Clown Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Do you know what kind of skills a clown must learn to make people laugh? In this lesson, discover the different types of clowns. Find out what famous actors went to clown college.

Clowning Around

Have you ever tried to make someone laugh on purpose? Was it easy or hard? A clown is an artist or performer who tries to make people laugh. But becoming a clown isn't easy. Many people think all a clown has to do is paint his or her face, dress in funny clothes, wear a red nose, and act like a fool. But this isn't really what clowning is all about. In fact, getting accepted into a respected clown school can be very difficult. Let's find out more about clowns.


It is said that laughter is the best medicine and it has been proven that people feel better after laughing. It's good for them. This is one reason clowns are important. But where did clowning begin?

Clowns go back to ancient times, to civilizations in Egypt, China, and Greece. There were clown roles in Native American societies as well. In the Middle Ages, there was the court joker, also known as the jester. You might recognize a jester as a fool with a three-pointed hat with bells on the ends, entertaining the king and queen and their guests. Later, in the mid-1700s, clowns began to appear in circuses.

Cartoon of a Jester

Types of Clowns

Did you know there are several different types of clowns?

Whiteface Clown

The most familiar, and oldest clown, is the Whiteface. The Whiteface wears white greasepaint, which is a waxy type of makeup, and often has a wide red or black mouth. He is considered to be the smartest type of clown and is usually in charge when performing at a circus. They often have fancy outfits and do physical tricks, too.

Auguste Clown

Have you ever seen a clown get hit with a pie in the face? If you have, it was probably the Auguste (pronounced oh-goost) clown. This clown usually wears lots of colors and may have funny outfits, wigs, and enormous shoes.

According to legend, this clown got its start in the late 1800s when a horse rider for a circus decided to dress up in the owner's suit, which was much too big for him, and make fun of him. The owner was so mad he started to chase the man, and they ended up in the circus ring. The audience believed this was part of the show!

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