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I can still remember picking up my very first Mad Libs book, The Original Mad Libs 1 as a kid and excitedly filling in the blanks. My friends and I would giggle with glee as we read each short story we had created. I would bring them home and get my sister to help me write one. Then we would roar at the craziness of it. After awhile I started to even make up my own stories for her to complete. I wounder if she even remembers that?
Mad Libs is a small workbook. Each page has a short story that is missing key words. You can play the game several ways, but my favorite is to turn the book over so you are seeing a page for the story that only has blanks and word types. It may ask you for a family members name, a state, and noun, a number, a verb, etc.. Once finished filling in the blanks, you turn over the book and use the words you just filled in to complete the story. Because you can't see the story as you are filling in the blanks, you can get some pretty silly stories! You can also do it straight just reading the story and filling in the blanks with the types of words it asks for, but in my opinion that isn't as fun.
This past Christmas I gave my two oldest boys their first Mad Libs. I demonstrated how to use them, and stood back to watch. Just as I had remembered my own sister and I having a ball with them, my boys did too. Neither of them enjoy grammar or writing, so this was a great opportunity to get them engaged.
I could hear Perry saying, "give me an adjective".
After a brief pause "furry" was shouted back.
Perry would next ask for an adverb.
"Yeah, you know it describes a verb,"
"Oh right, uh how about quickly?"
As these conversations continued I realized how much this was helping their grammar. I have seen an increased understanding in the definitions of noun, verb, adjective, and adverbs. While they understood them before and could pick them out of the sentence, having to do them in reverse without seeing the rest of the sentence has made them grow in this area. We don't use the Mad Libs as part of our curriculum, but I am so pleased to see my boys reach for them over a video game. I enjoy listening to them read the stories they have created, and I love how it has encouraged them to be more creative in their writing.
Mad Libs now comes in every theme out there! Lego, princess, pirates, ninjas, summer vacations, you name it, they've got it! I am planning to put some more Mad Libs books in the kid's Easter baskets this year! Your kids will love them too! They are great for long road trips, days on the beach, or boring rainy days. Get the whole family involved in the fun! There are so many to choose from! (FYI the pictures are all links too)
Have you ever done a Mad Lib? What did you enjoy about them? What other nostalgic items do your kids enjoy?