Imagine the Caption – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Imagine the Caption

Write a funny caption for a cartoon! In this activity, children stretch their imagination to invent a silly description for a cartoon.

Materials Required

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil (something to write with)
  • Illustrations (provided below)


1. Choose one of the illustrations below.

2. Write as many captions as you can for the picture. The more captions, the better.

3. Review the list of captions. Select a favorite and share with others.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Draw an original cartoon. Have a friend create a caption.
  • Turn the activity into a group contest. Have multiple children do the activity and then pick the caption that is most creative or most uncommon as a winner.

Links to Creativity

Sometimes what makes something funny is how it surprises you. In fact, a quality of funny is when a common association is turned on its head, or what is called a resolution of incongruity (i.e., making sense of the silly). Typically, a good joke tricks you into thinking the ending is obvious and then it provides a surprise at the end.

Supporting research includes:

Filipowicz, A. (2006). From positive affect to creativity: The surprising role of surprise. Creativity Research Journal18(2), 141-152.

O’Quin, K., & Derks, P. (1997). Humor and creativity: A review of the empirical literature. In M. A. Runco (Ed.), The Creativity Research Handbook (Vol. 1) (pp. 223-252). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Although caption contests have existed for a long time, we are particularly inspired by Robert Mankoff’s Caption Contest at the New Yorker. For more information and resources see Illustrations by Daniel Jones. ©2015 Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Imagine the Caption

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