Sheets “Mad Lib” style activity

This Halloween, I wanted to create a fun activity for students to review the parts of speech and also get a great first impression of Google Sheets. To do this, I decided a “Mad Lib” style activity would be perfect!



The first thing I did was write a simple story in a Google Doc. I underlined the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs I thought would be fun to replace. I decided to keep the story simple as we all know that sometimes less is more.

Google Sheets

I created a new Sheet by typing in Then, I merged the cells in the top row to add the title. I froze the first few rows to allow the headers to remain while students typed the answers.

Next, I added the parts of speech and a simple definition in column A. I then wrote the text “Answer #” in Column B to serve as a placeholder in the story. I hid the remaining columns and rows so students could focus on the activity.

If you don’t know how to hide a column or row it is quite simple. Right click on the name of the column or row, and now you can select “HIDE”. That is why you do not see any other cells in this activity.

Right-click and select hide to hide empty cells.

Adding the Formula

I wanted the words from Sheet 1 (titled MadLib) to appear in the story on Sheet 2 (titled Your Story). To do this, I merged cells, added titles, inserted clipart, and used the paint bucket to make the Sheet look festive. For the story, I merged numerous cells to create one large space for the formula. I also hid the remaining columns and cells.

I wrote a formula where the text would appear in quotes, and the answers would appear whenever I added the formula & Madlib!Cellnumber & . So for example, if I wanted the answer for the proper noun in cell B5 to appear in the story, I would write & Madlib!B5 &. This took a few practices and revisions with spacing and punctuation. (Notice how the words “Answer #” from Sheet 1 appear in the text as placeholders.) In the end the formula looked like this

Formula and Activity

Once satisfied, I tested the “Mad Lib” style activity out on my 9 year old son. After many laughs, I decided it was ready to share! I’m sure there will be many revisions to come, but that’s part of the fun!

Have you ever created your own Mad Libs? I’d love to see some examples.