Fun Spanish Learning Games for Kids (Preschool & Early Elementary)

Fun Spanish Learning Games for Kids (Preschool & Early Elementary)

Inside: Spanish learning games for kids (preschool and elementary). 

 

I have a ton of Spanish learning games I’ve collected over the years. But I’ve been missing a list just for younger kids! 

Here are games that are easy to explain, not-too-competitive, and require more listening than speaking. These are best for preschool and early elementary, before drawing and writing skills are ready to go. 

Little learners have tiny attention spans. In my experience, they’re even shorter in a foreign language class. So keep it moving along, and end the game if the interest is waning.  Anytime you are working with young kids, I recommend lots of songs, puppets, and movements. If you are looking for preschool, you may want to see my Spanish preschool series

 

Spanish Learning Games for Kids

 

1. Musical Cards

 

This one is similar to musical chairs, and requires a set of cards with images of the target vocabulary. 

If you are studying numbers, for example, hand out number cards to all of the students. (It’s okay if several students have the same number.) Turn on music and allow them to move around. When the music stops, call out a number. Whoever has that number sits down, and play continues until one student (or one number) is left!

(I saw this game discussed in the Facebook Group Teaching Spanish to Children, run by Munde de Pepita. Definitely join if you haven’t already!)

 

2. Where is the button?

 

Again, prep a set of picture cards. (Credit to Susan O’Donnell Bondy for the idea!)

Have the students sit in a circle, and spread the cards out, face up, in the middle of the circle. Tell the students close their eyes, and hide a cut-out of a button (or whatever object you choose) under a card. The students take turns guessing which card it’s under. This sounds like an output-heavy activity (the students have to say the word), but you can provide a ton of input here: A ver, ¿está debajo del queso? ¡No, no está debajo del queso! ¿Dónde está? Or, if someone says el pollo, point to the zanahoria  and ask, ¿Éste? ¡Ay no, no es el pollo!

Susan shared that she has a chant that her students do. In Spanish, it could be something like Boton-cito, boton-cito, ¿dónde está?

 

3. Bingo

 

Bingo is fun for all ages, but doesn’t always work with younger crowds. If your students aren’t able to grasp the concept of 4-in-a-row, simply play to fill the boards, without a winner. They’ll still enjoy playing, and it’s a great listening activity. 

 

4. What’s missing?

 

I’ve played this one for a long time, but I love Julie’s take on this one from Mundo de Pepita. Read her post for a full explanation, but here is the basic explanation of how I play: have a set of objects or pictures in front of the students. Have them close their eyes (or turn away!), and remove one object. They open their eyes, and guess which object is gone. 

You can maximize the language opportunity here by chatting about their guesses. ¿La manzana? ¡Uy, la manzana está aquí! No es la manazana… ¿qué es, clase?

Spanish learning games

 

5. ¿Qué hay en la bolsa?

 

This is another fun guessing game, and best if it’s a real object or toy. I like to call up one student to put their hand in the bag, and feel they object. They can guess what it is, and if the answer isn’t correct another student gets to try guessing. 

For slightly older classes who know some basic like colors, big, small, you could also give them clues about what’s in the bag, and have them take some guesses after each clue. 

 

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Spanish learning games for kids

The Numbers in Spanish for Kids: Fun Learning Activities

The Numbers in Spanish for Kids: Fun Learning Activities

Inside: Lesson and activities to learn the numbers in Spanish with kids.

Lesson 11 Goals: I can count 0-15 in Spanish.

Target Structures: cero, uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez, once, doce, trece, catorce, quince

(Secondary terms: el mono, la cama, se cae)

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far, ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant.

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck, Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!

 

Lesson 5 Numbers in Spanish Activities

 

Activity 1

 

Introduce numbers 1-5 with the song Cinco monitos. 

 

Activity 2

 

Act out the song Cinco monitos with props or finger puppets. You could choose someone for mamá, and someone for el doctor. Use props like a phone or stethoscope if you have them. Sing or play the song, and let them act out. To make it super-visual, lay down a sheet for la cama, and they act out saltando and se cae.

Or, print out my freebie Cinco monitos titeres, and act out the song that way. 

cinco monitos

 

 

Activity 3

 

Once numbers 1-5 are down, choose a song for the numbers 1-10, or 1-20. There are many to choose from on YouTube (linked below!) You could also sing to the tune of One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians as Uno, dos, tres pollitos (or monitos!). Finger puppets are provided in the activity pack for either way. You can line up the students, and they lift their puppet finger as part of the song.

 

Activity 4

 

Play an alternative to”Musical Chairs.” Hand out enough number cards for everyone (it’s fine if some students have the same numbers). Play music and the students can dance or walk around. When the music stops, call out a  number. Whoever has that number sits down. The last ones standing win.

Supplemental Numbers in Spanish Resources:

Another cama song like Cinco monitos, with numbers 1-10 this time:

Song for learning numbers 1-20:

Authentic children’s song in Spanish (Chocolate) that repeats 1, 2, and 3:

Another classic children’s song in Spanish with counting:

And one more authentic song in Spanish with numbers!:

Want More?

Click to purchase the whole unit. You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!

With Unit 4, you’ll get a class set of game cards and Bingo for numbers 0-15. You can also make mini-books, on the Cinco monitos, and with farm animals. 

Buenas Noches: A Preschool Goodnight in Spanish Lesson

Buenas Noches: A Preschool Goodnight in Spanish Lesson

Inside: A preschool lesson with activities for good morning and goodnight in Spanish, sleeping and waking up, with activities for Spanish learners.

Lesson 10 Goals: I can talk about sleeping and waking up.

Target Structures: duerme, se despierta, les da, busca, la cama, el oso (review: buenas noches, buenos días)

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far, ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!

 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Lesson 10 Buenas Noches Activities

Activity 1

 

Show and discuss the mini-story Pablito no duerme.

To prep the story, you might gather some common items children sleep with and talk about them, or have the kids bring a special item they like to take to bed. You could also do a class graph: ¿Duermes con un oso? ¿Duermes con una manta especial?

In this story, the little boy asks for several things before going to sleep. After telling the story, it would be fun to act it out with props, and have a child pretend to be going to bed. You could change some of the details (for example, his mom doesn’t give him a cookie– she gives him an apple). 

 

Activity 2

 

Play a version of Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone?, to get in repetitions of duerme, despiértate, and busca. To go along with the unit, we’ll call it Gallina, gallina, ¡busca tu pollito! Here’s how to play!

You Need:

  • A small cut-out of a pollito (a small object will suffice if you don’t have that prepped)
  • A chair, facing away from the rest of the group

To Play:

  • Teacher picks one child to be the “gallina.” The rest of the class sits in a circle or in chairs. 
  • Teacher tells the gallina: “¡duerme!” with the pollito under the chair. 
  • One student is picked form the group to walk up and quietly grab the pollito, then sit back down with the pollito hidden. 
  • Teacher tells the gallina: “¡despiértate!” The gallina has to guess who has the pollito. 
  • The class chants: “Gallina, gallina, ¡busca tu pollito!”
  • The gallina gets 3 chances to guess who has it.
  • If the gallina can’t guess, the class says where it is. Then pick another student!

 

 

Activity 3

 

Show and tell the story Los pollitos y su mamá. This is a long story! Review the vocabulary and make sure that everything is already familiar for your students. 

Activity 4

 

You could also supplement this lesson with the book Buenas noches, Gorila.

Spanglish Schoolhouse has a lesson and cute freebie to go with this book:

Supplemental Buenas noches/ buenos días Activities and Resources

Here are some sweet books for read alouds:  

A collection of Spanish lullabies and folk songs for bedtime, all on YouTube:

spanish lullabies

A nice, clear song with buenas noches repetitions:

Includes buenos días, buenas tardes, and buenas noches:

Pocoyó episode on going to bed, that goes along well with the story Pablito no duerme (also has a pato, which the kids should recognize as they listen!). You could listen to the original and pause to talk about it, or turn the sound down and narrate the video yourself .

Peppa Pig episode on nocturnal animals (especially fun if you have my Unit 4 packet, which studies nocturnal animals!):

Peppa Pig episode on a sleepover with friends. The language is complicated, so you might have to narrate quite a bit:

A silly, highly comprehensible song that teachers me gusta/no me gusta:

Want More?

Click to purchase the whole unit. You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!

In Unit 4, I also have extension activities for reinforcing good morning and good night activities in Spanish. There are PPTs, printables, and a mini-book that study nocturnal animals versus those that eat during the day. 

Cinco Monitos Song Lyrics and Free Printable

Cinco Monitos Song Lyrics and Free Printable

Inside: Lyrics and activities for the song Cinco monitos.

Cinco monitos– Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed– is a fun song for little (or bigger!) Spanish learners. Use it to teach numbers 1-5, and beginning phrases like la cama, no más, la cabeza, and se cayó. 

cinco monitos letras y titeres

 

If you are looking for songs in general, you might like my lists of Nursery Rhymes in Spanish, Spanish Lullabies, or general Songs in Spanish for kids. These Cinco monitos materials are also part of my lesson on numbers for Prek-2nd grade. 

 

Cinco monitos: Lyrics / Letras

 

You’ll find a variety of lyrics for this song. Our personal favorite is the version sung by Toobys, so these lyrics are from that version. (The printable lyrics are available in the download below.)

Cinco monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Cuatro monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Tres monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Dos monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Un monito saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

 

Here’s the song on YouTube:

 

Cinco monitos: Activities / Actividades

 

This song can be a fun one to act out! Print the five little monkeys finger puppets, or glue the monkeys onto popsicle sticks, and cut out the bed image. 

 

 

cinco monitos actividades

Here are more videos of los Cinco monitos. You’ll see here just how many different ways there are to sing it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Inside: A round-up of classroom ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish.

Are you wondering how to handle the week of Thanksgiving in Spanish class? If half of the students are gone anyway, should we hand out a bunch of worksheets and call it a week? I’m not one to judge: I know it’s what an exhausting time of year it is.

Thanks to embracing comprehensible input, I no longer view holidays as isolated themes– time to teach some random vocabulary that won’t come up again until the next year. Nope! As long as we make in comprehensible, any theme can work for any student. That said, I do think it’s okay to accept that a few days of the year won’t be as content-packed as the others. If you’re going to do something like a craft, holidays are a good time to do them.

But let’s not re-invent the wheel. I’ve gathered some awesome resources to make the most of the week, with a little bit of everything, for everyone.

Here are some ideas for a typical Thanksgiving week:

Monday: Story, MovieTalk, and/or discussion. Pick one of the videos and infographics below, and plan your classes around it– even if you have different levels! Just adjust your own language to each group.

Tuesday: Craft day or hands-on day, if you’re planning to do one. From Monday, you probably used terms like turkey, so you can bring them around again today. Pick songs to play in the background; talk about one if it’s helpful. With younger classes, a mini-book might work well.

Wednesday: Game day. Go easy on yourself this day; it’s probably a weird half-day. Celebrities, Mafia, or Categorías are all perfect for crazy schedules and ancy students! If you have younger ones, Ponle el sombrero en el pavo or Pavo, pavito might be fun.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Spanish Thanksgiving Activities

Easy & Fun Ideas

 

 

  • Ask or tell a funny Thanksgiving story: a turkey who tries to avoid ending up one the dinner table, a family member who tries to enact a vegan Thanksgiving, or mishaps on the way to spend the holiday at the cousins’ house.

 

  • Choose a song and just focus on a few keywords (like gracias!). Do a really easy listening activity like Draw, Listen, Check

 

  • Lots of teachers do the traditional turkey or leaf crafts. This of course is easy to adapt to the Spanish classroom: students write things they’re thankful for, in Spanish, on the leaves or feathers.
  • If you can, take it up a notch to make it more input-based: generate some options and talk about them. Brainstorm things that students are thankful for, boil them down to common themes among the students, and categorize in “necessities” and “luxuries.” Make it Comprehensible has a great explanation for how to set up and guide this sort of discussion so the students are getting lots of input.

 

  • Retell the original Thanksgiving story. Use a picture book, draw as you go (a la Story Listening), or use a video from below as your visual.

 

 

 

#authres

There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can throw in during Thanksgiving week. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.

Credit: Speaking Latino

Credit: Infografias en Castellano

Visit my Thanksgiving in Spanish page on Pinterest to find lots more Thanksgiving in Spanish realia!

 

Songs

I have a whole post just on Thanksgiving songs for kids, if you’re teaching a younger crowd. This first song is nice because it uses the “Doy gracias por…” refrain that is part of many of the mini-books and crafts teachers like to do.

Día de acción de Gracias

 

If you’re looking for older kids, I love Mercedes Sosa and Gracias a la vida is a classic. Gracias has good repetitions of “gracias por…”, and Fonseca’s positive song Gratitud fits in perfectly if you’re doing a grateful-for theme. Or try this great Latino Thanksgiving playlist.

Gracias a la vida by Mercedes Sosa

 

Gracias – Silvestre Dangond & Juancho de La Espriella

 

Gratitud Fonseca

 

For Kids

Doy Gracias Mini-Pack (If you would like to purchase ready-to-go materials, I recommend this one from Mundo de Pepit! $3)

Free Spanish Doy Gracias Mini-Book

Free Bingo & Memory Games from Spanglish Baby

Free Doy Gracias Activities from Mrs. G Dual Language

Color-by-Number Turkey from Mix Minder

Five Crafts for Kids from Spanish Playground

Older Students

Spanish Turkey Glyphs (If you want to save time and purchase an activity, I recommend these glyphs from Sol.Azucar, available for a variety of proficiency levels. Students get to relax and color, plus lots of comprehensible input! $3)

A whole month of free Thanksgiving projects from La Profesora Frida

5 Ideas for Thanksgiving in Class from Sol.Azucar. I like the “Que linda manito” idea, especially!

Info in Spanish from Illinois University 

Free Activity Sheet to go with a reading of the Celebra día de acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby from Santilla

 

MovieTalks

These would make great MovieTalks for a Thanksgiving in Spanish day. You narrate the stories in language the students understand, discuss, possibly type up a reading, and voila– you have a high-interest, language-packed activity. 

 

 

Salt, sugar, cooking terms

 

Re-tell the Story

 

Retell the original Thanksgiving story, perhaps choosing a character from the perspective of the Native Americans, and one from the perspective of the Pilgrims. You could use this video for visuals (definitely address that it’s a simplified version– it glosses over the complicated story of colonization and it’s impact on native people in the Americas). If you like, contrast it with the version below.

 

 

#authres Movies

 

How Latino immigrants are adopting the holiday of Día de acción de gracias:

 

La historia de Thanksgiving en español (very much from the perspective of the Pilgrims, but fairly comprehensible with subtitles):

 

Report on Free Birds in Spanish:

 

La historia de Thanksgiving, en español:

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Spanish 

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Thanksgiving in Spanish Activities

Lesson 9: Simple Questions in Preschool Spanish

Lesson 9: Simple Questions in Preschool Spanish

Inside: A preschool lesson that introduce asking and answering questions in preschool Spanish, through comprehensible stories and input.

Lesson 9 Goals: I can answer very simple questions about myself.

 

Target Structures: busca, ve, eres, soy

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far and do the ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant. If you are incorporating calendar time, ask about the day, the weather (¿Hace frío o ¿Hace calor?)

Lesson 9 Activities

Activity 1

In the previous eight units, the students have heard es many times. Today, we’ll start working with eres a bit, and try it out with our animal words.

Gather or make some farm animal masks (they’re included in a Unit 3 purchase). Call up a student to try a mask on. Point to them and say, “¡Eres una vaca!” You can ask them questions, too: “¿Eres un pollito? Eres un elefante?”

At the beginning, I don’t worry about answering with soy– sí o no is a good start. If you use this activity over several classes, you can add in asking the class: “Es un caballo?” Throw in other questions, of course, if you want: “El caballo dice muu? Es verde or marrón?” Then go back to the student, “¿Dices muu o nii?”

Activity 2

TPR ve and busca (attach motions to them). There are lots of little games you can play to practice these words. Here are some ideas:

  • Play “I spy” for ve. (If you want, you can play by saying “Veo un…” or “Veo con mi ojito pequeñito…”) Incorporate the colors, and big/small to give clues.
  • Hide some objects in the room. Say, “Uno, dos, tres, busca!” and they try to find them.
  • Have one student leave and give a small object to someone in the room. The student comes back, and everyone chants, “Uno, dos, tres, busca!” The student guesses who has it. You can give clues about which student it is by saying clothing colors.

Activity 3

Project and tell the story La gallina que busca a su pollito.

 

Activity 4

Story-tell using authentic books in Spanish. Oso pardo, oso pardo and ¿Eres mi mamá? would go well with lessons 7-9.

You *can* read the story in the full text, and let the kids see what language they recognize. I recommend narrating the book yourself, using only vocabulary that the students know. Since your students are probably non-readers, you are telling the story; they’re listening and enjoying the pictures.

If you’d like to hear the full story in Spanish, there are some read-alouds from native speakers below. You can always mute the sound and narrate yourself, too!

Stories for Activity 4:

 

Want More?

If you like this lesson, click to purchase the whole unit! You’ll get an editable skit, a printable mini-book, and more.

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