Playing games can be a way for students to practice Spanish in a fun, relaxed environment. Some recess favorites from the US and Canada have Spanish Adaptations equals you can use for extra vocabulary practice whenever your learner needs time outside.
1. Red Light, Green Light becomes 1, 2, 3 – ¡Momia Es!
This game works the same way in Spanish as it does in English with the bonus of freezing in your favorite mummy pose. One child controls the game by standing with their back to the group of momias. He or she counts Uno…dos…tres and the players try to move forward before the counter spins around. Anyone caught moving, the lead player calls them out by name and says, “¡Momia Es!” to get that person out or make them the caller.
This is a fun game for all ages and ability levels as it doesn’t require a lot of vocabulary to play. You can add extra Spanish phrases like “I see you!” or “You moved!” to make it interesting. Also, try counting higher or switch to a different creature to act out.
2. Ring Around the Rosey becomes Pares y Nones
A game for young learners, this one only requires learning a short song and walking around in a circle. Unlike the English version, this game doesn’t ask players to fall on the ground. Instead, they pause and grab one or more partners when the leader gives the command.
For example, when the break comes in the song, the leader calls out “Tres amigos!” Everyone in the circle has to end up in a group of three and either hold hands or give each other a big bear hug. Anyone who doesn’t get a group can try again in the next round or stand in the center for the next round.
To hear the song and see the game in action, check out this video.
3. Rock, Paper, Scissors becomes Piedra, Papel, Tijeras
You can’t go wrong with this game. Of all the Spanish adaptations, this one is bound to be a family favorite. It helps break ties, decide who goes first and can help pass the time during long car rides or while you wait in line. The Spanish version is a direct translation of the English game.
Start with a fist that jumps up and down on your other hand’s palm while you chant “Piedra, papel, tijera!” After the last word, show which one you picked. Remember, a fist is rock/piedra, a flat hand is paper/papel and two open fingers are your scissors/tijeras.
Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors and scissors beat paper. Play a few rounds to determine the best out of three or five.
4. Hot or Cold Becomes Frio o Caliente
A fun guessing game, Frio o Caliente is a chance for your child to hide something and enjoy watching a friend or Mom and Dad try to find it. The hider lets the seekers know how close they are through temperature. Hot is close, cold is far away.
You need some key phrases for this game.
“¡Te quemas!” You’re burning hot or right next to it
“¡Caliente!” Hot or close
“Tibio, tibio” Lukewarm or headed in the right direction
“Frio” Cold or moving the wrong way
“¡Te estás congelando!” You are freezing cold or going the wrong way
Keep guessing and moving until the hidden object is found, then switch leaders. While younger learners love this game, it can be adapted to older learners who need to practice directions. They can tell you which way to turn, go forward, go backward, stop. More advanced speakers can give verbal clues or riddles to help the seekers find the hidden object.