A version of Hangman for young children

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This is a version of Hangman for children. Like normal Hangman, you have to try to work out what the word is, letter by letter. Unlike normal Hangman, you never run out of guesses, and no one gets hanged.



First, you need to make sure your computer runs Java programs, as Hangman is written in Java.

Then click here to install and launch the application, or to download the program & run it from your computer. Save it to somewhere handy (for example the desktop on Windows), and either double click on it to run it (Windows, Mac OS & Solaris), or run it from the command line (Linux).

If the installer asks you about security, click the option that allows the program to install. There's nothing malicious or secret in the program.

How to use Hangman

Hangman has a built-in vocabulary of 100 words. As you start the game, one is selected at random for the child to crack. Try to encourage the child not just to press buttons till the answer's right, but to try to work out what the word is as its letters are gradually revealed.

Each time the child gets a letter right, a little musical flourish plays, and a longer one plays once the whole world appears. All the letters the child types which aren't in the word get displayed at the bottom of the screen. They're shown in alphabetical order, so it's easier to check which letters you've not used yet (if you know your alphabet, that is).

All the letters are displayed in a large font. If there's not enough room across the screen to display them all, the program shrinks the letters slightly until they fit. Don't be afraid therefore to set a whole sentence for your child to crack. It'll be made to fit. It's tempting to pick short words for beginner readers, bit they're quite hard to crack because so many of your guesses will be wrong. (Try setting the word 'jib' for an adult, for example.)

Hangman can draw on a small selection of fonts chosen for being easy to read. If your computer has more than one of these fonts available, you'll be able to choose your favourite from the Fonts menu. If your computer has only one or even none of them, you just have to settle for what you're given. Feel free to ask if your favourite font isn't there.

You can manipulate the dictionary of words if you like. Pick the Edit dictionary option from the Options menu. Once you've finished, you can either save to commit your changes, or cancel to abandon the edit.

You can also put a word of your own in for the child to crack. To do this, pick Set your own word from the options menu. In setting your own word, you can optionally allow it to be added to the dictionary for future use. The program will prevent duplicates of words from being added to the dictionary.

If you want to, you can show the word's baseline. This may be useful for children who are learning to write, because they will see which letters hang below it, which sit on it etc.

If the child just starts pressing buttons with no thought, the program will pick it up and put up a message encouraging them to work it out properly.


V1.02 - Dialog comes up and blocks mindless input.

V1.01 - Baseline option added.

V1.00 - Initial release.