There’s nothing nicer than seeing your child fully enjoying a great big silly laugh. It’s good for them too! It strengthens immune systems, and is great for their lungs and heart. It even helps us mums tone our post-baby bellies! Here are 10 activities to make your kids laugh.
1 Music to laugh by
Put the kids’ CDs aside for a day and get some new music that doesn’t drive you insane. Libraries have a great selection. The more you enjoy the song, the more your kids will enjoy it too. Then involve the whole family in a dance party, the crazier and sillier the dance moves the better!
2 Peekaboo in the car
It seems babies and toddlers get endless enjoyment out of this simple game, which can be played in a variety of ways. For those boring times waiting in the car, try playing this game by hiding behind your seat’s headrest. Your child will be entertained and giggling without you even undoing your seatbelt!
3 Munch munch monsters
Make a puppet or toy pretend to eat things that your child feeds it. Make loud munching and yum noises, spit some out dramatically, and ‘accidentally’ eat their fingers. They will be totally thrilled and with a bit of imagination, puppet play is unlimited.
4 Crawling chase
Even if your child can walk, playing crawling chase games are heaps of fun. Children love to see their parents down at their level and it can turn into great rough and tumble time, or horsey rides. Crawling hide and seek can be played as young as 9 months and is a great game for older children to play with their baby brother or sister.
If you’re lacking in inspiration, take some from kids shows. A Hi Five circus DVD could be the start of an afternoon of acrobatics. Young toddlers to school children all enjoy rolling, standing in funny poses and dressing up like clowns. Older kids could put on their own circus show, make costumes and paint their faces (and yours too!).
We play this game while reading the Strong Yellow Digger, but it could be used anytime. Pretend you are a digger, using your head to give the kids a nudge. Wrestle them around and make digger sounds and you’ll have them in hysterics. Other great stories for acting out are We’re going on a bear hunt by Helen Oxenbury, or classics such as The three little pigs, and Goldilocks and the three bears.
7 Change the words
Children from about age 3 love word play and especially enjoy correcting our mistakes. Read a familiar book and swap some of the words. Call something the wrong name or colour. Make up your own nonsense words and songs together. Try having fun with names too, rhyming words with their name, making up pirate names or silly name songs (check out the Willoughby Wallaby Woo song on YouTube!).
8 Do something unexpected!
Life is full of routines, so for a bit of fun shake one of them up for a day. Have dessert before dinner, get the kids to brush your teeth and do your hair instead of you doing theirs, or throw a pyjama party in the middle of the day. For other memorable family moments, try fish and chips in the back of the car on a rainy day, or wrap up warm for a winter picnic at the beach.
9 Funny food
Give food silly names or sounds, like cat-corn that goes ‘meow’ when you eat it. Have a noisy eating night where it’s compulsory to slurp, burp and munch loudly (make sure you have appropriately noisy food and fizz for full effect). Try colouring the food on special occasions, e.g. on St Patricks Day, serve up green eggs and ham – they’ll never forget it!
10 Laugh to learn
Do something new together, whether it’s the golf driving range, ice-skating or learning rolly pollies. Keep it light and silly. If you laugh at your mistakes, they will laugh at theirs. Try learning one of these cheap and funny instruments: a kazoo, ukelele or harmonica.
By Kelly Eden-Calcott
More entertainment and games from tots to teens: