Spanish jokes are a fun way to expose children to the language. There are jokes at all language levels, and kids learning Spanish love it when they can understand the word play that makes a simple joke work.
These Spanish jokes use slightly more complicated structures than First jokes for children learning Spanish but are still simple enough for language learners to understand. Some depend on the way sounds combine in Spanish, or on how the meaning of a word changes when the gender of the noun is changed. You may have to explain the joke, but that is okay. That is often the case with jokes in English, too. In particular, you may have to break down the sounds in jokes that depend on the double meaning of words that run together. For example, in #7, you may have to explain that ¿espera? (wait) is ¿es pera? (a pear), or that in #11 sincero (sincere) is sin cero (without a zero). Children will learn if they can understand the joke once you explain it.
If possible, establish a context for when you tell Spanish jokes. For example, tell #1, about the waiter and the fish, when you are eating in a restaurant, or #7 about la manzana and la pera when you can point to an apple or a pear. Change your voice for the characters in the joke and use gestures to make the meaning of the Spanish clearer. For example, look up when you tell #3.
Educators and parents can usually tell which jokes use structures and vocabulary that their children will understand. You can always teach specific words to tell a joke, especially if there are visual cues to give the words meaning.
Here are a few jokes to tell to children learning Spanish:
1. – Mesero, ¿el pescado viene solo? – No, se lo traigo yo.
(Waiter, does the fish come solo? Solo here means without side dishes, but it can also mean by itself. -No, I bring it.)
2. ¿Qué le dice un semáforo a otro? – ¡No me mires porque me estoy cambiando!
(What does one stoplight say to the other? - Don’t look at me; I’m changing!)
3. ¿Por qué miran hacia arriba las focas? Porque allí están los focos.
(This joke is based on how the meaning of the word foca changes when the gender changes. It doesn’t make sense in English, but the meaning is: Why do seals look up? Because that is where the lightbulbs are. foca-seal, feminine; foco-light bulb, masculine)
4. Una ratita se encuentra con otra ratita y le pregunta:
- ¿Qué haces, ratita?
- Espero un ratito.
(One little girl rat meets another little girl rat and asks
-What are you doing?
-I’m waiting a little while./ I’m waiting for a little boy rat.
This joke is also based on a change of gender changing the meaning. Esperar un ratito is a very common phrase. Ratito means a little while, but also a little boy rat.)
5. – ¿Quieres que te cuente un chiste al revés?
- Empieza a reírte.
(Do you want me to tell you a joke backwards? Yes. Start laughing.)
6. – ¿Cómo está tu hijo pequeño?
- Hace tres meses que camina.
- Pues, ¡ya debe estar muy lejos!
(-How is your little boy? -He’s been walking for three months. - He must be really far away by now!)
7. Una manzana está esperando el autobús. Llega un plátano y le pregunta:
- ¿Hace mucho que usted espera?
Y la manzana responde:
- ¡Soy manzana!
(An apple is waiting for the bus. A banana comes up and asks “Have you been waiting long?” The question sounds exactly the same as ¿Hace mucho que usted es pera? which means “Have you been a pear for long?” The apple answers, “I’m an apple!”)
8. Había un tomate y una pera en la parada del autobus. El tomate le pregunta a la pera -¿Hace mucho que espera?
- Desde que nací.
[This joke is based on the same confusion of sounds as #7. A tomato and a pear were waiting at the bus stop. The tomato asked the pear, “Have you been waiting long?” (also meaning, Have you been a pear long?) - Ever since I was born.]
9. ¿Qué le dijo la Luna al Sol? -¡Tan grande y no te dejan salir de noche!
(What did the moon say to the sun? - So big and they don’t let you go out at night!)
10. ¿Cuál es el animal que es animal dos veces?
– El gato, porque es gato y araña.
(This joke is based on the verb arañar, to scratch, and the word araña which means spider. What animal is two animals? - A cat, because he is a cat and a spider/he scratches.)
11. – ¿Qué le dice el 1 al 10?
- Para ser como yo, debes ser sincero.
(What does the 1 say to the 10?
- To be like me, you have to be sincere/ without a zero.
This joke is based on the identical sound of the adjective sincero, sincere, and the phrase sin cero, without a zero.)