Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lewis, lewis bo bewis

In our house we play a lot of word games. A typical dinner-hour will find us enumerating one food/drink/family member/friend/song/dinosaur/you-name-it for every letter of the alphabet.

A is for Argintinasaurus
B is for Brachiosaurus
C is for Compsognathus ...

A is for cousin Amy
B is for uncle Brian
C is for cousin Carrie...

You get the point.

(Note: if your name begins with "O" or "Q" "W" or "Z" could you please marry one of my relatives? Dating or common-law marriage would suffice. Thank you very much.)

My daughter likes to make up a lot of games of this sort. Last night's was called, "What's your food of heaven?"--except that she said it more like "WHAT'S - YOUR - FOOD - OF - HEAVEN-en-en-en-en!" We then had to, in turn, list ingredients in our favourite dishes while the rest of us guessed what the dish was.

Often this type of game then turns into an exercise in creative rhyming or extempore song composition. "Presto pesto! Eat the rest-o. Lest-o we're left-o with lunches."

This morning my friend Maggie posted a link to a super-duper word game invented by none other than that master wordsmith himself, Lewis Carroll. The game is called doublets and it involves taking a word, changing a single letter to make it another word and continuing on down the line to create quite another concept altogether. From what I can glean, doublets is like a clever, intentional version of telephone.


The link Maggie directed me too is Bookmaking for Kids, a fantastic site rife with all sorts of creative ideas. In today's post they've paid tribute to doublets by posting a handy-dandy pdf that lets you print out a version of the game in small book format. I've now got mine sitting by my desk to play later. Getting from point A to point B in this particular version of the game may be too much of a challenge for my newly minted 7-year-old, but that doesn't mean we can't start at any old point A and see where it takes us.

HEAD-HERD-HARD-LARD-LARK... What a lark, I say!

What about you? Do you play word games at home? If so, tell me what your games are like. Do you play math/numbers games? Please share because we sure could use some pointers in our wordy house on that front.


  1. glad you liked her post! i play word games by myself, on my ipad...but the girl loves looking over my shoulder and trying to help...

  2. Thanks for linking to my Bookmaking With Kids post, Sue. And I'm glad to see the wordplay addiction is alive and well in your household!

    The inventor of the doublets game, BTW, is Lewis Carroll, not C.S. Lewis. But that slip is a form of wordplay, too. There's a name game (I don't what it's called) that goes like this: Babe Ruth-Ruth Gordon-Gordon Jackson-Jackson Pollack ... etc.

    Playing with last names-only yields this kind of tomfoolery:

    Oscar was Wilde
    but Thornton was Wilder.



  3. Jeepers Creepers. I honestly thought I _had_ typed Lewis Carroll. That's who was in my head.

    Get out of my head Lewis Carroll. You're making me spout nonsense, you.

    Off to fix it now.

  4. we've been playing that word game for years but had no idea of its origin!

  5. Also we are great fans of anagramming.

  6. i want to have dinner at your house. way more fun than our usual dinner conversation.


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