Tag Archives: word games

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MadLibs

PencilMadLibs are an excellent idea for kids party games. Unlike most thinking games, which very definitely have a place at a birthday party for a change of pace, MadLibs are both fun and funny. The game allows everyone to get silly and creative.

MadLibs involve inserting words into select blanks in a story to create a funny result. You have two options when you choose to use MadLibs at your party: the pre made MadLibs or custom made MadLibs.

You can browse the internet and find lots of free MadLibs to download. Select the MadLibs that best suit your party OR you can even search for specific MadLib topics such as princesses or dinosaurs to suit your party’s theme. Divide your group into teams of 3 or 4 kids and have them select the words to be inserted. Then, have the teams switch MadLibs so that another team reads the silly story aloud.

There’s a good MadLibs resource at Technorati. You can even create your own MadLib story or stories- follow the link for ‘wordlibs’ if you’d like to give this a try. This means you can tailor it to any theme you want to match your party or you can make the story about the birthday child!

Today’s trivia, and I guess what got this post into Technorati in the first place: MadLibs were invented by the ’50’s TV screenwriter Leonard Stern!

MadLibs makes kids (and adults) laugh at absurd combinations of words. Laughing is ALWAYS good, but especially so at a birthday party.

Words from Words

AlphabetAdd in a seemingly simple word game to almost any themed party and keep them happily busy for at least 15 minutes. Words mean reading and spelling, so do this for parties for kids age 8 to 10.

The game is to see how many words of whatever length they can make using the letters in “Happy Birthday Whomever”, with whomever being the name of the birthday child.

Have them play competitively in teams rather than doing it solo – it’s just more fun. Divide the group into two or three teams, depending on the size of your party. You probably don’t want more than about 7 kids on a team. Before they even know what the game is, have each team ‘elect’ a scribe to write down all their answers. Suggest that the scribe be the best speller in the group.

It’s best to put your teams in separate rooms after you’ve explained the game- so they can’t hear each other shout out their  words. Provide each team with a sharpie and several sheets of newsprint or other large paper that can be tacked up on the wall. Write “Happy Birthday Whomever” across the top of the first sheet.

Give them 10 minutes to come up with and write down as many word variations as they can. Stop them with a whistle and have the opposite team count the other teams’ words to determine the winner. If they catch spelling errors, let those words be omitted from the final count. Feel free to point out spelling errors if you’re so inclined. Pencils would make the perfect gift for each team member on the winning team- nothing the other kids are going to get very upset about not getting.

As long as they’re fast paced and not too difficult, thinking games can make great party games.

Scrabble Slam

Don’t tell them they’re learning something

Scrabble Slam I saw an ad for this game on TV and immediately thought what a great kids’ birthday party gift it would be. Kids can play it with other kids like friends or siblings, as well as play with parents. At under $10 on Amazon as of this writing, it makes a very affordable gift. At this price, keep one on hand at your house to pull out the next time your kids need an activity, as well as keeping a few around for gifts.

For my money, any game that gets kids to use their brains is a winner. Anything that promotes literacy is also a winner. Spelling and words in general are important to improving literacy, and not always an easy thing to get kids to focus on learning. But make it fast paced, and it tends to get and keep their attention. Think how kids like the card game of ‘War’- it’s totally a game of luck with no skill involved, but because they get to do it quickly and slam the cards around, they love it. Scrabble Slam has the same attraction.

Read the Amazon reviews and you’ll see that all the real Scrabble lovers hate this game. True wordsmiths don’t want it fast and furious- but kids like that. And- the kids get their wordsmithing in just by playing the game. Kind of like getting your veggies in a can of ravioli- ‘just don’t tell them’.

The game is listed for age 8 and up, but the Amazon reviews indicate it works for younger kids too with a bit of tweaking to the rules.

Affordable yet interesting and fun birthday gift ideas for kids are what we look for to pass along to you.

Taboo

Taboo or Catchphrase

TabooI’d forgotten how much fun these word games can be. We’ve typically played these as a family group when we’re away on vacation, usually skiing. But either one would be a great game to play at a girls slumber party. I would think that word games would not work as well with boys, but you parents of boys be the judge on this one.

Taboo or Catchphrase are very similar, and both are from Hasbro. For my money, it would be well worth the $30 these currently cost for use at the slumber birthday party and to then have them for the family to play.

For those not familiar with these two games, in both you have to guess the hidden word. I’m not personally as familiar with Taboo, but Catchphrase moves very quickly and is loads of fun. Catchphrase is listed as for age 12 and up, Taboo for adults, but both games come in Junior editions for kids age 8 and up.

I heartily recommend including one of these games in your slumber party mix. Slumber parties tend to be a bit more low key than your usual birthday party, and these thinking games would fit right in.

I’d also like to suggest either of these games as a great birthday gift for any of the parties your kids go to. Something the whole receiving family can enjoy, together, makes for a great gift.