A1 Journal article – refereed
Clowns and explosions: Drawings as reflections of children’s humor

List of Authors: Juli-Anna Aerila, Timo Laes, Tuula Laes
Publisher: Early Childhood Education Association of Finland
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Education Research
Journal acronym: JECER
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 1
eISSN: 2323-7414


Using and understanding humor is important for every child. Humor
enhances well-being and helps children cope with different situations
they face in social interaction. However, children’s humor is not widely
researched. In this study, we investigate the humor of Finnish children
and evaluate, whether there are gender differences in their individual
use of humor. The research design of this study is inspired by Roger
Piret (1941). His aim was to understand the development and features of
children’s humor by asking them to draw pictures, which would make
others laugh. The data of this study is collected during year 2013 in
Finnish primary schools. The data consist of 143 drawings made by 72
boys and 71 girls aged 6 to 8 years. The drawings are analyzed trough
qualitative content analysis using Piret’s categories of children’s
humorous pictures as a framework. The main data were supported by
children’s individual narrations based on their drawings and the
observations of the researchers. The results of this study indicate that
Piret’s research model could still be a valid and child-centered method
for contemporary humor research. The study highlights the differences
in the humor between boys and girls. For boys humor is about surprising
and entertaining others and their drawings are full of action, imaginary
characters and aggressive elements. In girls’ drawings humor seems to
aim at delighting others and the connection to real life experiences is
apparent. However, both genders seem to appreciate and understand each
other’s humorous drawings. The results of this study serve as an example
of the versatile possibilities of children’s individual drawings and
gives both the educators and researchers perspectives to the complexity
of the individual sense of humor.

Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 04:42