Research by intu, owners of some of the largest and most popular shopping centres across the UK, reveals that of the 2,000 UK parents surveyed, half laugh just once a day or less with their children.

While 28% of parents find the prospect of keeping their kids entertained stressful, 7 in 10 (69%) parents of 0-16 year olds think their children make them laugh the most. And with two thirds (66%) of parents believing that laughter relieves stress, two weeks with the kids over the Easter half term could prove to be great laughter therapy. Psychologist Emma Kenny, who analysed the research findings, said "The wonderful thing about young children is their ability to experience the here and now, which enables them to react to life moment by moment. Adults are often struggling with their work life balance, or focussing on things they need to do next, which impacts on their time and the opportunity to have fun and laugh at life. It's so essential for adults to laugh with children and each other as it unites, inspires and reminds us of how wonderful it is to be human."

"With millions of us taking time off this Easter to spend more time with our children, it is a brilliant time to focus on all the joy and laughter being a parent can bring us. Plan ahead by finding those opportunities to laugh and spend quality time together as a family, so that they can become part of your daily routine."

It is with laughter in mind that intu have partnered up with Nickelodeon UK & Ireland, to host a series of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Laughter Parties' for families at all intu shopping centres over the Easter break.

Trevor Pereira, commercial and digital director of intu, said "This research highlights the difference that intu brings to its shopping centres, with compelling, fun experiences and moments of surprise, delight and laughter. Our aim is to put a smile on the face of our customers as we want them to be happier when they leave our centres than when they walked through the door. So with millions of families expected at our centres this Easter, we've created an exciting programme of activities in partnership with Nickelodeon for parents and children to laugh along together with SpongeBob SquarePants."

84% of parents polled think laughter is contagious. There are some well-known personalities that have a laugh that is quite infectious. From our survey the celebrity voted as having the best signature laugh by respondents was comedian and TV host Jimmy Carr (16%). This was followed by presenter Alan Carr (8%) and in joint third place with 6% was Nicktoon's cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, comedian Ricky Gervais, chart topper Adele and television host James Corden.

Emma Kenny believes that there are educational benefits to laughter too, as it induces a positive effect in people which makes it easier to learn new things. This is why laughter and play go hand in hand, with playful activities an excellent way for children to learn new skills, and laughter signalling that they are in a safe environment to learn.

There are also many health benefits to laughing, with four in five (80%) parents polled selecting the top benefit as 'it makes you feel happier in general'. This was closely followed by decreases stress (67%) and boosts your relationships (41%), all of which are good reasons why adults should do it more often.

The 2,000 UK parents were also asked what they thought their children would most like to do over Easter, and almost half (46%) believed that their children would want to spend time with family.

Visitors to intu shopping centres will be able to dive into SpongeBob SquarePants' world of Bikini Bottom to join the ultimate sea bed laughter party, packed with interactive fun and games including the Giggle Groove silent disco, Snail Slalom racing, Laughter Limbo and much more! Activities are free, with no booking required and are open to all ages, but are particularly suitable for children in pre-school and early years.

To find your nearest intu centre, details of what's on and opening hours visit

Laugh along with Spongebob Squarepants

Laugh along with Spongebob Squarepants

by for