Free Spanish vocabulary games
Debbie Annett is the author of Spanish for You!, a curriculum for home or class use for grades 3-8. She writes here about Spanish vocabulary games for kids. Read more about Debbie and her work following the article.
As a teacher, I like to use Spanish vocabulary games that are simple, effective and affordable. They need to be fun and engaging for the students, easy for me to prep, accomplish important learning objectives and not cost me a lot of money.
So, I choose some tried and true classics, look for ideas elsewhere, and invent some of my own Spanish vocabulary games. Then I incorporate them into all the lesson plans I write because I think that lessons filled with a variety of carefully planned activities provide the best learning experience for kids.
When teachers or parents buy my curriculum, Spanish for You!, they receive black and white pictures of all the vocabulary words in their book. The students use these to make flashcards. They also are provided so that teachers and students can do many simple, effective, and affordable Spanish vocabulary games and other activities.
In this article, you will find 30 Spanish vocabulary games and free Spanish for You! vocabulary pictures. There is also audio for the pictures. By the way, my daughter draws all the vocabulary pictures! Hope you enjoy!
The pictures come on a page in grid format, one per square. There are usually 16 vocabulary words per unit in the book. With just two grids of pictures (8 pics. per grid) printed on card stock or paper, kids can do an infinite number of Spanish vocabulary games and activities.
Spanish Vocabulary Games for You!
Below are 30 of the Spanish vocabulary games I do with my students grades 3-8 that you can do too. Many you will know, and some will be new. Most can be adapted for younger or older students and can be used to practice Spanish verbs.
I have grouped them according to the skills developed and provided some comments from my experience.
Download free pictures for Spanish vocabulary games.
Click here for audio for the pictures for Spanish vocabulary games.
Spanish Vocabulary Games
Skills: Listening, speaking, writing, and short conversation through response, recognition, remembering, categorizing, comparing/contrasting
Click titles for game instructions.
- Best with 5 or more players
- All grade levels
- Tips – Great when vocabulary is just introduced. Simple, yet challenging because they have to remember to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
- Best with 3 or more players
- Grades 3 and 4
- Tips – Stand in a circle with a small group. For a large group, choose 6-8 students to stand in a line in front of the class while everyone sings.
- 2-3 players
- Tips – Best played in pairs. Be sure students say the words as they turn over their cards.
Big Memory – Download game instructions here.
- 2 or more players
- Tips – Variation of Memory with 2 large poster boards on the wall with pockets for the cards. Fun in teams. Can take long, so limit the number of card pairs on your board.
- 2 players
- Tips – Students enjoy if you let them add a few words to the activity they want to know how to say. Write them on the board so they can use them in addition to their draw pile.
- Grades 3-6
- Tips – Be sure you have two sets of the cards. Be creative coming up with the categories.
- Grades 3-4
- Tips – Fun as a whole class, pairs, or small groups. I use when vocabulary is fairly new or for review.
- 1 or more players
- Tips – Sometimes give advance notice and tell students there will be a prize for best time.
- Tips – I have winners read their winning squares aloud. Great for learning new vocab. I have them leave their books open for help while we play if the words have just been introduced.
- Tips – Fun as a whole class or in small groups. Guide students in how to give Spanish hints using simple phrases or word association.
- Tips – This game has variations that are fun. If your class is small, it’s fun to play together in two teams.
- Groups of 2-3 players
- Tips – Students love this! Some students will hover over the cards too much, so remind them to sit back.
- Tips – My students like to choose fun team names, and I help them translate to Spanish. When a team scores a point say “¡Punto para ___!”, Point for__! inserting team name. At the end call the winners, “¡los campeones!”, the champs. Great on the spot game when students need to move around.
- 4 or more players, but you can adapt
- Tips – Sometimes I give a heads up a week in advance and tell students the winner will get a prize. I have a prize bucket they all know and love! I have several variations of this for different group sizes.
- Tips – Fun for students to create their own game board with their pictures. Use two sets of the cards.
- Tips – Better if you can do where you have a lot of space. Be sure you have two of each picture.
- Teams of 2-3 players
- Tips – I use this game with just 16 words when the words are new to students. I write the words on the board to help them make the match between picture and word. For a big vocabulary review, I use several groups of pictures and mix them together.
- Tips – Great classic game they all like.
- Grades 5-8
- Tips – Remind students this is just practice and do their best. Can be modified for one person. Good to give younger students advance notice of the game so they can prepare for it.
- Tips – Works with all grades, but you will want to do this together with younger students several times so they get the hang of it.
- 2 or more players, best with a group
- Tips – You can change the prompt sentence to anything to fit your vocabulary. Ex: Voy a salir y llevo… (I am going to go out, and I take…)
More Spanish Vocabulary Games
Skills: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing showing comprehension, applying grammar and verb conjugation, and using creativity to communicate.
- Tips – If you prefer not to make verb cards for this game, just write a list of verbs on the board. Students choose a verb to form their question. Practice together first, especially with grades 3-4. Write their verbs in the “you” form and put sample questions on the board.
- 1 or 2 players, or groups
- Tips – My students enjoy doing the story together with me writing it on the board. They often get excited and try to say more than what they know, so I remind them they can only use what they already know. Occasionally I let them add a word that they are dying to add, and I translate it. I also let them make the story a little silly.
- Tips – Great when students are learning verb commands. Write a commands list on the board. I find grades 7-8 students can be self-conscious for this game, so may or may not work for them.
- Tips – Simple activity, but really makes them think. Practice in chunks for grades 3-4, “mi(s), tu(s)”, su(s)”. Later just “nuestro/a(s)”, and so on.
- Tips – This practices demonstrative adjectives – this, that, these, those. Break it down for grades 3-4.
- In teams of 2-4 players, or modify
- Grades 3-6, sometimes older
- Tips – My students love this game! To play it with vocabulary cards, have a team on their turn pick up a card. They have to say a sentence with the word in it. I sometimes use this game with older students, but with more difficult subject matter.
- Tips – Good basic oral practice using adjectives and nouns. Kinesthetic variation for movement.
- Tips – Do together as a group so students get a feel for how it goes.
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