Playing hangman with kids can be a lot of fun. But sometimes, it can be tough to come up with kid-friendly phrases to use during the game. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of words, popular sayings, quotes, phrases, and lyrics from songs that you can use the next time you play. If you’re looking for good Hangman phrases for kids, this list has got you covered!
How to Play Hangman with Kids
If you’re not familiar with the game of hangman, it’s a pretty simple concept. It’s very similar to Wheel of Fortune.
To set up the game, you’ll need a whiteboard or chalkboard, or piece of paper, and something to write with.
First, the leader of the game chooses a word or phrase that the other players will try to guess.
The leader will also need to write out the number of blank spaces needed for each phrase on the board. For example, if the chosen phrase is “The Cat in the Hat,” the leader would write out “_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.”
Then, the other players take turns guessing letters they think might be in the word or phrase.
If a player guesses a letter that is in the word or phrase, the leader writes correct letters in the corresponding blank space or spaces if it appears in the phrase more than once.
However, if a player guesses a letter that is not in the word or phrase, the leader draws one body part of a stick figure on the board. This is where the “hangman” part of the game comes in – if the players can’t guess the word or phrase before the stick figure is complete, the player loses the game.
As players guess the letters, the leader will write them below the phrase to keep track of what has already been tried.
Most of the time, hangman is played with words or phrases that are chosen by the leader at random. But you can also make the game more challenging by choosing a theme for the words or phrases ahead of time.
If you’re playing with younger kids, it’s important to stick to simpler words or phrases so they can recognize and read. And if you’re playing with older kids, feel free to make the game as challenging as you’d like.
While Hangman was a common classroom game when I was a child, over the past few decades the game has been deemed inappropriate and politically incorrect.
The depiction of a hanging man is seen as violent, and some believe it gamifies
lynching. It can also be a trigger for anyone who has lost someone to suicide or has suicidal thoughts.
As a classroom teacher, I am one to avoid even mildly violent images and would encourage you to do the same.
If you’re looking for a Hangman alternative that is more appropriate for today’s classroom environment, here are a few ideas that you can draw part by part instead:
- Smiley Face with eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hair
- Flower with a stem, petals, and leaves
- Regular Stick Figure
- House with a door, windows, and chimney
Another popular option is to draw an object like a sundae, rocket ship, or turtle and erase parts of it when an incorrect letter is guessed.
Honestly, you don’t even need a picture to play Hangman. You can play like Wheel of Fortune and just have the blank lines available and let everyone take a turn until someone guesses the answer correctly.
Hangman Words for Kids
When coming up with word lists for your next hangman game it’s important to consider the age of the children playing.
If they are just learning how to spell and read, long phrases too challenging and create more frustration than fun.
When you choose age appropriate words and phrases, hangman can be a fun way to practice reading, spelling and develop vocabulary skills. You can even use hangman as a fun game to learn weekly spelling words in class or at home.
Here are some popular Hangman words for kids:
Short Words for Hangman
A CVC word is a word that contains a consonant, vowel, and consonant sound. These are some of the first words that younger children learn to read and spell. Some popular CVC words include: cat, hat, mat, bat, rat, map, cap, sap, tap,van, man, can, leg, bug, log etc. There are literally hundreds of them, so the possibilities are endless.
Sight words are words that are recognized by sight rather than sound. These are some of the first words that young children learn to read. Some popular sight words include: the, was, of, where, could, laugh, when, and who.
Funny Hangman Words
Funny words are always a hit with kids of all ages. They love to laugh as they try to guess the word. Kids go crazy for anything gross or silly and this list will give them plenty of giggles. Expand their vocabulary while they learn new words by having them look up the definitions for any words they don’t know.
Know any other funny words I should add to this list? Comment below and let me know!
Good Hangman Phrases for Kids
Words are fine, but if you’re playing with older kids, phrases are where it’s at when you’re playing Hangman.
They can be as long or as short as you want. The longer phrases are fun because there is a better chance that each guessed letter will be present, giving more people a chance to play and more clues for the mystery phrase.
Kid-Friendly Quotes, Sayings and Idioms
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Better late than never.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Easy as pie.
There’s no place like home.
You snooze, you lose.
Cool as a cucumber.
Hold your horses.
Don’t spill the beans.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again.
The early bird catches the worm.
Children’s Book Titles
Since you want to make sure that the phrases you use are familiar to kids, classic book titles are a great choice.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
The Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Where the Wild Things Are
Jack and the Beanstalk
The Tortoise and the Hare
Kids Movie Quotes
Movie quotes are another great option, especially if you want to play Hangman with a group of kids who are all around the same age.
“To infinity and beyond!”
“Just keep swimming.”
“You’re never too old to play.”
“There’s no place like home.”
“I’m the king of the world!”
“Life is like a box of chocolates.”
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
“May the force be with you”
“E.T. phone home”
Using lyrics from popular songs and nursery rhymes can be a great way to make the game more relatable and fun for kids.
Who let the dogs out?
What does the fox say?
Do you want to build a snowman?
Let it go, let it go
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Pop Goes the Weasel
Row, row, row your boat
I’m a little teapot
Twinkle twinkle little star
The itsy bitsy spider
The wheels on the bus
Popular Children’s Characters
Famous cartoon and book characters are another great option, especially for younger kids. They will have an easier time recognizing and guessing the words or phrases if they are associated with characters they know and love.
The Little Mermaid
Winnie the Pooh
The Gingerbread Man
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
The Three Little Pigs
Hangman Phrases for Kids
These are just a few ideas to get you started. With a little creativity, you can come up with endless possibilities for Hangman words and phrases that will be fun for kids of all ages.
What are some of your favorite Hangman words and phrases for kids? Share in the comments below!
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