Being a mom to your children often takes patience, well-thought-out plans, organization, and determination. But, other times it’s as simple as having fun and tickling your kiddos. Personally, I hate to be tickled, but my kids absolutely loved tickle games when they were pre-schoolers and in elementary school. Then, of course, the whole middle school era comes, but that’s a different story that we definitely aren’t getting into now.
You might be thinking the idea of tickle games is a little odd because tickling tends to be spontaneous, but since they are such an amazing way to bond (and also get your kids out of terrible moods) it is well worth it to know a few tickle games when the time is needed. Plus, making a game out of it makes room for you to ask your child if it’s okay to tickle them and teach them about consent. Here’s a list of some of the most fun tickle games!
8 Fun Tickle Games that your toddler and preschooler will love!
1. Basic Tickle- AKA The Classic
- While your child is sitting or maybe even about to put their shoes on, start repeating “I’m going to getcha!”
- This anticipation will get them giggling so much, you will barely have to tickle their feet to keep the laughter going.
2. One Man Band
This game is great for two reasons, it helps your little one learn about instruments along with the bond of a tickle game.
- Ask your kiddo if they would like to be in a one man band and have them choose an instrument to play.
- You can pick a song together and “play” your instruments along to the beat.
- Play the instrument on them! Here are some good options;
- Drum: Use your fingers as drumsticks on their belly.
- Guitar: Run your fingers along their back just like you would strum a guitar.
- Piano: A back can quickly become a mini piano. Play the keys on either side of their spine.
- Violin: Run your index back and forth right along their shoulder.
- Trumpet: Play your pretend trumpet by blowing little raspberries on their hands or neck.
3. Odds or Evens
This game is all about numbers and you can play it in a group which makes for some fun sibling bonding, too.
- Pick a number 0-100 or 0-20 for younger toddlers.
- Tell someone else like the other parent or a sibling what the number is.
- Have your child guess the number.
- If they guess right, they get to tickle you! If they guess wrong tickle them.
4. The Guessing Game
Mom or You- This game leaves a lot open to interpretation, and you can kind of tie in any subject you’re trying to get your kiddo thinking and learning about.
- Ask a question along the lines of ”What is mom’s favorite vegetable?” or “What kind of animal am I thinking of that lives in the jungle?”
- If they guess right, they get to tickle you. If they are wrong, let them know the answer and then you get to do the tickling!
5. Ms. Pointer
Ms. Pointer only comes out on the chilliest of days when she needs to find a heater to warm her up.
- Wave your pointer finger around and talk in a silly voice about how cold she is.
- The nearest armpit will become her new little-heated home.
- Ms. Pointer might wiggle around trying to get comfy causing some serious tickles.
6. The Whisper
Let your little one think you are about to let them in on a secret.
- Once they have leaned in to hear the secret, whisper nonsense babbles into their ear. These little whispers will tickle their ears.
- Keep repeating you have a secret to tell them 3 or 4 times and on the last attempt instead of whispering nonsense let them know how much you love them!
7. The Ghost Tickle!
My husband loves to do this with my kids. He just slowly pretends that he is going to tickle the kids. The anticipation drives the kids to the point where they can’t help bust up laughing without him ever even touching them.
8. Planes, Trains & Automobiles Tickle
This one is a tribute to my mom’s favorite movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
- Planes – Lift your kid up under their arms or by their waist as you lie on your back. Then tickle them as they come in for landing.
- Trains – As your kid lies on their back start moving their legs back and forth like a choo-choo train, saying chuga, chuga, chuga, chuga, and when you get to choo-choo, you tickle their belly.
- Automobiles – Raise your kids arms in the air and “drive” them around the house. Pretend that their armpits is the horn and tickle everytime your car is in danger.
Benefits of Tickling
Sure tickling is fun for your kids, but as a mom, of course, I researched the benefits of tickling and I was actually surprised…..there are some great benefits.
- Builds Relationships – Scientists as far back as Charles Darwin have shown that tickling your baby or child helps build the relations between parent and child. It is one of the most basic ways of social interaction.
- Builds trust – Your kids being able to say stop and you stop tickling them, reinforces the trust between child and parent. (So, don’t overdo it and always stop as soon as they ask.)
What games do you play with your kids to make them laugh!
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