Most of us probably use the word “hangman” without ever picturing a noose, gallows, or even an executioner. That is probably because from the time we were children, we have played a very non-threatening, non-violent word game by the same name. According to Wikipedia, the game hangman seems to have arisen in Victorian times, although its exact beginnings are sketchy at best. It probably had its origins in sedate parlors where word games and charades were considered innocuous ways to pass the time.
Hangman has had ebbs and flows of popularity among the general public, but for children it has been a constant favorite. This may be because the only game pieces needed for the competition are a piece of paper and a pencil. The first opponent simply thinks of a word, and writes down dashed to represent each of the letters of the word. The other player must then guess the secret word, and if they guess correctly, the first player writes in their guess in the correct place within the word. If the guesser is incorrect, however, a part of a stick figure is added to the “gallows” which has been drawn with a few quick lines. The competitor who misses too many letters, will have the entire figure added to the gallows and they will be declared the loser of the game.
Educators have seen more than just entertainment value in the game of hangman. For decades, teachers have used the childhood game in their classrooms to help children practice spelling and vocabulary. Even a game as simple as hangman requires several educational skills such as sequential reasoning, phonetic order, and word attack. Teachers understand that practicing spelling words or vocabulary lists can be tedious at times, so using learning games such as hangman in the classroom help make rote learning more enjoyable.
With the advent of the internet age, hangman and similar games have become even more accessible to educators and students. There are probably as many types of letter guessing games on the web as there are people to play them! Vocabulary.co.il provides an especially fun version of this popular pastime. Our Hang Mouse game, which can be played as a group or independently, has hundreds of vocabulary categories to choose from, depending on your current theme of study. The winning “mouse” who solves the secret word is able to steal some well-deserved cheese from the napping cat. Unfortunately, too many wrong guesses wake our friend the cat and makes the little rodent an easy catch. Try out our fun version of this popular game or one of the five other equally wonderful word games at Vocabulary.co.il.