24 Fun Spanish Activities and Games for Grammar, Vocabulary and Speaking Practice
Is there any sight better than a classroom full of smiling students?
Incorporating things your students love to do into language lessons will lead to effortless learning that may actually be—gasp—fun!
Chances are, the vast majority of them, no matter their ages, love games.
Whether their favorites are video games, board games, schoolyard games or some other sort, all students are jazzed to get in some playtime during class time.
In this post, we’ll share 24 fun Spanish activities and games for grammar, vocabulary and speaking practice.
- The Benefits of Spanish Classroom Games
- Fun Spanish Vocabulary Games
- Spanish Activities for Practicing Grammar
- Spanish Activities For Speaking Practice
- Traditional Fun Spanish Games
- Interactive Group Spanish Activities
- Spanish Apps and Computer Games
- Why Are Spanish Activities Effective?
The Benefits of Spanish Classroom Games
Ever notice how the mind begins to wander and drift when it attempts to focus on boring topics?
Even if the topic itself is actually fascinating, if it isn’t presented in an entertaining and engaging way, it still feels impossible to focus and get the most out of studying said topic.
Filling your lessons with practical activities that your students will actually enjoy doing will give them a positive association with Spanish class and keep them wanting to pursue their studies. Keeping everyone motivated should be one of your primary goals as a teacher.
It’s extremely important to integrate a variety of activities involving listening, reading, writing and speaking practice into your lesson plans.
Games are extremely versatile and can be added to most lesson plans without a second thought. They can be used as vehicles to deliver new language concepts or as a means of reinforcing recent lessons.
With games, learning won’t feel like learning: It’ll feel like playtime!
Fun Spanish Vocabulary Games
We’ve got a lot to cover here, but first, we’ll explore games to amp up your students’ Spanish vocabulary.
1. El Juego de Correr (The Running Game)
To play this game, split your class evenly into two teams. Start counting at #1 and give a different sequential number to each member of the team. Then dole out these numbers to the other team’s players as well. If there are 12 students in your class, this means that you’ll now have two groups of 6 with students numbered from 1-6.
Have each team line up in a row. Next, say any English word and then a number in Spanish. For example, “apple” and “nueve” (nine).
Both students numbered “nueve” should rush to the whiteboard and write manzana (apple) as quickly as possible. The winner is then awarded a point. The game continues until one team scores the winning number of points (determined by you or your students).
Bingo is a tried and true game that makes practicing new vocabulary engaging and interactive for students.
To play, print out blank or prepared Bingo grids for each of your students. You can fill out the grids with an assortment of vocabulary that you’ve been teaching lately. If the cards are blank, have the students fill in each blank on their grid with a different vocabulary word.
Afterwards, call out each of the vocabulary words. The first student to get an entire row (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) yells out “Bingo!” and wins. Once many students have a “bingo,” you can continue to play for “blackout,” meaning the entire board is crossed out.
For a free bingo card generator, check out print-bingo.com or osric.com.
3. Listas (Lists)
Divide students into groups of three or four. Give them all the same topic, for example, school things, fruits, sports or colors. Have each group write down as many Spanish words that relate to the topic as they can think of. Give them between ten and fifteen minutes to do this.
Have teams state the total number of words on their lists. Then have one team read their list and have the other teams cross out words that the first team has listed. The next team to read their words aloud will have a shorter list, as they read only words not listed by the first team.
Continue until all teams have read their lists. Write the words unique to each list on the board.
4. Circumlocution Game
Ever have a word on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t remember it? Or, do you ever want to describe something but you don’t know the word for it in another language? Well, this game is useful for these moments!
At the start of class, divide your students into pairs or groups of up to four. Next, write a broad or specific topic on the board. For example, comida (food) or, more specifically, frutas rojas (red fruits). How broad the topic is will depend on how much vocabulary your students have learned and on how difficult you want the game to be.
Once all students have read the category, have all of the students in the group except one turn away from the board. Next, write some vocabulary words specific to the category on the board.
For the frutas rojas example, you could write manzana (apple), fresa (strawberry), tomate (tomato) and frambuesa (raspberry). The one student per group who can see the board must then describe the vocabulary words without actually saying them. This will force them to venture out of their vocabulary comfort zones and get creative with adjectives!
5. ¿Qué es? (What is it?)
This game will get those neurons firing in your students’ minds as they try to guess certain Spanish objects.
For this activity, you’ll need a deck of cards with pictures of different things on them. You can do any category you like: foods, animals, colors, etc. You can then pick students one by one or ask for a volunteer to come up to the front and select a card.
Instruct the student to show the card to the rest of the class without looking at it themself. Then, the student will have to guess what’s on the card they selected based on clues from the rest of the class.
This should all be done 100% in Spanish, of course!
Spanish Activities for Practicing Grammar
Grammar is an important part of any language. But how can you make learning verb conjugations and other grammar fun?
Here are some fun Spanish activities for practicing grammar with your students:
6. Verb Tic-Tac-Toe
Focus: Grammar (verbs)
Tic-tac-toe, three in a row! Unlike the version of this game with which your students are already familiar, they’ll have to do a bit more work to win the Spanish verb version.
First, have your students pair up. Next, ask each one to draw a tic-tac-toe board with various subjects in the spaces. For example, they could write nosotros (we) in one square and yo (I) in another.
To play, students will need some kind of reference sheet filled with Spanish verbs. You could whip one up yourself to print and distribute in class, or you could have them use the index of a verb conjugation book or choose from a deck of cards with verbs written on them.
To start taking their turns, have the students choose verbs by pointing to a random one on the reference sheet, book index or deck of cards.
Each round of the game should focus on a particular verb conjugation. For example, “for this round, we’ll conjugate in the imperfecto.” When the student is up at bat and wants to put an X or O in a certain box, they’ll need to consider the verb tense you indicated, the subject in the square and the random verb that they and their partner selected.
They’ll then need to do the conjugation for the selected verb properly. If they don’t get the conjugation right, they don’t get their square.
Whoever gets three Xs or Os in a row first wins!
7. Simón Dice (Simon Says)
Focus: Grammar (commands) and vocabulary
Surely you’ve played the game Simon Says at least once in your life, and it’s likely that your students have too. Simón Dice, the Spanish version of this classic game, is a perfect way for your students to practice mandatos (commands) and vocabulary simultaneously.
Ask for one student to volunteer or pick on someone to come to the front and be Simón. Simón either commands the students to perform an action—for example, Simón dice: siéntense (Simon says: sit down)—or Simón conjugates a verb alone. Anyone who does an action that isn’t preceded by “Simón dice” is out!
Depending on your class size, give every student the opportunity to be Simón two or three times. Keep an eye out for any Simón who avoids making commands as that phenomenon may reveal that they don’t quite understand the grammar concept and may need some review time.
This game is great as it drives home the significant grammatical differences between commands and non-commands, and students may only have to go out once or twice before remembering the correct verb conjugations!
Plus, restless students will appreciate the chance to stand up and move around, so take the game outdoors if your school and your students can handle the change in environment.
8. Direcciones (Directions)
Focus: Grammar (giving directions)
Just in case Simón Dice didn’t provide enough mandatos fun for your students, there’s always the game Direcciones!
During this activity, ask your students to partner up. Distribute maps of cities and ask your students to take turns leading each other to destinations on the maps.
The student giving the directions should have a destination in mind, but they can’t share it with their partner. The partner being guided must listen carefully and make their way to the intended destination on the map.
Mes-english.com has a simple option of a town map that works for this exercise.
9. Cucharas (Spoons)
Focus: Grammar (verbs) and vocabulary
Perhaps you’ve heard of (or have played) the card game “spoons.” This is simply the Spanish twist on the game, which can be used to teach or review Spanish verbs or vocabulary.
First, make a deck of about 50 cards for each group of about six students that’ll play in class. What goes on these cards? Well, that’s totally up to you and your current teaching topics. Generally speaking, you’ll want have 25 cards with 25 matching cards.
The first half might be infinitive verbs, and the second half might be conjugated versions of these verbs. Or the first half could be conjugated verbs and the second half could be subjects that match up with them. Once you’ve gotten your content created, print out the flashcards.
When the students can match two related cards, they can take a spoon from the center of the table (and try to do so without the other group members noticing). When other players notice that a spoon is being taken, they too may grab a spoon.
Whoever gets the most spoons at the end wins!
10. Always, Often, Never
Focus: Grammar (adverbs)
In this game, students must write three complete sentences in the first person on a sheet of paper. One sentence must contain the word siempre (always), one must contain a menudo (often) and one must contain nunca (never).
To make the game more challenging, add more sentence requirements with more subtle adverbs, like raramente (rarely), a veces (occasionally) and en otro tiempo (once or formerly).
Collect the sentences, read them out loud and ask class members to identify the writer of the sentences. This game doesn’t require a lot of time or resources, so if your students enjoy it, offer it as a reward for good behavior.
Focus on intermediate sentence writing skills and the use of adverbs in the context of informal conversational practice with this game, and practice three or four essential Spanish skills at once.
This game is best played after students have had some time together to observe and learn about one another. Students will have to put some careful thought into their sentence writing to make the sentences as accurate as possible as class members will have to guess who wrote the sentences.
Spanish Activities For Speaking Practice
When learning a language, it’s important to practice speaking it as much as possible.
Speaking activities will help your students gain confidence not only using the language but also thinking in the language.
11. Restaurante (Restaurant)
Focus: Spanish speaking practice (food and meals)
Pair students up and have them decide who will be the mesero (waiter) and who will be the cliente (customer). Meseros bring clientes their menus and jot down their orders on the guest check, then go to “cook” the meal requested.
This is done by drawing the meal on the plate worksheet. When they serve the cliente, they’ll know right away if they got the order right, and clientes can leave additional feedback by tipping well (or not at all!). Students should switch roles for the second round.
Another great way to play this game with your students is by asking them to make their own menus to practice writing and tailor the game to your specific vocabulary. Menus can also include culturally specific foods if you’re studying a particular country or region.
You can also allow clientes to sit together and chat in Spanish while they wait for their meals.
12. ¿Adivina Quién? (Guess Who?)
Focus: Spanish speaking practice (physical appearances, clothing)
To play this game, hang photos in a grid on the board where everyone can see them, or project a PowerPoint slide containing 20-30 photos of people. Working in pairs, one student will choose a photo of a person to describe. The other student asks questions about appearance and clothing to narrow the field until he or she is ready to guess. Partners switch roles and play continues.
For an even easier version of this game, skip the photos and have students simply choose a classmate to describe.
Use portraits to focus on facial features or full-length photos to practice clothing and color vocabulary.
13. Mi Familia Loca (My Crazy Family)
Focus: Spanish speaking practice (family and pets)
In pairs, students sit facing each other with a binder standing between them to block the view of each other’s family tree template. One student will place photos on the family tree template to create a familia loca.
The second student must recreate that family tree without looking, so will ask questions like, “¿Quién es tu mamá?” (Who is your mother?), using the answers to place photos on their family tree. When the tree is complete, students remove the binder and check their work.
To make the game more challenging, use photos of non-famous people to force students to also use their physical description vocabulary, i.e. Mi mamá es alta y rubia. (My mother is tall and blonde.) If you use photos of animals instead of people, you can incorporate a review of Spanish animal sounds as well.
14. El Taxista (Taxi Driver)
Focus: Spanish speaking practice (professions and workplaces)
Divide the class in half: Half of your students are taxi drivers, and the other half are customers. Each taxi driver chooses a station and sits in the “driver’s seat.”
Customers each get a handful of play money and must decide what person they need to see (a pharmacist, teacher, lawyer, etc.). Each customer sits in the “passenger’s seat” of a cab station and gives a clue about where they are going—without naming the person they need to see or the place they are going.
For example, someone going to the doctor might describe having a headache. The taxi driver makes a guess about the location based on the clue. If the taxi driver is correct on their first guess, the customer gives him or her $5; if not, the passenger gives another clue. A correct guess on the second guess is worth $3.
If a third guess is needed, the customer can name the profession of the person they wish to see; a correct guess is now worth $1. When the round is over, customers move into a different taxi station and play continues. The taxi driver with the most money at the end wins.
You can make this game more or less challenging by structuring the questions and answers to match students’ skill level.
AP students can play a very open-ended game, while beginners can stick to yes/no questions and have prompts on the board to help. For example, you can prompt passengers to give clues by writing “Necesito _____” (I need…) or “Estoy ____” (I am…) on the board.
Taxi drivers can guess using the prompt “¿Vas a _____?” (are you going to…), which passengers can answer with a simple sí or no.
15. Limpia Tu Cuarto (Clean Your Room)
Focus: Spanish speaking practice (parts of the house and its furnishings)
Students play in pairs, with a binder or folder standing between them to keep their home diagrams secret from the other player. Each student selects a photo card to place in each room—locations do not have to make sense. The goal is to “clean up” your partner’s items before he or she can clean up yours.
To play, one student must ask the other for an item, i.e. “Necesito una silla. ¿Está en la cocina?” (I need a chair. Is it in the kitchen?). If they correctly guess the location of the item in their partner’s house, the partner must hand them the photo. Play continues as students take turns guessing; the first person to collect five items wins.
You can also play this game with photos of family members, pets, food and clothing instead of furniture to keep the game interesting over the course of the school year.
Traditional Fun Spanish Games
Sometimes classic and traditional games are perfect for practicing Spanish vocabulary and getting in some speaking practice. Often students will already know how to play these popular games and so you won’t have to spend as long organizing your class or giving instructions.
16. Lotería (Lottery)
Focus: Speaking practice and vocabulary
You can buy an inexpensive, authentic lotería (lottery) game on a trip to Latin America or in a teaching materials store, or you can simply print out your own cards from the Internet.
You can get tablas (cards, literally “boards”) with the word for the picture next to it, or you can get ones that are pictures only.
Beginning students find the ones with words useful, but intermediate students will be pleasantly challenged with just the pictures alone.
Here are some resources for setting up a winning game of lotería:
- (Printable Lotería Cards) Free Kids Crafts
- (Adorable Mini Lotería Cards) Bees Knees Industries
- (Free DIY Cards and Lotería Announcer) Maravilla Software
Warning: Some of the pictures are classified as folk art but are somewhat racy. Make sure you consider the age of your students when preparing the activity and check the templates before you use them.
This game is like Bingo but with pictures instead of numbers. It’s even great for the first day of beginning Spanish class because you can get the students speaking and learning right away.
You can be the announcer (the person who calls out the card content) or have students take turns with this role. When a card is called, the whole class should repeat the word(s) together and then hunt for that picture on their tabla.
You can use dried beans to mark the pictures that are called so you can reuse the tablas. When a student fills up the card, they shout “lotería!” and win. Have the winner read the words from their tabla aloud so you can ensure they really did win.
More advanced Spanish speakers can use a rhyme to make a riddle about the word and players guess at the word. This game is so much fun that it is played all over Mexico by adult native speakers. Learn more about lotería history here!
Depending on the size of your class, either divide the class into two teams to play against each other or invite students to take turns drawing for the class as a whole.
You’ll give the artist a word or phrase in Spanish, and the artist must represent the word silently in a drawing on the board without using any letters or numbers. If playing in teams, the team members must guess the word for a point, or if playing as a whole class, the audience members must guess the word for individual points.
Keeping score is optional, so you decide if there’s a good reason to record the points.
This game is fun and easy to implement, so even brief speed rounds can be useful if energy is low in your classroom or if students seem like they’re lacking enthusiasm.
With this game, students will be given the chance to think quickly and synthesize information drawing a picture that connects to a Spanish vocabulary word.
Students in the audience can also connect vocabulary words with the visual images, which will improve recall no matter how inaccurate or odd the picture.
Interactive Group Spanish Activities
A great way to get your students interacting with each other in Spanish is by using fun group activities which encourage them to move around the classroom.
18. Globo (Balloon)
Focus: Grammar, vocabulary, speaking practice
This game is a little more active than the others, so get ready to move. Prior to playing Globo, you’ll need to track down a soft sports ball. Make sure you are careful when playing this game. It’s probably best to play Globo outside or in a gymnasium, if possible.
For this game, have students take turns throwing the ball. If the ball hits a certain object (for example, the wall or a tree), then the student gets a question corresponding to a specific category. You could say that hitting the tree means the student gets a grammar question.
Need ideas for questions to ask? Check out e-spanyol.com or take exercises from the textbook or workbook you use in class.
This is a nice, easygoing game that really doesn’t have winners or losers, it just gets everyone moving, active and thinking on their toes.
Another game that can touch on any topic that you cover in class is Jeopardy, which is sure to please any student. For further information on playing Jeopardy and other games, check out our Spanish grammar games post!
19. Cuenta atrás (Countdown)
Focus: Grammar, vocabulary, speaking practice
Have students stand in a circle. If you have more than a dozen students, make two groups.
Announce the highest number that will start the countdown and throw a ball to one of the students. He should say the next number down and throw the ball to another student. For example, you say “cien” (100) and throw the ball. The next student says “noventa y nueve!” (99) and throws the ball.
A soft, sponge ball works well for this game. If you want to slow down the game for beginners, use a balloon. The throws are random, so students must pay attention—the next turn could be theirs!
20. En el ático de mi abuela (In my grandmother’s attic)
Focus: Memorization (vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, etc)
This is a repetition game. Each player repeats what was said by the previous player and adds something.
Make it more productive by having everyone repeat the entire sentence together before the next player adds an object. Things can be funny, outlandish or even impossible. This is good practice for matching articles with nouns and using “hay” (there is).
En el ático de mi abuela hay una licuadora. (In my grandmother’s attic there is a blender.)
En el ático de mi abuela hay una licuadora y un fútbol. (In my grandmother’s attic there is a blender and a football.)
If players want they can make notes but remember that exercising your memory makes it stronger, just like exercising your muscles. And a stronger memory can certainly help you learn Spanish.
21. Voy a Sevilla (I’m going to Seville)
Another repetition game with a twist. You will need to break students into groups if your class is large. Each group (or the whole class) will have a student appointed as the game leader. The leader chooses a category of items and names one. Here are some examples of categories:
- Things that grow in the ground
- Words that begin with the letter L
- Things in the water
So the leader says that they’re going to Seville and names one item from the chosen category that they’re taking with them. For example, if the student leader thought of textiles (textiles) as a category, they might then say “voy a Sevilla y llevo un kilo de algodón.” (I’m going to Seville and taking a kilo of cotton.)
The goal for the other players is to get the leader’s permission to accompany them to Seville. They can only go if they have an item in the leader’s category of items. One player might say, “tengo un pez, ¿puedo ir también?” (I have a fish, can I go too?). The leader answers “no” in this case.
If a player names an item in the same category, then the leader says “¡sí!” and that student wins the round.
22. Carrera de Relevos (Relay Race)
Younger students love this game that gets them moving and using their hands.
Collect several unbreakable items that relate to your lesson, or at least represent words they have learned. Examples might be plastic fruits and vegetables, toy cars in two or three different colors, plastic tableware—spoon, fork, plate, cup, glass.
Divide them into two teams and line the teams up at the far end of the teaching space. Put the items in a large box at the other end of the space.
The leader stands between the two teams and calls out an item in Spanish. The first person on each team must run to the box, find the correct item and bring it back to the leader.
Instruct the students that there is to be no fighting. If there are some extra items in the box it makes it more difficult.
The leader keeps score, giving one point to the team that brings back the correct item each time. Announce the score from time to time.
This game gets interesting when the equipos están empatados (the teams are tied). Continue playing until every student has had a chance to bring back an item. All the kids will be laughing and ready to sit still after this game.
23. Two Truths and A Lie
Focus: Vocabulary, sentence building and conversation practice
The instructions are easy and straightforward. Everyone writes down three complete sentences about themselves in Spanish. Two must be true and one must be a lie.
When it’s one student’s turn to read their sentences, everyone else’s job is to identify the lie.
Suggest that the lie be something that could easily be true, so that it’s harder for the others to identify the lie. Gather the sentences by students and read them out loud to the rest of class so that the class members can guess which of the complete sentences is a lie.
This game might be played at the beginning of the year when students are new to one another, and then part of the value is in the introductions.
The game can also be adapted so that the sentences must contain specific material, such as vocabulary words from a particular list, or grammar concepts that are useful to sentence-building like practice with ser (to be) and estar (to be).
This game gives students a chance to interact with one another, encouraging positive rapport while reinforcing their ability to build sentences and understand spoken Spanish.
24. Who Am I?
Focus: Writing, reading and question-forming practice
Give the students index cards and ask them to write down three complete sentences about themselves describing activities they enjoy, musicians they like, places they’ve been and other fun details.
Then ask students to fold the index cards in half and turn them back in to you.
Distribute the folded cards so that each student gets one that belongs to a classmate. They must read the sentences and then develop a series of interview questions to ask the other students in order to discover the original owner of the index card.
For example, if one of the sentences on the card reads “Viajé con mi familia a las islas Canarias” (I traveled with my family to the Canary Islands) a corresponding interview question might be, “¿Te gusta viajar en avión?” (Do you like to travel by airplane?)
After all questions have been written, allow students to mill around asking one another their interview questions. If a student thinks he or she has discovered the original owner of the index card, they must keep it a secret until all interviews have been conducted.
Then, once everyone’s seated again, ask students to share the results of their interviews and introduce one another to the rest of the class.
This game pairs well with lessons on forming questions in Spanish. You can use it to follow up a lesson on the grammar of questions or to give students some extra practice before a quiz or test.
Students will also appreciate the opportunity to get up from their desks and move around the classroom, and you’ll be glad for the practice in casual Spanish conversations.
This is another icebreaker-style game that works well at the beginning of the school year. If students need some help getting to know one another, use this game to practice writing and reading sentences while giving them that opportunity.
Spanish Apps and Computer Games
What student doesn’t have a phone in their pocket these days? As technology continues to make its way into classrooms, you, too, can take advantage of the wide range of resources that are available to the tech-savvy teacher.
Here are a few options you could try using in your Spanish lessons:
BrainPOP: Película del Día
Younger students will enjoy BrainPOP’s Spanish content, which has games, videos and quizzes in Spanish on a variety of topics like science, math, art and more. Students are sure to be charmed by Moby the robot and his friends, and you can easily incorporate elements from the website into a game-based lesson.
Older students who may find Moby too “childish” might instead enjoy a program like FluentU. This web- and app-based tool also lets students view videos, but these are authentic clips that native Spanish speakers would watch, like movie trailers, commercials and inspirational talks.
Since the subtitles in each video are interactive, you can make it a game with students to pick out words in videos and compile a list of vocabulary words that the class can work on together. You can then assign the flashcards (or further videos or quizzes) as homework. This way, students can feel like they’re making decisions in their learning process.
Draw Something With Friends
An app doesn’t have to be specifically created for educators: a game like Zynga’s Draw Something With Friends, for instance, is a tech take on Pictionary. While answers must be typed, you can encourage students to speak out loud, which will get students speaking in Spanish spontaneously as they try to guess what their opponents are drawing.
Why Are Spanish Activities Effective?
These Spanish activities listed above are both fun and effective! They can help students not only practice the language but also start to develop confidence when speaking it.
When it comes down to it, all language skills can be broken down into just two big categories: receptive language and productive language.
Receptive language covers the skills that students have in listening and reading as they make sense of the words of a language to make meaning.
Productive language, on the other hand, encompasses the skills that students use to express themselves and communicate with others. These skills include speaking and writing.
Both receptive and productive language skills are important, but receptive skills are much easier to learn. Your students understand much more than they can express, so it’s the productive language skills that often need more work.
But getting students to speak in the target language during game play can be challenging. The games listed above are designed to make students use the target language as an integral component of winning the game.
Here are some factors to look for when choosing a useful game for your Spanish class:
- Hidden information: Students must use Spanish to find out something they don’t know to solve a puzzle or complete a challenge.
- Asking questions: Students must ask questions in Spanish to get the information they need. These can be highly structured and consist of just sí or no answers, but the act of inquiry makes the game communicative.
- Answering questions: These games give students a chance to be on both sides of a conversation in Spanish. This speaking practice will help students gain confidence in using the language.
- Real-time feedback: Interactive and communicative games let students know when they’ve misunderstood the target language with immediate feedback—such as an inability to solve a puzzle or a wrong turn on the game board. Earning points and winning (or losing!) is quick, engaging feedback about their language skills.
Some of the best games have simple rules and get students talking. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated to get your students thinking and speaking in Spanish!
For even more resources on game or lesson ideas for the Spanish classroom, there are tons of sites that you can visit on the internet.
As long as you’re ready and able to have some fun, games will become an effortless addition to your lesson plans.