What's funny when you're one year old?

Recently, our former exploration secretary stopped by with her one year old daughter. My District Manager is a sucker for kids and my No. 1 geologist is, as well. Well, we got quite the chuckle fit out of her, and, while everyone was beamin’ at the good time, I began to wonder just what she was laughing about.

Nothing overtly humorous to my adult mind was in play - no jokes, as she doesn’t really speak yet - just hand gestures and smiles, and us laughing a lot. While I’m not a parent, I’ve participated in similar kiddie-wind-ups before, and they do seem to be enjoying it all.

I’m also aware that kids in that toddler (1-3) age range will look to adults for cues when something like falling down happens, and a lot of crying and fussing can be avoided if everyone present steers reaction towards the bright side.

And I’ve noticed that when kids’ sense of humor begin to manifest verbally (5-8?), what seems funny to them sometimes doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

That observation has made me wonder whether or not adopting some of the trappings of what they see in adults’ appreciation of humor is part of the transitional learning process; i.e., they learn to laugh, they perhaps learn some timing, etc., before they really grasp humor intellectually.

Related thoughts would include that: a.) I’ve read (sorry - long time ago - no cite) that, while dogs do, apparently, smile, they do so for humans only and not for other dogs (since I have no cite, go ahead and rip into that), thus that behavior may be interpreted as imitation of the humans they’re around and b.) before my mother taught me to read, I remember picking up books and running my eyes along the lines of type, as I’d observed adults doing.

I suppose I’m knocking at the door of the bigger question of how we learn and assimilate behaviors that make us common with our society, but I’ll start with the smaller question:

What makes something funny when you’re one year old?

What IS humor? What makes us laugh? What is the purpose of making a series of stacatto vocal bursts - ha ha ha ha ha - when we see or hear something which is unexpected or strange?



No serious replies?

Non-threatening surprises, of which peekaboo is a good example.

The appearance of a cat.

You want a serious reply? I’ll do my best to oblige :wink: .

First, please have a look at this cite .

Their description of exaggerated inflections and variations being was babies find funny matches my experience with my son . He really enjoyed peekaboo, but did not find mommy or daddy doing something stupid (like trying to put a shoe on a head instead of a foot) funny. Tickling was also a reliable way of getting him to laugh.
He also would giggle when I made silly strings of sounds, accompanied by funny faces. When repeating a funny activity that would make him laugh, I noticed that varying the time between repetitions seemed to make him laugh harder when I actually did the funny deed (maybe the anticipation makes it sweeter?).

When my nephew was a baby, I could make him laugh hysterically with a ‘dancing spoon’–by holding the tip of the spoon handle beneath the edge of the table and making it dance by jerking it up and down and along the edge of the table, kind of like operating a very simple stick-puppet. He never had much of a reaction to regular puppets, but the spoon… ah, the dancing spoon was comedy gold!

He outgrew it by the time he was about a year and a half old.

This makes sense, since a baby wouldn’t really understand what is absurd about a shoe on the head.

Boogers. :slight_smile:

They laugh, & laugh at their own secretions…

Have to agree with this one. We were babysitting a particularly whiny 10 month old and just couldn’t make him happy. Our persian calmly walks up to the little hammock thingy the baby was in and starts to purr. Jonathan turns his head quickly, his eyes got as big as saucers and he just laughed and laughed. It was his own personal walkin-talkin teddy bear!

A large empty box.

Car keys. (edible and hypnotic.)

A remote.

The appearance of a dog.

A large paper bag.

I certainly found the 1971 New Yorker cartoon captions quite droll. “Post-modernism” indeed!

<slaps pravnik with wet trout> :wink: :smiley:

My one year old grandson loves this. And watching the cats chase a laser light.

I’m told that when I was an infant I used to find light switches hysterically funny.

Not sure what that says about me …

Both my kids laugh a lot, but my daughter in particular has a great sense of humor. She laughs at double takes, me flinging the car door open & saying “ta-da”, a wide variety of exaggerated expressions, peek-a-boo of course and having her hand swallowed by a puppet (this had her in hysterics at the library yesterday).

One of the first times we shared a laugh was when she’d been chewing on a felt carrot & I pretended to be eating it, and sticking it in my ear, putting it on my head, etc. Made her laugh wildly. Then she started imitating me. She was 8 months old.

My son is 18 months old, and exactly two things make him crack up:

  1. Fart sounds. And if he’s a typical male, this will NEVER stop being hilarious to him.

  2. He laughs uproariously any time he THINKS he’s outsmarted me or his mother. If I’m trying to catch him, he’ll run to the opposite side of the dining room table, and he immediately laughs hysterically, because each time, he’s SURE he’s outmaneuvered me, and that I can’t possibly catch him (“if he goes around THAT side, I’ll just run the other way- that feeble-minded Daddy could never match wits with ME!”).

I always do catch him, of course, and he always shrieks, because he STILL can’t figure out how a lamebrain like his Daddy could have foiled his clever plot!

I appreciate the input.

I think I was trying to understand what makes something seem funny to one who has not yet grasped what is humorous on an adult level. Possibly y’alls’ recounting of kid reactions will build towards that.

One way or another, I’m enjoying the thread.

Please, carry on.

What my 15 month old finds funny…

  1. Tickling.
  2. Myself making funny noises, ranging from changing my pitch, to making cartoonish voices, to his new favorite…grabbing my nose while I try to talk.
  3. Odd behaviors, such as peekaboo, smacking him with a pillow, or shaking the bed mattress that is right under him.
  4. Him being at some point across the room, and then me making a move toward him, he starts laughing as he tries to run away before I catch him.