One of my biggest struggles as a mom is not getting my kids to eat their veggies or brush their teeth or do chores. I’m very lucky that all of that comes pretty easy. My biggest challenge is limiting screen time. From TV to video games to tablets and phones, there’s always a game they want to play or a show they want to watch and it’s absolutely the end of the world if they don’t get to.

The rule in our house is no more than one hour of screen time on school nights. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes I give in and let the timer slide because I just don’t want to hear the whining or have the argument. Real talk. I’m not ashamed. It happens to the best of us.

Recently, I wanted to keep the kids out of the house for a couple of hours so my husband, who works odd hours, could sleep. So I jumped at the chance to take them somewhere I love to go, is free and where they can learn something – the library. To head off the whining and the ‘Is it time to leave yet?’ I printed off a couple of cool kids library games from the American Library Association website.

IMG_7797.jpgMy favorite is the Mad Libs Story Sheet. I had the kids pick out a stack of books and gave them a list of words to find in those books:

  1. Adjective describing size
  2. A different size adjective
  3. –ing verb
  4. A place
  5. A name of an animal, plural form
  6. A different plural animal name
  7. A third plural animal name
  8. Past tense verb
  9. Repeat number 8 verb, -ing form
  10. Adjective
  11. Furniture
  12. Repeat word 1
  13. Repeat word 2
  14. A noun
  15. A sport
  16. An animal
  17. A famous person
  18. Name of a fairy tale character


After they found all the words in their books, we put them into the mad libs story:


Once upon a time, there was a ___(1)____ boy and a _____(2)____ girl.

They were ______(3)_____ to ______(4)____ when they noticed something sitting by the side of the road. 

“_____(5)____, and _______(6)_____, and _____(7)_____! Oh my!” the girl exclaimed.  “What is that?”

“I don’t know,” replied the boy adding, “We can find out at the Library!” 

They _____(8)____ as fast as they could, _____(9)_____ the whole way to the Library.  Fortunately, the _____(10)____ library door was open and the Librarian was sitting at her _____(11)_____, ready to help.  The _____(12)____ boy and the _____(13)____ girl described the thing and asked what it was.

“Why, that’s easy!” said the Librarian.  “It’s a _____(14)____!  I’d know one anywhere!  I’ll find a book or two about it for you.  You can make yourself comfortable and I’ll be right back.”

While at the Library, the children looked at books about _____(15)_____, ____(16)_______, _______(17)_____, and _______(18)____.  The two children agreed:  there’s so much to see, so much to do @ your Library!

As they left, they told the Librarian, “We’ll be back again tomorrow!”

They loved picking out new books, hunting for the words and the hilarious results in the story. And the good thing is they were reading, writing and thinking. Not bad for an afternoon usually spent playing video games.

img_7793Another cool version is the Wacky Dr. Seuss Mad Lib. You could have them look for these words in Dr. Seuss books, which are so much fun. Here are the questions and the story:

  1. verb
  2. room in a house
  3. adjective
  4. color
  5. noun
  6. piece of furniture
  7. kitchen appliance
  8. room in the house
  9. verb
  10. noun
  11. piece of furniture
  12. a liquid
  13. adjective
  14. repeat 13
  15. number
  16. repeat 5
  17. noun
  18. adjective
  19. noun
  20. adjective
  21. adjective
  22. noun
  23. repeat 3
  24. repeat 4
  25. repeat 5
  26. adjective
  27. color
  28. number
  29. number
  30. adjective
  31. number


One day while I, The Cat in the Hat, was (1_______) in the (2______) a (3_____) (4____) (5________) fell through the roof. It immediately jumped on the (6 ______) and knocked over the (7_____), bumping into Sam-I-Am and The Lorax, who were eating Green Eggs and Ham. After it hugged Thing One and Thing Two, it ran out the door into the (8__) and (9____) a (10____) off the (11____). It then knocked a glass of (12______) off the coffee table; getting (13____) Horton the Elephant more (14_____). After (15___) minutes of chasing the (16_____) through the house I finally caught it and put it outside. It quickly climbed the nearest (17_____).  One of the Sneetches came running with a (18____) (19___), hoping to encourage it to come down.  Leave it to that (20____) Daisy-Head Mayzie and all the Who’s in Whoville to think of bringing a (21___) (22____), which brought the (23____) (24___) (25___) down immediately.  (Note that the (26____) Grinch was no help here!)  It then ran off with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  Whew!  And to think I could have had a (27    ) Wocket in my Pocket, which might Hop on Pop (28_____) times with (29____) Bunches of Hunches and that (31______) Fox in Sox, who was eating Green Eggs and Ham!  So, until the next time when I, The (31___) Cat in the Hat see you again, be sure to remember My Many Colored Days: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street!” and yell Oh Say, Can You Say?  and think Oh the Thinks We Can Think!  At least this story wasn’t about Bartholomew and the Oobleck or The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins!  Tomorrow I, The Cat In the Hat, will be back, because I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!  And the moral of this story is. . .Oh the Places You’ll Go!  And, oh yes!  This is The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss!


Another option is a scavenger hunt. I used one from the website and changed it up a bit:


1.    What is the name of the library?  Can you find something with the name printed on it?

2.    Which is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?  Can you find it on the shelf?

3.   How many Dora the Explorer videos can you find?

4.   Who is the author of the Clifford books?

5.   What is your favorite magazine in the library?

6.   What color is the librarian’s desk?


And when we were finished with the games, the kids had found several books that they wanted to check out and take home. Success.

This is only one reason I’m such a big fan of libraries. You can check out my other post on how you can save a ton of money on books, movies and magazines at your local library.

0 comments on “How I Got My Kids To Spend All Afternoon At The Library And Love It!”

  1. If I could spend every day at the library reading local historical memoirs and newspaper reels, I would be thrilled. Unfortunately my kiddos are all under age 5 so they need a lot of supervising and shushing at the library. *sigh* but I am glad to know about these library games for future use. Thanks for the tip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.