Teaching in a place where winters can be long, makes me and my students appreciate every single minute we can have outside. Now that Spring has finally arrived in Boston, I have made a commitment to use the first five to ten minutes outside playing with my students as a warm up for class. We not only get some time outside, but we also get to use the language in context while having fun – a great way to get it to stick. Some of the game are also traditional, so this is a good way to bring a cultural element into class, too.
Here is a list that includes some of the games I have been teaching my students. Click on the links to learn about each game. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the fresh air!
It’s amazing how many free resources for learning and teaching languages are available at no cost. Many of these websites can be used during class with your students or as support to your program at home. I recommend, however, that you take the time to explore the sites before using them with your students or recommending them to your students’ parents. Here are the ones I have found are suitable for the elementary level.
This is a simple idea to keep track of all the games and songs you teach during the school year. I use different containers and baskets for each grade level. I use clothespins and glue happy faces on the top to make them cute and give them some character. I use permanent markers to write the names of the songs and games we’ve learned during the school year. You could do this during the school year and gradually add the clothespins to the basket.
I use this idea at the beginning of the class as a warm up, for game day, or simply to end a unit. Before using this activity I collect all the props necessary for each game or song: bingo, memory games, balls, or any material needed to make this happen.
Playing the game
I do this in two different ways. Sometimes I just call a volunteer to pick a random clothespin. I also have the class sit in a circle and then pass a ball in the circle while playing music. I close my eyes while stopping the music, and whoever has the ball at that time will choose the activity from the basket.
To keep track of the games and songs we’ve done, I just place the clothespin on the top of the container just as you see it in the picture below.
Give it a try, and you will be amazed to see how much you have done with your classes.
I grew up playing this game in Colombia and had tons of fun with it. I recently used it in a unit on clothes with my second graders. We have played the game outside when the weather is nice, and we’ve also played the game in the classroom with a wolf made out of felt. The children enjoy each of the versions – indoor or outdoor.
The game is simple, just pick a wolf and have everyone else sit in a circle. The wolf will stand up in the middle of the circle while the rest of the class chants.
I made the props for the song using felt (see picture below). We use it to dress the wolf while singing the song. My students love it!
Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo los pantalones. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el chaleco. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el saco. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el sombrero (or sombrerito) Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: ¡Sí! Y salgo para perseguirte / ¡Sí! Te voy a comer / ¡Sí! Corre
Spring has finally arrived, what a great opportunity to review colors! During class, I counted paper flowers with the children, went over the colors, and introduced the word “mariposa” (butterfly). I displayed the flowers in the room and hid the butterfly under one of the flowers while the children covered their eyes. I then asked a child in the class to take two turns trying to find the butterfly, while the rest were chanting, “Mariposa, mari, mariposa, mariposa ¿dónde estás?” The child looking for the butterfly had to say “¿Aquí está la mariposa?” and the class responded “Si, allí está la mariposa” or “No, allí no está la mariposa”. I always model these kinds of sentences before and during any game.
You can find more animals for the children to find under the flowers.
You can write numbers on the flowers and have the children ask “¿Está debajo del 10?” or “¿Está debajo del 2?”
In preparation for this game you will need felt, pictures of soccer balls, pictures of famous soccer players from different Spanish-speaking countries, and a glue gun to put the felt pieces together.
Once the game is all put together, get ready to play it with students. The idea is to simulate a soccer game in class. Divide the class into two groups and assign a fútbol player to each time. Before playing the game introduce each famous player, and use this opportunity to show their countries of origin on a map and also the names of their teams.
The rules of the game are very simple. Each group will get set on the side of the “field” (cancha) that corresponds to their players. Invite one volunteer from each group to come to the middle. You can use flash cards or a bag filled with objects to represent vocabulary that you have previously explored in class. Show a card or object and ask a question related to it. For example: “¿Qué es? or ¿De qué color es la vaca?”
Whoever answers first will mark a “gol” for his//her team. Invite the class to shout together “¡goooooool!“. If they both answer at the same time or the game ends in a tie (empate), then they will have to go into overtime, referred to as “penaltis,” which in the case of this game means they will get a another turn. To keep track of their scores, I place pictures of a soccer ball on their side of the field each time they get a goal.
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.