The other night, I was watching Jimmy Fallon, and his Mad Lib Theater section came on.  First of all, it was hilarious, but it also reminded me of how much I loved doing Mad Libs when I was a child.  I hadn’t thought of Mad Libs in forever, but watching the show made me want to go get some right away.  Then I had a realization: If I loved Mad Libs so much as a kid, I’m sure kids now would also enjoy doing them!  Then my teacher brain kicked in, and I thought that Mad Libs would be a great activity for practicing parts of speech.

How Mad Libs Works

The basic premise of Mad Libs is that you have a story with a handful of the words removed.  Instead, there are blanks with a part of speech written below each blank.  You complete the Mad Libs by filling in the blanks with the specified part of speech.  Usually, you work with a partner.  Person 1 has the story and records the words in the blank spaces.  Person 2 supplies the words (because they can’t read the story as they come up with words, so it ends up being funnier).  For example, Person 1 might say, “Give me a noun.” and Person 2 might say, “rocking chair”.  Then, Person 1 would write “rocking chair” in the blank that asked for a noun.  After all the blanks are filled, you Person 1 reads the story aloud and everyone has a good laugh.

This is what a Mad Libs story looks like:

Mad Libs example

Why Use Mad Libs for Practicing Parts of Speech?

Here are some awesome reasons to use Mad Libs for practicing parts of speech with your kiddos:

  • Most importantly, Mad Libs are fun!  When students enjoy an activity, they are much more likely to be focused and engaged, as well as work through challenging material more effectively.  I guarantee that Mad Libs will have students laughing at the same time as they are practicing parts of speech.  Win-win!
  • In addition, Mad Libs requires at least two people, which means students must work together to complete the task.  This will teach crucial social skills that students will need to succeed.
  • Working in pairs (or more) also means kids can help check and correct each other.
  • Mad Libs makes students apply their knowledge of parts of speech.  When the story asks for an adjective, not only do students need to know what an adjective is, but they must also come up with an example of an adjective.  This is wonderful practice!
  • You can find Mad Libs on just about any subject, so you can choose topics that you know will interest your students.

Interested in Using Mad Libs?

While you could make your own Mad Libs stories (and I did think about creating some), I realized that there are SO many options already out there – it simply makes more sense to use the ones already made.  Just buy a Mad Libs book (or a few) on the topic(s) you think your students would enjoy, and then make copies to hand out to your kids.  The books are not expensive, contain multiple stories, and you can use them year after year (if you make photo copies).

Here are some options to get you started (just click on the picture to buy on Amazon):