Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rolling on the couch, gasping for air!

People, if you're having a hard week and you need something to get your belly laugh going, Mad Libs are a must!

When Jing came home at nearly 7, we began homeschooling a few months later, but the first couple of years, she had great difficulty with English work and was very tense when the workbook and textbook came out (this was not introduced immediately, of course, but after she had learned English). For the life of her, she could not even tell the difference between a noun and a verb. I decided to put the text away and find a fun way to learn where she would not even know she was being educated. Enter: Mad Libs (and many other games and creative ways of learning).

These are simple little booklets with a short story on each page where one person who is holding the book asks the others in the room to give a random word - a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a part of the body, a famous person, a color, a number, etc. These people do not know what the story will be about. The book holder fills in the blanks with the words and then reads the story, which is often hilarious to the point of laughing so hard you have an asthma attack (me) or maybe a little pee in the pants (me again) (forgive my candor, but it's true).

A few evenings on the couch at our nightly together time doing Mad Libs, and Jing had not only nouns and verbs down pat - after a year of struggling with it in school books - but also all the other parts of speech. Some Libs are not as funny as others. The girls watched the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies last year and we got that Mad Libs book (there's one for Star Wars too), and those haven't been that entertaining for some reason. But tonight Lily drug out a book of Christmas Mad Libs that we did year before last, and honestly we all were in agony we were laughing so hard, tears rolling, weird strangled sounds coming out of us.

Here are some selections from our Christmas Mad Libs. The word in parentheses is what the players were instructed to provide and the bold words are the word they provided to fill in the blank.

"Yesterday I took my friend Alice (person) to see Santa Claus at the department store. He is only 6000 (number) years old, so I had to hold onto his bladder (part of the body) whenever we crossed the flower (noun)....Santa is a bit, fat, plush (adjective) man with a black (color) beard who dresses in a bright red bra (article of clothing)."

"The next morning when the moon (something round) came up, Scrooge jumped out of his bathtub (piece of furniture) and said, 'I am a changed scroll (noun). I only hope it is not too stinky (adjective) for me to become a kindly, generous squirrel(something alive).' He put on his underwear(article of clothing), rushed to the butcher shop and said, 'Give me the biggest Red Tanager (type of bird) you have.' Then he bought cakes and yucky (adjective) cookies and a beautiful cake (noun) pudding....Scrooge said, 'Boring (adjective) Christmas, Bob Cratchit. I have rats (plural noun) for everyone, including Tiny Tim.' And they had a disgusting (adjective) dinner and sang jolly lanterns (plural noun). Scrooge had indeed changed from an exciting (adjective) skinflint into a wonderful dragon (noun). He gave Tiny Tim a solid gold eyeball (noun) and Tiny Tim said, 'Merry Christmas, and may Paris Hilton (famous person) bless us every one!'"

At one point, Charles Ingalls needed some movies to keep his appendix warm, and fifty years ago children got caring electric trains or baby dolls that said "Yee-Haw!" Santa put the presents in the boxer shorts that the children had hung on the mantle. After he did this 5 times, he went home to get ready for Chinese New Year (holiday)! Then we did one on New Year's resolutions where "I promise to help bathe my pet sewing machine and help snuggle the dishes after dinner."

I love to see the Chinese influence in so many of the words they chose and the "famous people" they picked - Charles Ingalls heehee! Lily was really into the body parts and instead of arms and legs would say "sphincters," or "intestines." There are some Junior (easier) Mad Libs for the younger kids, and be careful as there are also some adult Mad Libs! There are Survivor Mad Libs and Nancy Drew Mad Libs, which we enjoyed during Lily's obsession with the titian-haired sleuth. They are a lot of fun and a great way to laugh together as a family while teaching the littles the parts of speech!


  1. This looks like something that Rachel would enjoy -- thanks for the heads up.

  2. Hi Jan! Actually, I have seen your blog a time or two as well. I love the photos of your beautiful girls. I think its so wonderful for you to have been able to adopt them and I'm sure they are so happy with you too.

    I love MadLibs. I think they would be great fun in some of my English classes here. I'll have t get some and try it out with my own kids and my students.

  3. I found your blog from a comment you made on the Pioneer Woman's website. I have enjoyed reading a little of your life as a single adoptive mom. I am also a single adoptive mom. I am headed to Ethiopia in less than two weeks to get my girls (4ish and 6ish). Anyway, just had to give a shout to another single adoptive mom.