Hangman and Other Word Games
By Judith Maginnis Kuster
Word activities such Hangman have many potential uses in treatment for both children and adults with communication disorders. For persons with early-onset Alzheimer's, word recall activities may assist in retaining language. These word activities are also appropriate for some stroke survivors, persons with language and spelling issues, and for vocabularly enrichment for second-language learners and others. Some sites require up-to-date browsers (that accommodate Java script) and software (such as Flash or Shockwave). Other sites are accessible with older browsers.
There are a variety of types of Hangman available online. Some provide clues, such as:
Others don't provide clues, but may have categories to choose from, such as:
Most challenging are those without clues or categories.
- ESL Cafe (www.eslcafe.com/hangman) - features animals, plants or general words.
- Hangman Games for ESL Students (www.manythings.org/hm) - has many subject choices in both CGI (older) and Flash (newer) versions.
- SuperKids hangman (www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/words/hangman) includes idioms, SAT vocabulary words, TV shows from different decades, U.S. Presidents, State Capitals, and much more!
- Playaholics (www.hangman.no) in English or Norwegian has three levels of difficulty and an interesting selection of topics, including "frequently misspelled words."
The typical Hangman is a rather violent depiction of hanging a person, piece by piece. There is even a "celebrity" hangman that allows you to hang a real picture of a familiar person. I did not include it here -- it was rather grim to see Sarah Michelle Gellar dangling from a rope if you lose! Listed below are "gentler versions" that do not result in a hanging.
- Triumph Hangman (http://triumphpc.com/hangman) uses challenging words and Hangperson (www.cartooncritters.com/hangman.htm) uses shorter words. Both use the same technology and keep score. The second site provides the html script for you to place the hangman activity on your own website.
- The Problem Site
(www.theproblemsite.com/games/hangman.asp) The vocabularly is not easy! My first word was "approximating."
Downloadable versions allow practice off-line. Some will cost, such as
- Bill's Games Hangman (www.billsgames.com/hangman/index.html) allows choice of topic, number of guesses, and a happy face or growing plant as the "hangman." The clinician can even enter a word for the client to "discover." This one rates 4 stars!
- Stay Afloat (www.funbrain.com/hangman) has sports stars, Harry Potter book words, geography and science words, and more. It provides additional clues after each wrong guess.
- Dolch words Hangman (www.novelgames.com/flashgames/game.swf?id=8)
- Bones Hangman (www.teilhard.com/kids/bones.html) where "you diminish the dreams of a sleeping dog" with each incorrect guess.
- Dunceinstein (www.wordwithyou.com/hang.html) gives clues but you only get four wrong guesses before you put a Dunce cap on the figure in the chair
- Internet Movie Database quiz (http://us.imdb.com/sections/games/quiz) features movie trivia and names of stars. Allows four incorrect guesses.
- Guess the Presidents (www.mce.k12tn.net/us_presidents/hangman.htm) does not limit number of guesses. Everyone wins eventually.
- Football-related words
(www.playfootball.com/games/hangman) For each incorrect guess, a football player looses a piece of clothing, eventually left with only his shorts, helmut and a red face.
- Music hangman (www.renoweb.net/rlam/game.htm) gives only one minute to figure out the music-related words.
Other downloads are free, such as:
- Hangman Pro for Macintosch or PC, (www.mv.com/ipusers/spacetime/hangmanpro.html) which features 69 categories of words, and allows you to add your own categories and words. The price is $25, but there is a 10 day free trial.
- Hang2000 (www.kidsdomain.com/down/mac/hangmanplus.html) is a Macintosh shareware hangman ($20 suggested donation). It has 38 subject categories, levels of difficulty and allows you to customize word choices, which could become a good activity for a child/teen who stutters to become familiar with vocabulary about stuttering, for practice with spelling word lists, or as review for students in an anatomy class to recall, and remember how to spell, the new vocabulary introduced.
- Dynamite (for MAC) builds a stack of explosives which goes off if you don't guess the phrase quickly enough.
- Cleft the Spelling Clown (for PC) (www.akidsheart.com/threer/spellclowndes.htm) is a hangman type game that pops balloons. You can add up to 10 spelling lists of your choice.
- Grey Olltwit's Hangman (for PC) (www.greyolltwit.com/hangman.html) includes a variety of categories.
Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of Kuster's Internet columns are on ASHA's Web site in HTML format with active links (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/news.htm), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.
Kuster, JM, Hangman and Other Word Games, ASHA Leader, April 12, 2005, p. 12.