*This special guest post is written by Diane Lockman, Meredith’s Mom. Diane has over 27 years experience of raising kiddos, so she knows of which she speaks!*

Family photoshoots are even more fun when the kids are laughing uncontrollably! Lifestyle photographers like Blue Willis know that laughter is not only healthy (when you laugh, your brain releases endorphins which make you feel fantastic), but laughter also creates emotional connections between dad, mom, and kiddos.

Your photographer will use creative prompts during the outdoor photoshoot to get them laughing, but you can prepare your kids for a happy photo session, too. Here are 7 ways to make kids laugh in family photoshoots:

1 – Tickling

Tickling works every single time! I like to take my finger and dramatically twirl it towards the child’s belly with a buzzing sound (kind of like slow a bumble bee). As they see the friendly “bee” coming towards them, they instinctively smile and curl up in a ball to protect themselves from the tickly sensation. Behind the ear or knee is another good spot for inducing giggles.

2 – Silly Words

Little kids and preteens love silly words! Clean potty language like “booger” works, but I like to add some sophistication by intentionally mixing up consonant blends, mispronouncing common words, or swapping words in a phrase (think Yoda – “hard to see, the Dark Side is”). Gibberish works, too. Do you remember how to speak “pig latin?”

3 – Tell a Joke

There’s nothing like a good knock-knock joke or riddle to make a kid laugh. Once you start down this road, they’ll probably want to tell YOU their favorite jokes, too.  If you’re coming up short on inspiration, here are 240+ hilarious jokes for kids like the corny “what do you call a sleeping dinosaur?  A dino-snore!”

4 – Goofy Faces

Big eyeballs, twisted lips, scrunched up noses…anything that contorts your normal expression will draw their attention immediately.

5 – Get Physical

Entertainers Lucille Ball and Charlie Chaplin knew this trick to have the audience rolling in the floor (remember the conveyor belt scene in the chocolate factory from “I Love Lucy?” You can find it on youtube so the kids can enjoy).

Slapstick and slow-motion movements with your arms, legs, torso … any action where you pretend to experience a physical calamity will get their attention and start the giggles.

6 – Unusual Props

Did you ever pretend a banana was a telephone receiver? The idea here is to use everyday objects in unusual ways. Comb your hair with your (clean) sneaker or eat your fritos out of your (clean) baseball cap. The only downside with this laughter tactic is that they might imitate you with something sticky or messy like peanut butter…

7 – Funny Voices

Your kids are used to hearing your normal voice all day long, so when you change it up, they will stop what they’re doing and ponder your temporary insanity. Alter your pitch, cadence, or add some extra slurpy noises to your conversation. I guarantee they’ll soon be in stitches!

Family Photoshoots Secret to Laughter

Of course you already know the the best way to make a kid laugh for the family photoshoot . . . mom and dad are genuinely happy and laughing themselves. Kids love seeing their parents crack up; that kind of deep belly laughter is contagious.

What makes your kids laugh? Leave a comment below.