Mad Libs is a game that works just like its paper and pen counterpart. First, the player(s) receive a list of words (by part of speech, like noun and verb). They then come up with words that match the parts of speech. Unlike the pen and paper version, the player(s) is unable to see the story at all until they have finished filling in the list. Next the app uses the list to fill in the blanks in the story. Finally, the player(s) reads their new silly story.
The app comes with a limited number of mad libs (stories) to begin with, although more are available to purchase. The game got an E for Everyone rating. While there is no objectionable content in this game, it is a reading based game and will require either the support of an adult or a confident 7 year old or older reader.
Mad Libs helps kids practice and improve the following skills:
Understanding our own actions, thoughts, and feelings.
While Mad Libs doesn't have to be played with multiple people, it is at its best when played with a partner or group. This means it is a great game for working on social skills. When played with more than one player, they will have to take turns and work as a team to fill in blanks. They will also have the opportunity to help each other out if they become stuck when picking a word. In addition, this game provides a chance to work on communicating thoughts and feelings. Every word the player or players have to come up with is a word that must be communicated in some way (either to the person recording the answers or by typing it into the app themselves). Certain parts of speech used by Mad Libs (such as adjectives and adverbs) also lend themselves to being better able to communicate thoughts and feelings.
Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.
Mad Libs is also a great game for practicing following directions. First, the player has to provide the part of speech the app is asking for or the story won't make sense (and not in the fun way, either). Second, the player needs to be able to remember just what an adverb, noun, verb, etc is. Without following directions or remembering the parts of speech, the player will be unable to properly fill the mad lib in. Instead of a fun, wacky story, they will end up with a story that doesn't make any sense and isn't nearly as fun to write.
Mad Libs is a game that relies one hundred percent on being able to read. A player who can't read won't be able to figure out what words they need to come up with and won't be able to read the finished story either. The game is geared towards the 9-11 year old age range, but if a parent is willing to provide frequent support (by doing the actual reading and through definitions and examples of the parts of speech), children as young as 5 or 6 will be able to enjoy this.
This game provides several chances to practice writing skills. Most obviously, the player gets plenty of practice with the individual parts of speech and will become better at identifying and selecting them. This can help them become better at putting together grammatically correct sentences and even become more aware of what their writing is missing--or has too much of. Adjectives and adverbs, for example, can be hard for writers to use with proper balance. The player of Mad Libs also gets to see how important word choice is. While they have no control over how well a word fits in the sentence (since they are choosing words blindly), there are going to be words that seem to fit, words that don't fit and aren't funny, and (the ultimate goal) words that don't fit but are funny. If a parent is also participating, older kids can get the chance to practice spelling (by typing in the words themselves).
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