Friday, January 19, 2007

January Mad Libs

We made it!

If you recall, we attempted to spend a weekend at the cabin a couple of weeks ago and failed miserably. We made a second attempt this weekend and all was wonderful.

There are a few traditions we have whenever we make the two-hour trip to the Kashwitna. One is that we play Mad Libs.

Here's how it works: I ask Andrew for the more difficult parts of speech (adverbs, for example) and I take turns asking Grace, Spencer, David and Lillian for the nouns, verbs, adjectives and occasional "body part," "liquid," or "person in the room" (Darth Vader has been a very popular choice) then I write their offerings into the blanks, read it back and wait for the laughs.

Turns out not only is this fabulous 80s party game a cure for road-trip boredom and a tool to boost my children's grammar, it's a fabulous child-psychology tool. Mad Libs is nothing but a game of free-association, a window to their souls, showing me exactly what they're thinking.

For example, once when Spencer was younger I asked him for a body part. “Blood,” he said.

"Good one, Spencer," I said, impressed with his creativity.

Later on down the page I asked for another body part he said, "brains."

"Well, okay, yes, that’s a body part," and I began to wonder what twists his little mind was taking. When his next selections were "intestines," "guts," and "heart" it was an indicator to me he'd been watching too many Rescue Hero movies. Time to cut back on those cartoons son.

Grace too is an easy read, she gave me "puppies," 'kittens," "dogs," and "princesses" in succession. An open book, she is.

Andrew's no help. During one game he came up with "eyeball" for a noun and was so flattered by the squeals of approval that that was the end of it, every noun from that point on was "eyeball," every verb was "eyeballing" and adjective was "eyebally."

I pointed out that "eyebally" isn't a word but it didn't matter, they couldn't hear me over the shrieks of laughter which of course just encouraged him. We've gone through similar rounds with "toe nail" and "bellybutton." Sigh. You can dress 'em up but you can't take 'em out, you know?

So here's the story from this weekend:

Westward Ho-Ha

"Good vacations are worth their weight in Jedi Knights. A smelly vacation for your and your burping family is to visit the Rocky Mosquito Mountains in Colorado. The first time you slime these wiggly mountains your ear wax will thump saucily. If you're into camping, fishing or tripping visit Arizona's Grand Canyon and enjoy a land of stinky landscapes and Martian saliva. Upon sight of this mile-deep, magnificent 1 1/2 billion year-old spaghetti your toenails will drop open and you won't be able to catch your buttocks. And then, there is the city of the Golden Gate Lady Bugs--San Francisco--where you can spend a day watching cable vampires loaded with wide-eyed unicorns or climb the city's livers. A place made famous by Tony Bennett's poopy rendition of 'I Left My Eyeball in San Francisco." So will you!"

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20 comments:

~Amber~ said...

This summer a couple of girlfriends from high school (that I hadn't seen since high school) came to visit for a weekend. We went shopping and there among the impulse buys at the counter were a selection of Mad Libs books. We couldn't pass up a blast from the past like that. Suddenly, it was like we were in junior high again. Great stuff :)

Blondie said...

I am going to throw the word "eyebally" into my vocabulary at least twice today just to see what happens.

jchevais said...

I'd never heard of Mad Libs. This is hilarious...

Leslie said...

I love Mad Libs! They're a favorite at our house (even though the only child that lives there is under 3).

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

I used to play mad libs in the classroom way back when...it's great for grammar and language practice...and the kids thought they were getting a break.

Lauri said...

What fun! I'd forgotten about Mad Libs....

J said...

I'm glad you got to go...I think I have a sentence for 'eyebally'.

"What's that guy so eyebally about anyway..."

(Clearly he's staring because I look cute with my new hairdo and jeans...)

Babystepper said...

Oh yes, the Mad Libs. Our families favorites usually involved pancreas, livers, decapitation, and the like. Everything started getting way to gory, and then we grew out of it. I can't wait until my two are old enough to play.

p.s. Used to be Noillirac

marina said...

hi, everytime i read your blog i get so inspired to move to alaska. i told you i visited juneo ages ago and totally fell in love with it, but i really don't like the cold too much. but your pics and stories and adventures make it sound soooo great that i at least want to take my son to some winter wonderland and play in the snow with him.
ironically enough, costa rica is acting up lately, it's soooooooooo cold here that it's hard to believe i'm living in the tropics, seriously i think we hit freezing levels last night.

Nicole said...

I haven't done Mad Libs in FOREVER!! What a creative game for the car. My kids would love it. Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

My friend Bob who runs the Humor Carnival turned me onto your blog and I am so glad. I love it!! I lived in Alaska for 20 years and was a parent of 3 girls there. We moved to WA and added 3 boys to the family! I will be reading you often. (and yes we all miss Alaska terribly, it sure stays in your heart).

Polliwog
Polliwog Presents: Carnival of Good Stuff

Cece said...

Oh my gosh I haven't played Mad Libs in YEARS!

Sounds like fun & great story!

Lisa said...

What a cute idea for a game! My son would very much LOVE that game especially with words like "eyebally." heehee. Glad to hear it was a great time for everyone.

MaGreen said...

ps your site is beautifully designed. i am 100% jealous.

MaGreen said...

ps i seem to have lost the orignal, pre ps, post, in which i praised your use of madlibs as a grammar tool.

Jane said...

Mad Libs! What a slimy and fuzzy activity for your lucky meatballs.

chelle said...

Ooo this is so going in my future car trips book (yes I am that geeky that I take notes while reading blogs). What a wonderful idea!! So far we have played eye spy and expanded on where the animals live and plants etc .... Mad Libs sounds fun too!

Geekwif said...

I used to love mad libs when I was a kid. This is too funny! I think my favorite phrase is "your ear wax will thump saucily." Thanks for a good laugh.

allrileyedup said...

I'm an adult literacy tutor and mad libs are a VERY effective way to blend learning words with fun. It's a wonderful game.

Now... who chose the word "tripping"?

Damselfly said...

I am getting a hernia from laughing so hard! (GAHFLSO?) I *love* Mad Libs!