Twas just nights before Christmas and all through my mind not an idea was stirring, the circuits were fried… The nouns were verb by the noun… adjective adjective noun adverb verb…
I must be going Mad.. Lib… that’s what happens when I’m confined to my house for an extended amount of time as my boys and I have been lately. Being cooped up inside is underrated though I must say. For cooped-up-ness is the mother of DIY games.
The famous fill-in-the-blank party game is understandably one of the easiest to recreate. You don’t need to be a writer. Your core text can be anything from lyrics to historical speeches, to textbooks or super boring assembly instructions or on a more personal note: try your journal, or really freak someone out (and consequently never speak to them again) and use theirs.
How To – Physically: If the document is digital all you need is your copy, paste, delete and typing skills. Fill it out on your phone as you go. If your original is a hard copy you could either 1. Scan it in as is and in Photoshop or a similar program erase the choice words and type in a blank with a ( ) containing the type of word you are seeking. 2. Cut out little blank rectangles from the sticky portion of Post It Notes and finely write your word category on the bottom of each piece. These shouldn’t damage your paper (unless you took me literally when I mentioned historical documents and you have an original copy of the Declaration of Independence) and can be removed later to reveal the original words used.
How To – Mentally: Here are some guidelines to building a proper game base:
- Match the form of word to the original (noun to noun, verb to verb)
- Take advantage of times when you can be more specific. If there is a person mentioned in the original document use “person” as opposed to just noun.
- If you are working with a rhyming work ask that they rhyme with whatever the word they need to rhyme with. This shouldn’t spoil it. If you want to mask a bit reference a word that rhymes with that word instead.
- Think of all of the subjects you would find in a Mad Libs game: numbers, adverbs, exclamations…
You could stop right here unless you like reading other people’s Mad Libs. Here is one that my boys filled out. The words they chose are highlighted in green. I used the guidelines listed above but have a few things I should mention – this may be applicable when working with any kids of this age. Kids may give multiple words when one is expected. For example, instead of “a part of the body” being the “brain” they may say “talking brain”. Also, the younger one didn’t always get the concept of a rhyme. Furthermore, some of their nouns are people or places located here in Austin that you may not be familiar with. Finally, the grammatical accuracy of say a “verb” may be compromised. But I find these imperfections charming and in some ways reaching beyond the corners of the trained adult brain: Enjoy & Merry Christmas!
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through H.E.B.
Not an iPod was stirring, not even a Baby.
The Monster Trucks were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Octonauts soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their UFOs
While visions of The Letter J danced in their Stomachs
And Rody in his Tutu and I in my Onesie
Had just settled our Skin for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I Skipped like a Puzzle Piece,
Tore open the Earth and threw up the Pizza.
The Owl on the breast of the Rotton, Smelly snow
Gave the lustre of Aliens to Cups below.
When, what to my Missing eyes should appear,
But a miniature Diaper and Half a tiny reindeer.
With a Happy Sad driver, so Pokey and Warm
I knew in a moment it must be John French!
More Yellow than Marshmallows his coursers they came,
And he Jumping Jacked and Used the Potty and called them by name!
“Now Gogo now Roosevelt now Peppa Pig and PeeWee
On, Dinosaur On Miles on, My Friend Ghosts and Me
To the top of the Amp to the top of the Snowman!
Now ACHOO! ACHOO! ACHOO! all!”
As Pinwheels that before the Painted hurricanes fly,
When they meet with an Elephant mount to the sky.
So up to the Toy Joy the Fargo they flew,
With the Bike full of Heads and Mickey Mouse too.
And then, in a Decade I heard on the roof
The Hiccuping and Doing Homework of each little Phone Booth
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the Kitchen the Trash Man came with a Clown.
He was dressed all in Legos from his Bum Bum to his Talking Brain,
And his clothes were all tarnished with Corn People and Candy Canes.
A bundle of Safe Computers he had flung on his back,
And he looked like The Letter S just opening his pack.
His Fingers how they Played with Legos his Blood how Shiny
His Eyelashes was like Popcorn his Skeleton like Macaroni.
His Hilarious little mouth was drawn up like a Cupcake
And the beard of his chin was as See-Through as the Sea Snake.
The Wheel of a pipe he held Sleepily in his teeth,
And the Spoon it Changed its Diaper like a wreath.
He had an Outer Space face and a Electronic belly,
That shook when he Did Math like an Ice Cream Sandwhich!
He was Copper and Complicated a right jolly old elf,
And I Caroled when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his Tooth and a twist of his Hair
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to Watch TV.
He Karate Chopped not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the Boring News then turned with a jerk.
And laying his Shoulder aside of his Liver
And giving a Sit up the Kitty he rose!
He sprang to his Baby Bjorn to his team gave a Aw Man!
And away they all Crawled like the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he Tap Danced out of sight,
“Gingerbread Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”