YouTube videos have nothing on you and your ability to trigger your baby’s sidesplitting sense of humor. All you need is a bit of imagination and some careful observations to start a rip-roaring riot. And no, you don’t have to post your videos, just enjoy the process.
Tap Your Inner Magician
1. Make a favorite toy come to life. Turn your baby’s favorite stuffed animal or toy into a walking and talking puppet. Make it move and supply a funny voice. The unexpected animation and transformation works like a charm.
2. Play peekaboo. Babies love surprises and anything out of the ordinary, and peekaboo works because this classic game for babies delivers in both departments. To mix it up, hide behind a brightly colored blanket, a living-room sofa, chair, or curtains—or head for cover under a coat or a giant stuffed animal. As baby gets older, reverse the action. Cover your cutie’s eyes with his hands and say, “Where did baby go?” Drop his hands and add, “There you are!” Once he gets the joke, prepare to play over, and over, and over.
Make a Joyful Noise
3. Sing silly songs. Bust a tune—even if you can’t carry one. In fact, your baby might like that better. Try a rousing rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” or “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Make the sound of windshield wipers slapping or wah wah like a baby. Moo, like a cow, neigh like a horse, or bark like a dog to trigger a few giggles.
4. Raise the volume. Delight your baby by squeaking when you talk, or by dropping your voice a couple of octaves. Talk like Cookie Monster or Elmo. Strange or unusual sounds can give baby the chuckles.
5. Round up the siblings. Now’s the time when having a few extra kids in the house works wonders (cousins and neighbors’ kids are welcome!). Baby may think that just about anything big sister does is funny. Let an older child sing, dance, jump, drop a spoon, or just be his silly self. (That alone could be hysterical.)
6. Get close to nature. With you there to supervise, live animals can amuse as they lumber around, run, hop, lurch forward, or stare back at baby. Your little one may giggle with delight when your dog yawns, your cat swipes at yarn, or a squirrel climbs a tree. No pets and no wildlife? No problem. Find a local zoo or aquarium.
7. Be a tickle-meister. Even the most stoic baby may easily succumb to tickles. Gently aim for your baby’s chin, feet, inner thighs, tummy, neck, and say, “Mommy’s going to tickle you!” Wiggle your fingers and get closer. Soon, baby will laugh before you get started, anticipating of the tickles and her own reaction.
8. Play pat-a-cake. This is an oldie but goodie that’s sure to bring smiles. Alternate the speed and jazz it up with surprise maneuversand by all means, show those choppers.
9. Get down and dirty. If your baby’s a crawler, scoot around on the floor behind him and say, “I’m going to catch you!” A rousing game of pretend catch can inspire peals of laughter.
10. Be yourself. Sometimes babies find the most normal things funny. Make faces, sneeze, crumble a piece of paper, or answer the doorbell but open a closet. Just be your comical self and baby may laugh again and again.
11. Make mistakes…on purpose. Your cutie will giggle with delightwhen he expects one thing to happen but he witnesses another. Put a shoe on your hand, a glove on your foot, a hat on your elbow. What works here is the surprise—a twist that results in a completely absurd situation. The joke is that he knows what’s supposed to happen but thinks it’s hysterical when it doesn’t.
12. Gobble her up for dinner. Smother your baby with kisses. Nibble on her fingers and toes. Pretend to munch on her belly. Exaggerate the sound effects. She’ll laugh at the unexpected physical sensations and sounds of what you’re doing.