Children's Jokes, Riddles, and Plays On Words

On-Camera Joke

What is black and white and re(a)d all over?

Give up?

A newspaper!


If this joke makes no sense to you, you are on the same level as many American children who are learning English as their first language.  One purpose of humor is to teach our children that words have more than one meaning.

In the case of this classic American joke, the word “red/read” has more than one meaning.  If it’s spelled one way, it’s a color.  If it’s spelled another way, it’s a verb.

If you appreciate the double meanings of words, then you are probably a good joke teller—in English or in your native language.





Here are some more riddles with double meanings for the kids in your life.

Question: What has one head, one foot, but no legs?

Answer: A bed.

Question: What is an insect's favorite sport?

Answer: Cricket.

Question: Why can't a leopard hide from anyone?

Answer: Because it's always spotted.

Question: Why do lions not like to eat clowns?

Answer: Because they taste funny.

Question: What's worse than raining cats and dogs?

Answer: Hailing taxis.

If you—and your children—like these riddles, click here to read more.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.