While writing a Haiku is a popular activity not only in schools but also among adults, it's actually difficult to find many resources online that make writing a Haiku into an interactive game.
Below you'll discover three Haiku games that you can use to introduce your kids or your students to the world of Haiku writing in a way that will capture their interest.
One rare example of a high quality online game that celebrates Haiku poems in a fun way is Haiku Hero from Kongregate Games. When many students are introduced to writing poetry, the reaction is often that the subject is dry and boring. However, the folks at Kongregate figured out a way to take one of the most highly structured poems on Earth and transform it into what many might consider a video game.
Playing Haiku Hero
The Start Page immediately portrays a sense that this is a professionally made game. The graphics are great and blend well with the font and other images. And if you aren't exactly sure how to write a Haiku, just click on "Instructions" and you'll get a short lesson on the structure of a Haiku poem.
Choosing a Level
Like any other video game, there are levels of difficulty to Haiku Hero. In Survival mode, you're running against the clock. If you write a great Haiku, you get more time. If you don't follow the rules, you'll lose time. In Deadline mode the clock just counts down from five minutes and you have to write as many Haiku poems as you can (following the rule for that round at the bottom of the screen). In Endless mode, you can just take as long as you want to write as many poems as you like.
Follow the Rules!
When you're playing the game, there are two things to watch closely - the time that's counting down, and the rule for that round at the bottom right corner of the screen. Rules can be anything from words to rhyme with, or letters that you need to start words with. Complete the rule successfully and you'll get a higher score, and more time on the clock if you're playing in Survival mode.
End of the Game
When the round is over, you'll see statistics on all of your poems. These include the total time you lasted in the game, the number of "good haikus" where you followed the rules, your average time per haiku, how many rules you broke, and what your "best word" was. To the left of your scores you'll see a log of all of your poems.
PBS Kids has always been a valuable educational tool for both parents and educators, so it's no surprise that you'd find a Haiku game on PBS.org. This particular haiku game is located in the parents section of the website.
If you've ever played the popular "word magnet" games that many people purchase for their refrigerator door, then you'll recognize this game. It has a plate filled with a limited number of words. Your job is to place each of these words onto the lines below in order to form a Haiku. With a limited number of words, this can be a real challenge!
Placing the words is as easy as clicking on the word and dragging it down to the line. Each word has a helpful number in the corner which reveals the syllable count for that word. This is to help younger kids understand the concept of adding up syllables when writing these unique poems.
At the Poem of Quotes website, you'll discover this fun Haiku game created by Gary R. Hess. Don't let the backdrop distract you, it is only there for decoration.
The goal of this game is to drag each word into the black pot at the upper right corner of the screen. Doing so makes the word appear at the bottom of the screen in sentence form. Remember to click on "Next Line" at the lower right hand side of the screen to move down to the next line of the poem.
Each time you drop the word in the bucket, it appears at the bottom of the screen. Keep adding words and clicking on "New Line" until you have your poem completed. Once you're done, the status will change to "New Poem."
While it's a bit simpler (and maybe a little bit more boring) than the other two games, it is still one of the rare examples of an actual online game that turns the Haiku into a fun game.
In fact, all of these games fulfill the mission of introducing the creation of these small poems in a manner that is interesting. These games would make an excellent addition to any Internet enabled PC in the classroom.