Why utilize games in Spanish class?
I absolutely love using Spanish class games with my high school Spanish students. For starters, games help me engage even my most reluctant students. Games also bring fun and spontaneity into the learning process, and they provide a great opportunity for me to formatively assess my students’ progress.
I used to think that games were only appropriate for review right before a quiz or a test, but over the past 8 years I have developed various games and activities that are helpful during all stages of the learning process.
Yes, review games are appropriate before a quiz or other assessment, but they can also be used seamlessly as warmups or exit tickets, brain breaks, and more.
They can even be used on the first day of a new unit!
Almost everything I do in my classroom can be tied back to my focus on positive teacher-student relationships. I believe that my relationship with my students has been the biggest game changer for me over the past few years. Developing strong relationships has made classroom management easier and I am seeing more language use and higher proficiency levels! I plan my lessons with my student relationships in mind. Utilizing games is no different.
When I am able to involve competition in my classroom, my students tend to have more fun and therefore so do I. If we are all happy, and we are all engaged, then my students are learning 🙂 Above all, I am improving relationships today which will in turn help me to reach them tomorrow!
After reading this post, you’ll have plenty of new ideas and access to SEVEN free Spanish games to try with your students!
Why create my own Spanish class games?
When I first started teaching, I had trouble finding games that I felt were challenging enough for my students. If I did find a game that I liked, it usually took a lot of prep time or required materials that I didn’t have. (For example, Jenga games, dry-erase dice, etc.)
When I couldn’t find Spanish class games and activities that I liked, I decided to design my own. I created games for speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the target language.
My goal was to make my job easier and save myself time, so I also created Editable Spanish game and activity templates that I can edit time and time again. These are my “go-to” activities for every unit, and I always try to have a few versions at the ready.
My Favorite Spanish Class Games
Spanish Class Game #1 – Taco Tuesday
This game is a FAVORITE in my Spanish classes year after year. I use it during every unit, and I have over 40 premade Taco Tuesday games for Spanish Class.
This game is best played in groups of 2-3, and can be adapted for any unit in any level. I have a detailed Taco Tuesday tutorial and walkthrough for traditional paper play, as well as additional supports to help you with the digital versions!
Taco Tuesday is perfect for any length of time, and is appropriate for elementary, middle, or high school Spanish classes.
Quick overview: Each group of 2-3 students needs one game sheet. the teacher gives clues aloud and students race to find the correct taco on the game board. Whoever finds it first, gets to color it in *their* color. I have a post with differentiation ideas right here!
Interested in a second FREE game? Grab it below!
Spanish Class Game #2 – Puzzles
Spanish class puzzles are perfect for any vocabulary or grammar unit!
These activities are best for individual students or pairs. I love to use puzzles as a warm-up, as a quick competition, or as extra review before a quiz.
I love how versatile puzzles can be; you can use them for translation practice and conjugation practice, but you can also use images or synonyms to avoid using any English with your students.
My students love to race in pairs to complete their puzzles, and we often face-off until we have one winning pair in the class! If you’re interested, you can read more about how I use puzzles in Spanish class.
Spanish class game #3 – Guerra de Miel
My Guerra de Miel game sets are best for practicing grammar topics, with students again working in groups of 2 or 3.
This is one of my board games that comes with it’s own set of game cards. Students will catch on to the routine quickly! They sit with their partner or small group and one game board with numbered spaces.
Students take turns choosing a card from the top of the pile. If the card has a number, they complete that numbered space on the board. If their group confirms their answer (or you can provide the answer key for them to check,) the student is allowed to claim that honeycomb space by writing their initials. If the card has a command such as MIEL GRATIS o ROBA UN ESPACIO, students follow those instructions before ending their turn 🙂 At the end of the game, the student with the most claimed spaces wins!
Spanish Class Game #4 – Llama Mía
My Llama Mía Game Sets are actually speaking activities disguised as board games! This activity gets students talking in the target language in a structured and supported way.
Llama Mía is best for groups of 2-3 and while I most often use it for grammar, it can be adjusted for almost any topic.
Students need to roll dice (or use the Dice iPad/iPone app) to move their game piece around the board. When they land on a space, you decide whether they need to create a simple conjugation or perhaps a full sentence to “earn” that space. If they answer incorrectly, they must move back to their original space and roll again on their next turn.
The first student to reach the center wins! My students like to play that they have to land perfectly in the center or it doesn’t count 🙂
We usually play 2 rounds which only takes about 10-15 minutes total.
Spanish class game #5 – TIBURONES
My Tiburones Game Sets are also designed to promote speaking in the tartget language. This game takes a little more prep time, and so I save the game sets from year to year to save myself some time! This game is appropriate for small groups up to 4 or 5 students.
To play: Students pull a strip from the envelope and they again must conjugate or create a sentence aloud (teacher discretion.) If they are able to do so correctly, they keep their strip. If they cannot, they must return the strip to the envelope. If they pull a TIBURÓN strip, they must return ALL of their strips except for the shark.
Each game has 25 game strips and 3 shark strips. I have them keep the sharks out once they are pulled so that there will be a winner. My classes also play with a silly rule that if you are unlucky enough to pull all 3 shark strips, you win 🙂
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Spanish class game #6 – Sonidos Secretos
This is another class FAVORITE! You will see why after the very first time you play 🙂
My Sonidos Secretos Game Sets allow me to sneak in extra speaking into class time. This activity is sure to fill your class with two of my favorite things… laughter AND the target language! I often use this activity as a REWARD for my students at the end of the week, and they love it!
Quick overview: Students work in pairs for this game. One student wears headphones (with music loud but not *too* loud) while the other student pulls a card. The student with the card has to quietly — yet dramatically — whisper the sentence or phrase on the card. The student with the headphones has to decipher what their partner is saying!
This helps students with their pronunciation and their confidence speaking. They also get really silly, which is fine with me! I love that my students are practicing, thinking, and even GUESSING in the target language!
Spanish class game #7 – Doble Donas
Let’s change gears from speaking to writing. My Doble Donas Game Sets are a great way to practice a specific vocabulary or grammar unit in a structured way that still offers student choice.
This game is very similar in set-up to Guerra de Miel, however an added layer of student choice has been added. When a student chooses a game card that indicates a numbered space on the board, there are TWO options provided. Students are instructed to choose one of the prompts in order to claim the space. There is also an optional written extension activity included in each of my Doble Donas sets. The student with the most spaces claimed at the end is the “winner!”
In my more competitive classes, my students often self-impose a rule that you actually have to answer *both prompts* in order to earn each space! I love seeing this in my students.
As with my other games in this post, editable templates for this game are also available!
This is a perfect activity for when you want to provide student choice and a structured writing opportunity that still feels fun for your students. Students are given a game board/sheet with 30 options to choose from. They “shop” through the raindrops, and choose ten (teacher discretion!) and create an original sentence based on what they find in each drop.
I have a more detailed activity walkthrough for incorporating the La Lluvia writing activity in Spanish class.
Spanish class game #9 – La Silla Caliente
Ending this list with another FAVORITE!
While most of the games here are ideal for pairs or small groups, La Silla Caliente for Spanish Class is best played as an entire class! I love this game because every student is involved during every single question. It doesn’t matter your class size, which is wonderful in my classes of 29 and 30.
There are MANY reasons to love this game, as well as various differentiation possibilities. I dive deeper in my Silla Caliente tutorial, but will give you a quick intro here.
To start, I separate my students into teams of 4-5 students. We arrange our desks in rows, and each team sits in a line from front to back. During the game, however, they cannot communicate with their team members in any way.
In this game, I project a question on the TV/projector. To respond to each question during this game, students utilize the Notability app on their iPads or they use our small whiteboards.
I project the question, read it aloud, and they have 15 seconds to answer. When I shout “muéstrame” they all must show their responses at once. Each student must answer every question as we go, because their team might need them!
*If the first person in their team row gets the answer correctly, their team earns 5 points.
*If the first person answers incorrectly but the second person in the row gets it right, their team earns 4 points.
*If the first two students have wrong answers but the third person back has it right, their team earns 3 points…. and so on.
I keep score on the board as we go, or I use the digital score tracker that is now included with each of my game sets. Teams are typically pretty competitive and close in score for the majority of the game, since one question could lead to +5, which is great.
When I create this game template, I alternate question slides with an answer slide directly after. This way, students can see the correct spelling/punctuation of each answer even if they answered incorrectly. I found that projecting the answers as we go was much more efficient than repeating the correct answer over and over and sometimes pausing to write it on the board.
After each question, the student in the front desk moves to the back of their team, and each other team member moves forward. This way, students all have a turn at being the 5 point responder, or in”La Silla Caliente.”
All of my Silla Caliente game sets come with a digital score tracker that I designed specifically for this activity.
As you enter each team’s score for the round, the tracker will automatically tally each team’s total score at the top for you! No more math mistakes on the board 🙂
All of my Silla Caliente game sets are also EDITABLE!
This is a game I like to play when we have at least 30 minutes available. My teams get VERY competitive, and I’d say this is the game they request the most! We don’t get to play it very often, which I think makes them even more eager to play 🙂
You can see all of my Silla Caliente game sets here.
Thank you for reading!
I hope I have inspired you to try a new game or two with your Spanish classes! I have created many games and activity lines, all of which can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
I have various Spanish class activity tutorial blog posts, but feel free to comment below to let me know if there’s an activity you’d like me to write more about! Or, comment just to let me know which one is your favorite! 🙂
Have fun, profe!