HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories App Poster Image
New twist on old game makes learning fun.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about reading and understanding sight words, spelling patterns, and storytelling. They'll use logic and reasoning -- and luck -- to guess words, letter by letter. Once they've guessed a word, they'll get some motor practice as they trace its letters, though the tracing instruction and mechanics aren't great. Culturally diverse drawings that accompany words help kids learn what the words mean and expose them to people, history, and objects from around the world. By making their own drawings, kids express their own interpretations of the words. The storytelling section encourages kids to get even more creative. They'll also practice forming sentences, using words in context, and constructing a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Kids get multifaceted practice with sight words in HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories.

Ease of Play

App is easy to navigate, though only some instructions are read aloud. Tracing in the letter-writing activity could be more responsive.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories features an updated version of hangman, that classic old-fashioned word game, and other activities. To record the stories, kids will need access to your device's microphone, and drawings and stories are both stored in the app. Users can create up to six separate profiles, and there are opportunities for kids to play together. At the time of this review, there were a few problems with the app freezing; simply quit the app and reopen to get back into the game. The developer's website has a guide for how to help kids get the most out of the app as well as tips for extending learning off the screen. Read the app's privacy policy for details on the kinds of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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Adult Written byHublova March 4, 2016

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What's it about?

HANGART: PLAY HANGMAN, DRAW PICTURES, TELL STORIES gives kids practice with 200 sight words. In hangman, kids play the classic game as a single player or with a friend in two-player mode. Each correct letter reveals a bit more of a drawing representing the word, and a help button eliminates possible letter choices, if needed. With each incorrect letter, users see one more piece of a kid hanging from a play structure instead of a traditional hangman drawing. Once completed, kids can trace the letters to practice writing the word or skip that step. In "draw pictures" kids draw their own pictures of the words and can save them to the device, and in "tell stories," kids record a story using the words they've "won" in hangman. Customize by using capital or lowercase letters or providing a first-letter and/or last-letter hint.

Is it any good?

With three ways to engage, kids have a wonderfully interactive experience exploring a good-size selection of important words. In addition to guessing a word, kids also think about its meaning, use it in context, and get creative. Every element was clearly well thought out, including the difficulty levels, special easy-reading font, and parents' guide to the drawings. Also, while drawings are simple and cute, they also purposefully present diverse representations of words -- a baby with brown skin, a Native American corn husk doll -- which help widen kids' horizons and expectations. Storytelling and drawing also let kids explore the words in their own way, and the two-player mode encourages users to play together. The biggest downsides are some technical issues and the handwriting approach: At times the app freezes or doesn't respond to where you tap, and the letter-tracing feature can be slow in its response to where you move your finger. Also, the direction to create letters doesn't coincide with best practices around letter formation, though the target age would probably benefit more from writing words without guides anyway. Look beyond these issues, and it's a jewel of a game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what each word means in HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories. Examine and explore how the word is represented visually in the app and explore the history, cultural representations, or people featured. Then, ask how kids might want to make a drawing of the word's meaning.

  • Play together and discuss strategies for playing hangman. Point out the difference between vowels and consonants, look for patterns in words, and use logical clues (for example, if there's a "q," there's probably also a "u").

  • Work together in the storytelling section. Help kids plot out a storyline with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  • Read the parent's guide on the developer's website for lots of additional great ideas, including tips for using this app with English-language learners.

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