Simple and silly ways to get your baby laughing

The greatest show in your house: simple and silly ways to get your baby laughing

Under the Big Top that is our house, my wife is Ringmaster, Tightrope Walker, Juggler and Lion Tamer all rolled into one. (She also manages somehow to be sweeter than cotton candy through it all.)

Me? I’m the Clown.

While she’s keeping the balls in the air and the safety nets carefully maintained, it often falls to me to amuse our audience of two boys (9 years old and 19 months old). The 9-year-old’s easy: a slip and fall, a fart noise or two, and he’s got his money’s worth. But the toddler’s a tough crowd.

Luckily, thanks to years of comparing notes with fellow clowns (and lots of practice), I’ve got a clown car’s worth of (mostly) surefire ways to get a giggle. Of course, many of these are classics but some may be new to you. Either way, these simple tricks will have you well on your way to becoming The Greatest Show in Your House.

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Classic clowning: the go-to giggle-getters  

How to get your baby laughing: classic clowning

Peekaboo: This one’s been around since the circus was training woolly mammoths.
Zerberts: a.k.a. “raspberries.” Perform anywhere on the baby (but they don’t call ’em belly laughs for nothing).
Tickle attack: Soft touch + baby soft skin = giggles with the greatest of ease.
Circus peanuts: Pretending to snack on your baby can be a real crowd-pleaser. Start with the toes and work your way up.

Center ring: spotlight's on you  

How to get your baby laughing: center ring spotlight's on you

Silly speak: Babies dig nonsense words (Splazz-ma-ta-loo) and real ones, too (Zzzipperrr).
Elephant ride: Babies love parents and animals. Be both! Remember to trumpet.
Dancing bear: One of the few times being a bad dancer is a good thing.
Face time: One face, endless possibilities…and it won’t freeze like that. “Rotten Eggs” and “Cross-eyed Clown” are good ones.

Props, please: a clown’s best friend  

How to get your baby laughing: props are a clown's best friend

Let ’er rip: The rrriiiiiiipppp of tearing paper is funny to many babies. And now you’ve got something to do with all your junk mail.
Pie in the face: Your face, of course. No baked goods handy? A pillow works, too!
Honkin’ honker: Clowns have their noses, but anything that honks, toots or beeps will do.
Circus animals: Pets are performers, too. Pretend to ride the dog, dance with the cat, juggle the fish…they’re your pets, you know what they can do!

Jake Gahr is a Hallmark writer, husband and father of two boys and several pets. He spends his free time wondering where his free time went and loving the circus that is his family.