ESL Hangman Games

Consonant Hangman

ESL Hangman Game - Spelling Activity - Any Level - 15 minutes

This hangman game helps to revise or introduce vocabulary. Divide the students into two to four teams. Think of a word and draw a blank for each letter in the word on the board. Explain that the students are going to play a game of hangman by guessing consonants and buying vowels with points they earn from correctly guessed letters. Teams then take it in turns to choose a consonant. If the consonant is in the word, the team scores one point. The team can then continue their turn by buying a vowel for one point and guessing the word, or they can save the point and guess another consonant on their next turn. Correct vowels do not earn points. If a consonant isn't in the word, play passes to the next team. If a team has points they haven't used, they can use them only after correctly guessing a consonant. The first team to guess the word wins. Play several rounds to find the overall winning team.
 

Dice of Fortune

ESL Hangman Game - Reading and Spelling Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

This enjoyable ESL hangman game can be used to revise vocabulary or grammar. Divide 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 = Play again, 6 = 100 points. Draw a hangman style clue on the board. The clue 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 and no value is assigned. When a hangman clue has been correctly guessed, the points scored by each team are safe and can't be rubbed out if bankrupt. Play several rounds. The team with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.
 

Last Man Standing

ESL Hangman Game - Spelling Activity - Any Level - 25 minutes

This hangman game has been specially adapted for the ESL classroom. Divide the students into four teams (A, B, C and D). Write the letters of the alphabet and points value on the board. Then, think of a film title, idiom, slogan, famous person or place and write the hangman clues on the board. Each team starts with 50 points. Read the clue to the class. Teams then take it in turns to choose a letter from the board. If a team chooses a consonant that's in one of the words, they score 20 points for each occurrence of the letter. If a team chooses a vowel, they lose 10 points. A correct answer is worth 50 points. If a team gives the wrong answer, they lose 50 points. Play several rounds. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Letter by Letter Hangman

ESL Hangman Game - Spelling Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

In this hangman game, students guess the letters of a sentence in order and teams only get one guess at each letter before the answer to that letter is given. Divide the students into two teams. Draw a line for each letter in your chosen sentence. Separate the words with a slash. Explain to the teams that they are going to play a game of hangman, but instead of guessing any letter they must guess the letters in order through the sentence and teams only get one guess at each letter before the answer to that letter is given. Write the first letter of the first word on the board. Ask the first team to guess what letter comes next. If the first team guesses the correct letter, write it in the space and ask the other team for the next letter. If the first team guesses incorrectly, draw the first part of the hangman for that team and ask the second team what letter they think comes next. If the second team gets the letter wrong, draw the first part of the hangman for their team. Then, write the correct letter in the space and move on to the next letter. Continue until the whole sentence is complete. The team with the least complete hangman wins the round and receives one point. If a team’s hangman is completed, they lose the round and a point is awarded to the other team. Play several rounds. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Parts of Speech Hangman

ESL Hangman Game - Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary and above - 15 minutes

This version of hangman is ideal for practicing parts of speech, sentence structure and grammar. Arrange the class into two to four teams. Think of a sentence containing the language point you wish to introduce or revise. Draw a line on the board for each word in the sentence and number each line. Teams then take it in turns to choose a number and you give them a clue for the word, e.g. 'It's a verb.' The team then guesses the missing word. If the team correctly guesses the word, they score one point and the word is written in the space. If not, the next team can ask for a second clue or choose another number. If they ask for the same number 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 with each clue getting gradually easier. After the sentence has been guessed correctly, you may go on to focus on the language point illustrated in the sentence. Then, repeat the game with other examples of the language point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Scrambled Hangman

ESL Hangman Game - Spelling Activity - Elementary and above - 20 minutes

In this engaging hangman game, students guess words by unscrambling letters. Divide the students into two to four 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. If the letter is in the word, write the letter in a different place to where it should go. If a letter isn't in the word, play passes to the next team. 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. The first team to guess the word scores a point. Play several rounds. 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 answers.
 

Sentence Hangman

ESL Hangman Game - Spelling Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

This fun hangman game is useful for practicing parts of speech, sentence structure and grammar. Divide the students into two or more teams. Draw a line for each letter in the sentence, separating the words with a slash. Explain that the teams can guess either individual letters or complete words. If a team correctly guesses a letter, they receive a point for each occurrence of the letter in the complete sentence. If a team correctly guesses a word, they score the total number of letters in the word. This includes any previously entered letters. When a team correctly guesses a letter or word, they have another turn. If a letter or word isn't in the sentence, play passes to the next team. Play several rounds. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 
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