Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


College or School



Family Studies

Program or Major

Young Childhood Development

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Corinna Tucker


The purpose of this honors thesis is to document the types of humorous occurrences among 2-3-yearold children and then to describe the relationship between children’s humor during circle time and teacher-child interactions, noting how teachers respond to these humorous occurrences. I conducted my observations at the Child Study Development Center in the Nursery II classroom, which included one head teacher and 19 children. I audiotaped and photographed my observations and took notes on two tables. One table included recording linguistic humor and non-linguistic humor occurrences, or humor involving words and humor involving movement, and the other table included teacher responses to humorous occurrences (Craig-Unkefer & Fitzgerald, 2008). My findings show that the majority of humorous occurrences stem from children’s incongruent body movements and group discussion during story time. Furthermore, when the teacher extends or scaffolds a humorous occurrence, there is whole-group discussion with attentive listening from children. When a teacher rejects or ignores humor, the humor either stops or the behavior is labeled as inappropriate by the teacher and the children are redirected to what is expected of them. I discuss why humor in the classroom is important for educators to use to enhance young children’s learning.