What’s a train with a cold?
While a joke like that doesn’t quite fly at a cocktail party, it’s guaranteed to crack up toddlers. Why do they find this non-sensical humor so funny? Well, it turns out that laughing at things that don’t make sense lets the toddler show that they learned enough about our world to understand that these jokes are indeed ridiculous!1 Given all the uncertainties a toddler deals with every day, giggling at these funny plays-on-words makes them feel empowered and is an important part of a child’s development.
Although the full-blown sense of humor takes time to develop and requires language and imagination,2 babies are born ready to laugh and usually crack up their parents well before their first birthday. Babies first start understanding laughter at around 3 to 4 months. By the time they are 7 to 8 months, researchers found that babies learned enough about laughter to try to intentionally make adults laugh!3 They would use their faces, bodies, or sounds – anything really! – to try to get a smile or a laugh out of a grown-up. And before they hit 24 months, they’ll be trying to crack up their parents with bolder behaviors they recognize to be non-sensical – like pretending to throw your nose into a kitchen bin!2
Discover more Baby Trivia questions and answers here.
1 What To Expect Blog. January 27, 2019. “Developing a Sense of Humor.”
2 The Conversation. May 2, 2017. “How children develop a sense of humour.”
2 BBC. “How your baby’s sense of humour develops – and what you can do to boost it.”