This is the very first mind map I’ve created for Mind Map Mad, my new mind mapping web site and blog. I hope you like it!
I’m a complete beginner, if that explains anything, so please forgive my mistakes, shortcomings and naivety. I’ll do my best to improve, I promise you!
As I mentioned in my very first blog post, my idea is that this blog / web site will be about two things, not one.
As an English teacher for many years I’ve always enjoyed the fact that while teaching itself is a ‘subject’, the actual subject can be anything at all.
Which is why I aim to cover all sorts of topics regarding life, the universe and well, you know, everything, through the rather pleasant medium of these cheerful, colourful creations known worldwide as mind maps.
In this spirit I wondered what I could do my first map on. My son Léo provided the answer.
In Make Your Kids Laugh Their Heads Off I pull together some of the ways I’ve made him almost do just that. I’m sure many of you with kids or who teach or work with them will recognise some of these nutty little ideas and can probably think of a few more of your own. Feel free to share them here!
Disclaimer: As a Dad (I wasn’t given the choice) what follows comes uniquely from a male perspective. Please take this into consideration when formulating your heated responses to this article…
In order to explain some of the rather obscure ideas, I’ll provide some notes below:
There is little that makes kids laugh more than Dad being cheeky to Mum. Especially when she’s not aware of it.
Elbow Slip: Pretend to fall asleep as she’s talking to you (especially if she’s been going on a bit) and let your elbow slip off the edge of the table suddenly, waking you up brutally…
Tongue Poke: Stick your tongue out at Mum as soon as she turns her back or looks down after having given you some tiresome order or some other such wearisome command (as Mums tend to do, to Dads as well as to kids sometimes). When she looks back, act the picture of innocence as the kid’s wet themselves. Say ‘What?’ Playing the innocent is absolutely key to maximising the mirth. As soon as she looks away throw another mega cheeky face out there…
Adventures in Cooking: Mum will occasionally spring a culinary surprise on the family. Similarly to the inevitable question ‘How do I look in this?’ after the purchase of a new dress, the answer to ‘What’s it like?’, having sampled her latest eye-wateringly ‘original’ creation is uncategorically not ‘Bloody awful!’. However, not to sell your soul entirely, take the middle path. Gingerly place miniscule morsel in mouth and chew in slow-mo. Stop chewing. Grin politely through your teeth as a barely concealed look of panic flashes across your eyes. Chew painfully slowly. Finally, manage to utter the ultimate coward’s compliment: ‘It’s… it’s… interesting!’
Kid’s love music, singing and dancing. So do adults for that matter. Let’s make the most of it.
Making Music: If the kid’s playing a recorder or xylophone or any intrument, listen in rapture as they proudly play a stuttering ‘Frere Jacques’ up until they strike their first false note. Immediately go ‘Oooohhhhh!!!’ with an incredibly pained expression. Optionally wail gently, hold head in hands despairingly, rock slightly, etc. Kid should love it.
Dad Sings! – Render your kid’s favourite song as only you are capable of doing: really wonderfully, side-splittingly… badly! Hit false notes, screw up the words, change the order. Whatever it takes. And above all, show utter incomprehension as to why the kid is screaming ‘Nooooo!’ at you…
Solo Performance: Dad does his thing. The kid’s arm becomes your imaginary guitar neck. His head is your main air-drumming target. Lose yourself in the moment. Priceless!
Do YOU do ‘silly’? If not, you should. We’re all big kids really.
Cross-Eyed: Cross your eyes unexpectedly and ask, with a certain irritation, what the kid’s laughing at. Then repeat. What is it with this kid?!
Mad Hatter: Laugh uproarously, ideally at the same time as the kid. Then stop. Dead. Suddenly. Expression deadpan. Then start laughing again joyously. Then stop. Dead. Etc.
Question Time: Now this one’s really silly. You ask a question with the words mixed up a little and why not a silly sound thrown in for good measure. ‘Beeeep’ often works well, I find. Get impatient when the kid doesn’t reply for laughing. If they start asking ridiculous questions in the same silly style, well, look at them like they’re MAD! They probably are.
Shoes Calling? – When the phone rings, instead of picking it up, grab a shoe, and say ‘Hello?’ as usual. Other items that work well include bananas and the kid’s cuddly toys. The conversation you have with said item is entirely up to you.
I make no apologies for this one. After all, clowns get paid to do it, so I don’t see why us Dad’s shouldn’t have a go too. Mums would say it’s not that difficult for us to play the clown anyway, I’m sure.
Lost Kid: Look desperately everywhere for the kid. Who is perfectly visible, or hiding very badly, bum up in air, sniggering loudly etc. Alternatively, drop behind on a walk, then hide behind trees, sticks, leaves and blades of grass etc. when the kid looks behind. They’ll never find you!
Shoe Thing: Absentmindedly put a few toes into your kid’s shoes and find it difficult to understand what’s wrong. The kid will probably have a couple of ideas.
World Turned: Put your glasses on upside down and ask your kid if everything’s ok. When they point out your error, laugh embarrassedly and put them back on at a wacky angle. Etc.
Wall Flower: Miss the doorway and walk into the door frame instead. Apologise politely and try again. Fail again. Fail better. Can be used to cover up actual ‘navigation malfunction’. Check door frame carefully just in case.
What’s This ‘Ere? – Produce unexpected items from behind your kid’s ear. Easy enough to do when they aren’t expecting you to have concealed anything in your hand. Question their sanity for keeping sweets, dummies, nuts etc. behind their ear.
The possibilities for messing around when outside or doing sports are endless. Here’s a handful.
Bad Loser: Challenge your kid to a race. Scream off at break-neck speed and wait for the cries! Then slow down and start to struggle as you approach the finish line / target / tree. Stretch out hand to within millimetres of winning. Kid wins at the last second. Thinks they’re the champion of the world. Let them.
Walk This Way: Invent a silly walk. Try it out. Act as though everything is normal. If kid tries it point out their ridiculousness. Thank the lord out loud that you at least are sane. Resume silly walk.
Super Powers: When your kid pushes you slighly whilst messing around in water, react with a hugely exaggerated leap backward. It must be those pesky poorly concealed superpowers of your kid’s again.
Whole Racket: During any bat and ball game with your kid, you will, inevitably, miss from time to time. Relax. It’s not your fault. It’s the bat’s. Check it carefully. There may be a hole. Tap it in several places or test the tension in the strings. Tutting loudly will emphasise your frustration with the faulty equipment. Restart the game and hope the unfortunate incident doesn’t repeat itself. It usually does though…
Kids love it when adults make mistakes. They find it really quite exceptionally hilarious. So go with the flow. The more you make, the merrier.
Stoopid Stories: They are always getting the facts wrong in the books. So correct them. Remember Cinderella losing her glass banana at the party? And what about Rapunzel and her long golden nose. Not forgetting the Big Bad Grandma who ate that lovely cutesy-wootsy cuddly-wuddly ol’ wolf, the nasty woman. If the kids try to correct you, don’t worry. Put it down to bad teachers. What’s the education system coming to these days, I ask you!
Whatsisname: Forget your child’s name. Or his sisters or brothers. Call your wife Grandma. Or Tiddles. Or Poo-Poo-Head. Ask them to please pass the hedgehog. The kids will spot your error and correct you. But don’t worry. Another is just around the corner.
Tricks: Dads can do some quite clever things. Even magic tricks. When they don’t go wrong. But they often do. Announce with great pomp and ceremony the imminent appearance of a rabbit from the hat of the Amazing, the Incredible, the One-and-Only… Daddy the Magician. Only to produce… a banana. Followed by the kid’s favourite cuddly toy. Followed by a pair of mummy’s knickers. Express suitable astonishment: ‘What the..?’ (banana) – ‘What are YOU doing there?’ (cuddly toy) – ‘How did THEY get there?’ (Mummy’s knickers). Only you can answer that last one…
And so we arrive at the end. Or maybe the beginning of it all. For if there is one thing that makes a kid laugh more than any other, it has to be the ubiquitous, humble fart. Gaseous emissions have a lot going for them in a kid’s imagination. They just ‘happen’. Everyone does them. People will do anything to disown them. They make a wide variety of suspect noises. They cause extreme embarrassment. And they smell bloody awful. Excellent. What more do you need?
Blame Someone Else: In my scenario, immediately following the unfortunate incident, guilty Dad looks sharply behind him (at imaginary perpetrator of malodorous act), tuts disapprovingly and mutters ‘disgusting’ under his breath.
Blame The Kid: For some reason this one never fails to please. Animated discussion and vigorous denials will ensue. Friends may be lost and relationships damaged. It’s all part of the fun.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But it’s kind of a frame of mind. Being screamed at to come to the table because ‘it’s getting cold’ I arrived in haste only to find… nothing. Someone’s been exaggerating again. So I made do with what I found. And started tucking in to a napkin with my knife and fork. It wasn’t too bad. As napkins go. Bit dry. Better with a dash of salt and pepper.
My kid said he didn’t like what was on offer for lunch today. Cue meal rethink. Dad hastily ‘sorts it out’ in the kitchen. Kid’s ‘special’ arrives held aloft on a silver platter. Exquisitely lowered to the young fusspot’s placemat. Cover removed from huge dinner plate with panache. One solitary sad sesame seed awaits.
You get the idea. Have fun with your own little angels and let me know how it goes. Over and out BEEEEP!
Click on the links below to download a medium and large version of the above mind map. You can use it for any NON-commercial uses as long as you leave it EXACTLY as it is, with the copyright mention and everything else unchanged. If you place it anywhere online you also need to clearly credit me (Sab Will) and link back to Mind Map Mad (http://www.mindmapmad.com), thanks.
Biggerwhat? Biggerplate. Check it out. It’s the home of a whole lot of cool mind maps, including mine – he he! You can download the actual original mind map file made with iMindMap software and play around with it yourself. Not bad, huh? Let me know what you do with it, ok? 😀
© 2015 Sab Will / Mind Map Mad