Alternatives to Hangman.jpg

Alternatives to Hangman

Growing up in England, a popular classroom board game for primary years was Hangman. The teacher would think of a secret word and write the number of spaces at the bottom of the board and the kids would try to guess the letters in the word. 

Each time the kids guessed a letter which wasn't in the secret word, then the teacher would draw a man hanging from a gallows bit by bit. The object of the game was for the kids to guess the word before the man was hanged.

Shark fin page.jpg

As a new English teacher coming to China for the first time, I decided to play Hangman in my primary school class as a warmer. It was clear that the kids in China had never played this game and they were excited. But as I drew more and more, they slowly realised what I was drawing and it dawned on me that it was actually pretty gruesome and perhaps unsuitable for young learner classes.


Here is a good alternative to hangman for ESL classes. You still have a secret word for the kids to guess, but this time, a shark is getting nearer and nearer to a man frantically trying to swim away.

It's easy to draw and the kids will love it. Even if your students have played Hangman and are used to it, this will make a nice change for them.