Mad Libs is a word game; it consists of stories that have missing words. The missing words are replaced with “prompts” for a player to fill in the blanks. The result is usually a pretty funny story!
Mad libs were invented in the United States in 1953. It took a while for the creators to come up with the name (which is a combination of “ad-lib” and “mad”) and the first Mad Libs book hit the stores in 1958.
Mad libs all follow the same format. Each page has a short story with key words missing and replaced with a blank. Written below the blank is a category, often a part of speech (which is why they are so popular with teachers!). For example, the category could be “noun” or “verb;” but it could also be “an animal,” or “celebrity name.”
One player asks the other player to give a word that fits each category and fills in the word in the associated blank space. But the player giving the word for the blank space doesn’t know what the short story is about. When finished, the story is read aloud. Because of the lack of context, the finished story is usually pretty funny!
Mad libs are a great way to teach parts of speech like nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. And, they are also great for helping children think of examples within categories (a problem solving and communication skill) and fostering creativity.
Here is a Mad Lib for you to try with your child; remember, don’t read the story out loud until all the blanks are filled in!