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What Makes Kids Laugh

Chuck Bakinderchuck

Kids love to laugh. They need to laugh. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without humor, children never really live.

God has given people the capacity to laugh. This ability sets human beings above all living creatures and shows up best in children. Somehow laughter is linked with the soul's health.

You may not be a stand-up comic, but God can use you to give children the best medicine-laughter. Let's look at how you can make kids laugh.

SILLY SONGS

Do you know any funny songs? What about funny motions to songs? If not, learn some.

I recommend Hosanna Integrity's tapes for children featuring Rob Evans, The Donut Man. These tapes contain great praise songs and scriptural silliness songs. Mary Rice Hopkins also has fun songs enhanced by participation antics (A Kid's Praise! Company).

Any time you get kids flapping like ducks, waving their hands, hopping on one leg or scratching their neighbor's back, you've got fun. The next time you sing the well-worn-out "Father Abraham," replace the old motions with these: rub your tummy, pat your head, kick a foot, stick out your tongue while singing, sit down. You'll add new life to an old song!

VOICES

Tickle your kids' funny bones with a cadre of voices. In reading, storytelling and singing, fluctuate your voice. Imitate famous people or foreign accents as you read. You can make the dog "meow" or give the macho man a high lady's voice. You can even give the little girl the voice of an all-star wrestler.

SAY WHAT?

Did you hear about the hit man who was contracted to blow up a car? He burned his lips on the exhaust pipe.

Most jokes head down one path and deliver on another. This incongruence makes it funny. When you deviate from the expected results, you're in laugh territory. Have you ever tried to read the wrong words into a book a child knows well? Even the menial task of walking up steps can be funny. You can galump, galump, galump like a Dr. Seuss character would, tap dance up and down the stairs or pretend to forget if you're going up or down the stairs. Take a few seconds and think of three more funny ways.

LOOKS CAN KILL

Certain looks are just plain funny. If you can be expressive, your face is the best visual aid ever made. How silly you're willing to be is based on your security and your desire to win a place in children's hearts.

Kids love to dress up and be dressed up. Kids in costumes, wigs, masks and hats will spruce up your stories or role plays. For your next congregational announcement (bake sale), get the pastor in a wig and an apron. The kids won't be the only ones laughing.

So go ahead. Make some kids laugh today. You might find yourself having the time of your life as well.

Chuck Bakinderchuck is a children's specialist and lives in Michigan.


STOP LAUGHING
Humor is appropriate in most settings. But don't laugh if:

  • a child's grieving.
  • the humor demeans a child's self-esteem.
  • the humor is at the expense of a child.
  • you think the Holy Spirit wouldn't laugh either.


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