Jokes are a fun way to speak Spanish to children. There are Spanish jokes at all language levels, and kids love it when they can understand the word play that makes a simple joke work. You can find specific suggestions for telling jokes to kids with ten easy Spanish jokes in this post: First jokes for children learning Spanish. There are also jokes in this post: More jokes for children learning Spanish.
In general, you want to support the language in Spanish jokes as much as possible by providing a context. For example, tell joke #1 below and point to a pair of glasses. Tell #3 when you are playing ball. Also, use gestures and lots of expression in your voice when you tell any joke.
Depending on the child, and the joke, you may find yourself explaining why it is supposed to be funny. That is often the case with jokes in English, too. The language experience is still valuable as long as the word play is something your child can understand once you explain it, even if she does not catch it when she hears the joke the first time.
Educators and parents can usually tell which Spanish 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.
Suggestions for telling the following Spanish jokes
Some jokes work especially well if you are in a class situation and can write on the board as you tell the joke. This is true of #2, #4 and #6 below. In #2, for example, write the word otoño on the board and count the letters o – tres o..muy bien! In #4, if you write the name Largo on the board, the capital letter supports the word nombre and helps kids understand the premise of the joke. In #6, you can write the letter d on the board, then Jaimito’s answer, ayer, pointing out the initial a. Then write domingo when Jaimito explains his answer.
Spanish jokes with English words
Many children in Latin American and Spain speak enough English to use both languages in jokes. There are many jokes based on the sounds of the two languages or some confusion involving the meaning of words. Jokes #7 and #8 are jokes that use Spanish and English. Below, first I have given the Spanish version, where the joke itself is in Spanish and there is one English word. Both of these jokes also work in English with just one Spanish word. Children who are just beginning to learn Spanish might like to tell the jokes this way, so I have put that version at the end of the post.
Spanish jokes for children
1. You can use the word lentes or gafas for glasses. Use the word your child knows. The joke works either way.
Un niño entra a una tienda y le dice al vendedor:
– Quiero comprar unos lentes, por favor.
El vendedor le pregunta:
– ¿Para el sol?
Y el niño responde:
– No. ¡Para mí!
(A child goes into a store and says to the salesperson:
I want to buy some glasses, please.
The salesperson asks:
– For the sun?
The child answers:
– No, for me!
This joke is based on the word for sunglasses in Spanish, lentes para el sol or gafas para el sol, which is literally glasses for the sun.)
2. En la escuela la profesora pregunta:
– María, dime una palabra que tenga muchas “o”.
Y María responde:
– Otoño, profe.
– Muy bien, María. Ahora tú, Pepito.
Pepito se queda pensando y dice…
(In school the teacher asks:
– María, tell me a word with lots of “o”
And María answers:
– Very good, María. Now you, Pepito.
Pepito thinks for a moment and then says…
This joke is based on the way you say goal, gol, in Spanish when a team scores in soccer.)
3. Dos ovejas están jugando a la pelota y se les va la pelota. Una oveja le dice a la otra:
Y la otra le dice:
– ¡Beeeeeeeee tú!
(Two sheep are playing ball and the ball gets away from them. One sheep says to the other:
Go! – this sounds the same as the sound a sheep makes in Spanish
And the other says:
You go! – this sounds the same as the sound a sheep makes in Spanish
This joke is based on the sound a sheep makes in Spanish, beeeeee, being the same as the command go, ve. Ve is the informal command form of ir.)
4. Entra un nuevo maestro al salón y se presenta:
– Buenos días, mi nombre es Largo.
– No importa, tenemos tiempo.
(A new teacher comes into class and introduces himself:
– Good morning, my name is Long.
– It doesn’t matter. We’ve got time.
This joke works the same way in Spanish or English. The word for long is largo. Jamito answers as if it is an adjective referring to his name rather than his name.)
5. This is a good joke for kids who have learned names of oceans, rivers or mountains. You can change the geography to fit what they have learned. If possible, point to a map to reinforce the place names. I have also told this joke to university classes as an example of the subjunctive following verbs of influence.
Se reúnen cinco niños ricos y dice el primero:
Le voy a decir a mi papi que me compre el Océano Pacífico.
Y luego dice otro:
Le voy a decir a mi papi que me compre el Océano Atlántico.
Y luego otro:
Le voy a decir a mi papi que me compre el Mar Caribe.
Y el cuarto dice:
Le voy a decir a mi papi que me compre el Golfo de México.
Y el último dice:
¡Pues yo le voy a decir a mi papi que no les venda nada!
(Five rich kids get together and the first one says:
I’m going to tell my dad to buy me the Pacific Ocean.
And another says:
I’m going to tell my dad to buy me the Atlantic Ocean.
And another says:
I’m going to tell my dad to buy me the Caribbean Sea.
And the fourth one says:
I’m going to tell my dad to buy me the Gulf of Mexico.
And the fifth one says:
I’m going to tell my dad not to sell you guys anything!)
6. La maestra pregunta:
– Jaimito, dime una palabra que empiece por «d».
Y Jaimito responde:
La maestra le dice:
– Ayer empieza por «a» y no por «d».
Y Jaimito dice:
– Es que ayer era domingo.
(I have changed the letters in the translation so that the joke still works.
The teacher asks,
– Jaimito, tell me a word that starts with “s”.
And Jaimito answers:
The teacher says:
– Yesterday starts with “y,” not with “s.”
And Jaimito says:
– But yesterday was Sunday.)
7. – Maestra, ¿qué quiere decir «why»?
– ¿Por qué?, responde la maestra.
– Por saberlo.
(What does “why” mean?
– ¿Por qué? – the Spanish equivalent of why
– Because I want to know.
This joke is based on the child thinking that she is asking him a question rather than giving the answer.)
8. – Maestra, ¿qué quiere decir «nothing»?
– Nada, responde la maestra.
– Algo querrá decir, ¿no?
(What does “nothing” mean?
– Nada – the Spanish word for nothing
– It has to mean something, doesn’t it?
This joke is based on the child thinking that she has said that the word does not mean anything, rather than giving the answer.)
English jokes with Spanish words
The last two jokes can also be told in English with just one Spanish word. Children who are just beginning to learn Spanish might like to tell the jokes this way.
– What does the Spanish word por qué mean?
– Because I want to know!
– What does the Spanish word nada mean?
– But it has to mean something, doesn’t it?