Games are an exciting way to review and to have fun in the classroom!
- ¡Caramba!: Numbers and Counting Game. To play: All students stand up and form a big circle. One person starts counting “uno.” The person on their left says “dos,” the next person says “tres,” and so on. However, players may NOT say “siete,” multiples of siete (7, 14, 21,28, etc.,) or numbers with a siete in it (17, 27, 37, etc.) Instead of saying these numbers the person must say “¡Caramba!” and the order then reverses! If you say the wrong number or do not say ¡Caramba! when you are supposed to, you are out, and the rest of the players continue. I love to play this if I have 5 minutes left of class or if the class needs a change of pace. ALL levels love this game!
- Cucharitas: Vocabulary game. To play: In groups of 5-10 place desks together to form big table. Each player starts with 4 cards. They are looking for 4 of a kind (the Spanish word, the picture, the English word, the Spanish word used in a sentence.) For a group of 10, place 9 spoons spread out in the center of the table. (If you don’t have spoons, use pencils.) There is always one spoon less than there are people. The dealer picks a card from the deck and passes one card to his left. The player to his left may keep the card or pass it to the player on the left. If they choose to keep the card they must pass a card in their hand to the left. Everyone must always have only 4 cards in their hands. Everyone passes the cards all at once. When a player finds 4 of a kind, they stealthy take a spoon and place it on their lap. They still continue to pass cards. When the other players notice that a spoon is missing, they must also take a spoon. The player without a spoon is out! The remaining players play again, until there is only one player left. A variation: the person who was “out” can get a point and continue to play. The player with the least amount of points wins. My students beg to play this game! Warning: the room does get very loud with all of the laughter!
- La solterona: Old Maid Vocabulary Game. To play: Sit in a circle in groups of 3-7, and deal out all of the cards. Players look for a match (the picture and the Spanish word, or the English word and the Spanish word.) When players find a match, they place it face up on the table. Each player takes turns randomly picking from the person to their left. When a match is found, place it face up on the table. When a player is out of cards, he/she watches and the remaining players continue to play until there is only one card left: la solterona! The player who is stuck with this card loses.
- Concentración: Vocabulary game. To play: Place cards in rows face down ( I number the back to give students more practice saying numbers.) Each student selects 2 cards by saying the numbers. They are looking for a match of the Spanish word and the picture, or the Spanish word and the English word.) It’s best played in groups of 3-10.
- Ensalada rusa: Relay Game. To play: Teams of 4-6 people sit in a row. The first person on each team has the paper with rows of various categories. (I use nombre, capital, país, nacionalidad, color, parte del cuerpo, una cosa en la clase, un verbo, comida o bebida, una palabra de vocabulario.) The teacher selects a letter and writes it on the board. Each player must write one word in Spanish that begins with that letter in the box next to the category, and then pass the paper to the next person on their team. They may not tell each other what to write, and they may only pass one time without writing anything. When the team cannot write anymore, the teacher counts how many answers are correct without any errors, and gives back the paper to the team. The team can then work together to correct their mistakes. The team with the most correct words wins!
- Las tripas del gato: Vocabulary game. To play: In partners, players take turns drawing lines connecting the Spanish word with the picture or English word. The lines must not cross or go through words or pictures. A player wins when the other player cannot draw a line without crossing lines or going through pictures or words. This is actually a game in many Latin American countries with pre-schoolers learning the alphabet. We have changed this to a vocabulary game, and our high school students love it!. Even students who tend to be disengaged at times, request this game! To prepare: select about 20 vocabulary words and randomly place the written words on a piece of paper. Then randomly place either the picture or the written word in English on the paper. Make extra copies because our students always want to play more than once!
- Voy al mercado: Vocabulary game. To play: Put the chairs or desks in a circle (with the seats open to the circle.) Each student sits in a chair with a picture of the Spanish word. The teacher starts in the middle and says “Voy al mercado y voy a comprar...” Then the teacher walks around the circle and continues naming the various items the students have. When the the teacher names an item, the student with that item follows the teacher walking in a circle. When the teacher exclaims, “¡Y es todo!” everyone (including the teacher) must find a new seat. The person left without a seat is now in the middle and the teacher is out. Remove a seat every time someone gets out. The game continues until one student remains.