Play is an essential part of any language classroom, from young kids to adults. Research shows that learners acquire language more effectively and effortlessly through play. Why are Spanish learning games so effective? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Games are fun (duh!). When our students are absorbed in a good game, their affective filter is lowered. This means they are more relaxed and they can more easily acquire new language. 
  • Students are invested during games. Even if their main focus is winning, we get increased focus and engagement, which is a win for us. 
  • Games create good vibes. When we add that element of fun and competition, we trigger the “happy emotions” in our students and create good feelings about coming to class. 
  • Most games naturally involve language. Sometimes activities can feel fake in class (like practicing a dialogue). A group game creates a setting in which students naturally need to communicate with one another.
  • Game are a great way to work movement into class. When we give our students a chance to move around and break up class time, they can return to other work refreshed and recharged. 


I also have some general tips to keep in mind when choosing Spanish learning games:

  • Know how much competition your classes can handle. If games create stress and anxiety, kids can’t acquire! In general, with younger classes I choose games where everybody wins or that don’t involve speed. Be mindful of this with older classes too. 
  • Mix it up with games that provide input and require output. As a new teacher, almost all my games had the students speaking. This can be good, but I know now that beginners also need so much input. The very best games provide interesting, comprehensible, input!
  • Know how much energy the game involves. Sometimes it’s okay to be crazy and do an energetic game, and sometimes a more soothing game like Bingo is what your class needs.


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