Calling all kid word lovers! Currently featured in the AppStore's Valentine's Day Fun for Kids category is HangArt, a new kids app that puts a creative spin on the classic word game Hangman. In the AppStore featured Valentine's Day edition, kids ages 4-8 play a visual hangman, then draw pictures and create digital stories using a collection of Valentine's Day-themed words!
"Research shows that arts education and creative literacy can help to lay the groundwork for future skills needed for the personal and professional success for today's children," says Sandhya Nankani, creator of HangArt and founder of Literary Safari, which produced the app. "With HangArt, I wanted to create a creative and collaborative playground that combines literacy and the arts in a meaningful way by allowing kids to do the things they love to do the most—play games, draw pictures, and tell stories." The mother of a six year old, Ms. Nankani has spent over a decade creating children's educational content and learning games for clients including Scholastic, PBS, and Sesame Workshop.
Diversity is the need of the hour in children's media and HangArt's animated illustrations, created by Kavita Ramchandran, act as 'sliding glass doors, windows, and mirrors' for children, reflecting the rich history, culture and diversity of our world today. HangArt also reimagines the macabre and violent image of a "hangman" dangling on a noose as a friendly fellow who hangs on a monkey bar and falls off when you lose a word.
HangArt is the recipient of an Editor's Choice Award from Children's Technology Review and Teachers with Apps, which selected HangArt as a "top pick" and calls HangArt a "delightful find." The app was created with the input of NJ-based educator and literacy advisor Patty McGee, author of Feedback that Moves Writers Forward (Corwin Literacy 2016). It features the Castledown font, a dyslexic-friendly font praised by Wired magazine as a "font that helps kids learn to read and write." The app also offers in-depth analytics grounded in the mindset approach for parents and teachers, including insights on what words kids find to be especially easy or difficult.
"With HangArt, the focus is on having fun, while building vocabulary in an authentic, situated context," says Matthew Farber, teacher, Edutopia blogger and author of Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning. "I watched as my five-year-old discovered parts of speech and how words interplay to construct sentences. He was particularly engaged in the Story Studio, where he could record his own stories."
HangArt is available for download for Apple or Android for $1.99. It has no inApp purchases or advertising