Las Ollitas {Traditional Game}

This is a fun game that is played in many Latin American countries. It’s simple, fun, and doesn’t require much preparation.  There are different versions of this game. I am sharing with you the one I remember playing with my friends in a (then) small neighborhood outside of Cali, Colombia. You will need a minimum of six participants to play the game. Each team will have three participants. One person is placed in the middle in a squatting position, grasping their hands between their legs. The two other members of the team have to pretend to prepare el “sancocho,” which is a traditional soup in Latin America. They have to pretend they are adding the ingredients to the bowl while saying the lines below:


Para preparar el sancocho,
pongo el pollo,
pongo la yuca,
pongo la papa,
pongo la mazorca,
lo pongo al fuego.

¡El sancocho ya está listo!




When everyone is done making the sancocho together, the game turns into a competition. You will need to set a finish line for everyone to get to. The team who makes it to the finish line first wins the game. You can continue playing until everyone gets tired of it. I recommend playing the game on a field with grass so nobody gets hurt.
This is a video of a Scout Troop playing a version of “las ollitas” game.

Variation: You can use visuals for the students to use while playing the game.

Have fun!

Geography Center with Money


Over several years of teaching Spanish I have collected coins and bills from different Spanish speaking countries. Either someone brings them to me or I collect them during my own travel. I got to a point where I didn’t know what to do with them. It occurred to me that I could use them for a center in my class. I laminated all the bills for students to manipulate easily and placed them with the coins in a basket. I printed and laminated maps where all the Spanish speaking countries are listed. 


This is now a center for early finishers or when I do a center-based class. My students really enjoy looking at the different bills and coins, comparing them to the United States bills, and locating the countries on the map. If you don’t have real bills, you can print a few from the internet and it will serve the same purpose.

Have fun!

¿Quién Se Comió la Empanada de la Abuela? – Game to Reinforce Vocabulary About Family Members


This game has been motivating my second graders a lot lately. We did a unit on family members, we talked about the diversity in families, and they then described their own immediate families orally and in a small written project.

I modified the well known game called “Who Stole the Cookie for the Cookie Jar?” to support this unit. Instead of a cookie, I printed a picture of an empanada. This added a small cultural twist to the game (and made me hungry for Colombian comfort food…).


I told my students the story of abuelita, who made just one empanada and that someone in the family had eaten it without her permission. I added a detective to this version.

I printed a picture of a detective and gave it to one student. I also gave printed pictures of different family members to the rest of my students. I got them from my “La Familia” set that I have in my TpT store. When you play it, you can also print pictures of family members from other sources.



I gave each student in the room one picture to represent a family member, and I made sure to include pets such as a cat and dog.

Before playing the game, I made sure to go over the lines of the chant. We chanted every line and also helped the detective say his/her line.

How to play the game?

Once you have assigned the different pictures of family members to the students, choose one student to be the detective. The detective will have to leave the classroom. While the detective is outside the room, give a student with the picture of a family member the picture of the empanada. Everyone in the room has to pretend to have the empanada in their hands.

The detective comes back to the classroom and will have three opportunities to guess who has the empanada.

The class chants:
¿Quién se comió la empanada de mi abuela? (two times)
The detective answers:
¿El papá se comió la empanada de la abuela? (two times) Usually the class helps the detective chant.
Depending on who has the empanada the class will answer:
“El papá no se comió la empanada de la abuela.”
or
“El papá sí se comió la empanada de la abuela.”

Remember that the detective has three turns to guess. You can play this game for a long time in class and get everyone using some language skills that they’ve learned in your class.


Have fun playing the game!

El Carnaval de Barranquilla {Cultural Corner}

Every year in February, the city of Barranquilla, Colombia hosts one of the most beautiful carnivals in the world: El Carnaval de Barranquilla. 
Picture from the official website
This carnival has been declared by UNESCO as one of the “Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” That’s a mouthful, but it really is amazing! It’s important to share this with our students not only because of its recognition, but also because it’s an opportunity to bring some language to the classes in a colorful way. It’s also worth mentioning that this is the city where Shakira was born and raised.

I am a big fan of using Google Earth in class when doing cultural explorations. You can also add the use of play passport.  With your students, first locate Colombia and then find Barranquilla. Bring the language alive by asking students question such as:
¿En qué continente está Colombia?
¿Cuál es la capital de Colombia?
¿Qué lengua se habla en Colombia?
¿Dónde esta Barranquilla? ¿En el norte o en el sur?
¿Qué pasa en Barranquilla en febrero?


Carnival time is a happy one in Barranquilla. Dances, parades and even children celebrating in their schools. Here is a short video of “El Carnaval de Barranquilla.”


One of the most iconic characters is la Morimonda. It’s a funny character – a combination of monkey and elephant.


Here is a cute video of two kids trying to figure out what “la marimonda” really is.




Children recreate Marimonda dances at school.



Here is a video of a professional group of dancers.


Now it’s your turn! Have your students create their own Marimondas and get ready to celebrate carnival in your class!

Download your free mask HERE
Enjoy,
Carolina