By Age 1...
Most children crave more-elaborate antics at this stage. "A year ago, just holding a blanket over my face and dropping it was enough to get my son laughing," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, a Los Angeles pediatrician and the editor of The Wonder Years (Bantam Books). "Now that he's 18 months, we still play a version of peekaboo, but I hide behind the couch and jump out at him and he squeals and we run around the couch hiding from each other."
Such games are big hits generally with kids once they're mobile. Announcing "I'm gonna get you!" while crawling or toddling after your child is sure to elicit squeals of delight. Physical humor also typically gets big yuks at this stage: "Our 12-month-old, Teddy, laughs whenever my husband and I dance around or do silly stunts, like pretending to fall down," says New York City mom Anne Witt. Overexaggerated sneezes get 9-month-old Jack Zuch laughing, says mom, Therese, of Weston, Connecticut.
Around this period, babies also begin to test limits, and this, too, can give way to giggles. "I'll tell Teddy not to touch his diaper pail, and he'll look at me and touch it and just start laughing," says Witt. Laugh at such shenanigans, and you're sure to see them again and again. No longer content to be part of the audience, laughing at your antics, your child is now eager to entertain you -- a sure sign of his growing autonomy. And he'll do almost anything, such as making silly faces or noises.