my grandchildren find funny. I wish I could bottle up every silly story, expression, giggle, and laugh and save them for a rainy day!
Once children reach age six or seven, they’re ready to start having fun with humor in their writing. Even if your child is a bit on the serious side, here’s a brainstorming activity designed to help kids think about ideas and plan a funny story.
It’s a great activity to try during one of your homeschool writing lessons.
Read some funny picture books together. Depending on your child’s age, you can find some great funny-bone ticklers out there!
Since your goal is simply to introduce humor in writing, use this time to read short books with simple yet humorous themes, even if your child’s reading level is more advanced. Here are a few suggestions:
- Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
- Amelia Bedelia books
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
- The Duchess Bakes a Cake
Prepare a blank comic strip for your child to fill in. Divide a sheet of unlined paper into six equal blank squares to resemble a comic strip. Make the squares as large as possible, perhaps in two rows of three.
Draw a simple mind map or story web on a sheet of paper. Draw a circle in the middle and six lines extending out from the circle to resemble a web.
Plan a Funny Story
When teaching young children to write, make sure brainstorming is part of the process. Chatting about ideas together and writing them down for your child make brainstorming time fun and low-key.
Today, you’ll use a comic strip format to brainstorm for and plan a funny story. If your child is not familiar with comic strips, show some examples from the newspaper or comics.com.
1. Choose a main character. Ask your child to choose a main character for the funny story (animals, birds, or dinosaurs make good subjects).
2. Think of a story idea that features the main character. If they can’t decide on an original funny story idea, encourage using an idea from a comic or humorous story they already know.
3. Fill in the story web.
- Write the topic in the center circle of the story web.
- Write the details of the story on the story web. Gently prompt your kids to suggest the details by asking:
Who is the main character of this story?
What happened in the beginning of the story?
What happened next?
Tell me something really funny that happened.
How did the story end?
- Write down ideas for a title on the story web.
Draw the Comic Strip
Children will not need to do any writing for this activity.
- Give them the blank comic strip you prepared. Ask them to draw one picture in each frame using the details from the story web.
- Since this is the brainstorming stage, discourage her from drawing the pictures in detail. Simple stick figures are best.
Write the Funny Story (optional)
The ideas are all there, but it’s not a story quite yet!
If your children show interest, help them convert their comic strip ideas into a story. For best results, set aside the brainstorming and wait a day or two before writing the story.
Invite the kids to describe what’s happening in each frame of the comic strip as you write their words. As needed, prompt them with questions to draw out more details. Older kids or confident writers may want to write their own stories.
Draw and Write Journals for Kids in styles for boys and girls work great because they have a space to draw a picture and lines beneath for text. Using six pages of the journal, invite them to flesh out their comic book pictures, one per page. On the lines beneath, you (or the child) can write the part of the story that’s happening in that frame.
Writing a funny story is just one of the many fun and creative projects and activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. In Book B, children learn to write a funny story using the steps of the writing process, beginning with prewriting and brainstorming and ending with a published final draft.
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