Mad Libs ESL Board Game

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This fun ESL game is based on the “Mad Lib Theater” skits on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The activity is appropriate for all ages and requires minimal preparation.

Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Age Group: Kids, Adults

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Mad Libs ESL Board Game

Mad Libs ESL Game Preparation:

Search on YouTube for “Mad Lib Theater” and a list of skits starring Jimmy Fallon and popular celebrities will show up. Choose one that you think your students will like. This video will be a useful introduction to the activity.

Also, prepare some lined paper for students to write on.

Mad Libs ESL Game Guidelines:

To begin the lesson, show the entire video skit to the students. It is a great way to generate interest and it will familiarize students with the task.

Next, put the students into pairs or small groups. Pairs are ideal, but groups will work fine if you have a larger class.

With their partners, they should write down the following on a piece of paper:

  • 6 nouns
  • 6 verbs
  • 3 adjectives
  • 3 adverbs

Of course, you can customize these variations depending on how much time remains in class. If you want to have even more detail, you could divide the nouns into people, places, and things.

Next, each group should create a short script of dialog. You can allow them creative freedom to write whatever they want or base it on a specific theme. Another good idea would be for them to follow a similar script or setting that they watched in the Jimmy Fallon skit. Also, remind them to include some descriptive language that includes at least 3 adjectives and 3 adverbs.

*Note, the students should NOT use any of the words from their original lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. Remind them of this. These words will be used in the final stage of the activity.

Now, they can start writing their mini dialog. Allow students about 10 minutes to make a short skit. Monitor and assist groups that need help or ideas as they are working.

After completing the dialog, tell them to omit the following words in their script:

  • 6 nouns
  • 6 verbs
  • 3 adjectives
  • 3 adverbs

There should be enough space above their omissions so that there is a blank space.

For the final stage of the activity, the groups should swap their word lists with another group in the class. The students then fill in the blank spaces of their scripts with the other group’s word list.

Give the students a few minutes to fill in the blanks with the new nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. After completing the task, they should have some funny final drafts of their completed scripts.

To conclude, students act out their scripts with the new words.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

If you have time after the mini Mad Lib Theater activity, try reinforcing some vocabulary with a quick round of Hangman or the Word Chain ESL Game.

More ESL Board Games for Kids and Adults:

View the ESL board games archive.

View more ESL activities.

Related ESL Resources Online:

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