ESL Hangman Games
Age/Level: Any Time: 15 minutes Players: 2 teams Preparation: None
Aim: To guess a word by looking at the consonants
This hangman game helps to introduce new vocabulary.
Divide the class into two teams.
As in hangman, think of a word and draw a blank for each letter on the board.
Explain to the teams that they can guess consonants, but vowels have to be bought with points they earn by correctly guessing consonants.
Teams take it in turns to play.
If a team guesses a consonant and it’s not found in the word, play passes to the other team.
If the consonant is in the word, that team wins one point for every occurrence of the letter.
When a team has points, they can buy a vowel for one point or guess another consonant. Vowels do not earn points.
The first team to guess the word wins.
Dice of Fortune
Age/Level: Any Time: 20 Minutes Players: 3 teams Preparation: A large dice
Aim: To guess a word or sentence by inserting letters into blank spaces
You can use this enjoyable ESL hangman game to revise vocabulary or sentence structure.
Begin the game by splitting the students into three teams.
Draw the six sides of a dice on the board and assign the following value to each number.
1 = 10 points
2 = 20 points
3 = 30 points
4 = Bankrupt
5 = Roll again
6 = 100 points
Then, draw a hangman style clue on the board. It can be a word, phrase or complete sentence.
The first team chooses a letter and then rolls the dice. If you can, use an oversized dice, the bigger the better.
If the letter appears in the clue, the team scores the assigned value for every occurrence of the letter.
If the letter doesn't appear in the clue, play passes to the next team.
When a clue is complete, the points scored by each team are safe and can't be rubbed out if bankrupt.
The game is then repeated until a time limit is reached or all the clues are guessed.
The team with the highest score is the winner.
Last Man Standing
Age/Level: Any Time: 25 minutes Players: 4 Teams Preparation: None
Aim: To guess words by inserting letters into blank spaces
This ESL hangman game is a great adaptation of the original hangman. Teams race to get the highest number of points by guessing letters and words.
Divide the class into four teams.
Explain that each team has 50 points and that the objective of the game is to get the highest number of points.
You may need to elicit or pre-teach the words: consonant, vowel and clue.
Set up the whiteboard as follows:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Correct consonant = 20pts
Vowel = -10pts
Correct answer = 50pts
Wrong answer = -50pts
A. 50 B. 50 C.50 D. 50
Clue - It's big and green.
_ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _
Write the letters of the alphabet at the top of the board.
Each team starts with 50 points.
A correctly guessed consonant wins a team 20 points for each occurrence of the letter.
If a team chooses a vowel, it will cost them 10 points.
Teams take it in turns to play.
A correct answer is worth 50 points (The answer in the example is The Amazon.). However, an incorrect guess will cost a team 50 points.
The clue is there to help the teams think of the answer.
Good topics: movies, famous people, idioms, slogans, famous places, etc.
As an extension, students can think of their own words and clues and run the game themselves.
Parts of Speech Hangman
Age/Level: Elementary and above Time: 15 minutes Players: 2 teams Preparation: None
Aim: To identify parts of speech
This version of hangman is good for practicing parts of speech. It also works well when introducing a grammar point at the beginning of a lesson.
Arrange the class into two teams. If you have a large class, you could have three or four teams.
Draw lines on the board according to the number of words in the sentence. Then number each line.
Example: He ran really fast.
1 2 3 4
______ ______ ______ ______
Teams take it in turns to play.
The first team to play chooses a number, e.g. number two.
You give the team a clue, e.g. it's a verb.
Teams are allowed one guess after each clue.
If they guess correctly, they win one point and the word is written in the space.
The next team can ask for a second clue or choose another number.
If they ask for number two again, you give another clue, e.g. the verb is in the past simple tense.
You should try to have at least three clues for each word.
After the sentence has been guessed correctly, you may go on to focus on the grammar point of the lesson, e.g. the past simple tense, compound or complex sentences, etc.
Age/Level: Elementary and above Time: 20 minutes Players: 2 teams Preparation: None
Aim: To guess a word by inserting letters into blank spaces and unscrambling the letters
This version of hangman works well with higher-level students. This game is a combination of hangman and scrambled words.
Divide the students into two teams.
Draw a line on the board for each letter of the word you have chosen.
Teams take it in turns to choose a letter.
When a correct letter has been guessed, write the letter in a different place to where it should go. So, the order of the letters is mixed up.
The word can be guessed before all the letters are revealed. However, this is normally very hard to do.
Once all the letters of the word are revealed, the teams race to unscramble the word to determine what it is.
The first team to guess the word wins a point.
The team with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.
You may also wish to base the words on a theme or category to help the students guess the word.
Age/Level: Any Time: 20 minutes Players: 2 or more teams Preparation: None
Aim: To guess a sentence by inserting letters into blank spaces
This hangman game uses a complete sentence rather than an individual word. It is a useful game for introducing topics, vocabulary or grammar points at the beginning of a lesson.
Divide the students into two or more teams.
Draw a line for each letter in the sentence. Separate the words with a slash.
Example: The capital of England is London.
_ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _
Explain to the teams that they can guess either individual letters or complete words.
If a team correctly guesses an individual letter, they receive a point for each occurrence of the letter in the complete sentence.
Example: A team guesses the letter N.
_ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ n _ _ _ n _ / _ _ / _ _ n _ _ n = 4 points
If a team correctly guesses a one word, they will win the total number of letters in the word. This includes any previously entered individual letters.
Example: A team guesses the word England.
_ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / E n g l a n d / _ _ / _ _ n _ _ n = 7 points
When a team correctly guesses a letter or word, they get an extra turn, and then it’s the next teams go.
Play a few rounds. The team with the highest number of points by the end of the game is the winner.
Related Hangman Games: Wheel of Fortune Game