How to Make a Small Child Laugh

Giggling can be positive bonding time.

The sound of a little child’s laughter can lift the spirits and entertain the senses like nothing else. If you’ve got a toddler or preschooler in tow, employ a trick or two to illicit a few chuckles, giggles and even belly laughs. Kids often laugh easily, so if you just let yourself be silly, you’re likely to have success in getting a little one to let loose.

Surprise your child by making a goofy face. Crossing your eyes, sticking out your tongue, blowing up your cheeks or pulling your eyes, nose or mouth into a strange contortion is often good for a giggle.

Make a silly and unexpected noise toward your child. If you can accompany it with a funny face, all the better. Don’t plan it, though, just let loose with a string of nonsense noise to illicit a laugh from your child.

Try an entertaining little game to get a laugh. Try peekaboo, follow the leader or the old stand-by “look at me, I’m so weird” usually go over well with the little guys, according to the KidsHealth website.

Blow raspberries on the little one’s tummy or tickle his neck or his feet. Once you get a giggle, tone it down a bit to ensure that you don’t overwhelm the child, however. Because tickling can illicit an uncontrollable response -- laughing -- it might make a child feel powerless or vulnerable, warns psychologist Laura Markham with the Aha! Parenting website. Keep tickling short and sweet to ensure it stays positive.

Sing a silly song or change the words of a standard song to make the song goofy. You might even personalize a song to make the words fit your child for extra entertainment. Even something as simple as “Row, row row your giraffe, gently down the street” might tickle your child’s funny bone.

Head outside and play an active game in the yard or at the park to get your child giggling. You might just let your child chase you around on the grass, pretending that you can’t quite get away and finally letting him tackle you down. A little one might find this uproariously funny.


Laughter can actually exercise the body, according to information published on the Neuroscience for Kids website, with the University of Washington. A good laugh can increase the heart rate and force muscles to work in coordination. Laughter may even give the immune system a positive boost. (ref 3)