Just as Spanish grammar is a necessity to truly become fluent in the language, so is having fun.
Thanks to online games, you can reinforce grammar skills, review for your next Spanish test or take your learning to the next level.
While you’ll need a variety of games that cover various elements of the Spanish language, this particular post will focus on games for learning and reviewing vocabulary—a must for every learner.
- 15 Games to Level Up Your Spanish Vocabulary
- 1. Word Toss
- 2. Cycle Race
- 3. Fast Hands
- 4. Word Search + Hangman
- 5. The Numbers Game
- 6. The Dialogue Game
- 7. Advanced Vocabulary Builder
- 8. Spanish Scrabble
- 9. La lotería (The Lottery)
- 10. Matching Games
- 11. 4 Fotos 1 Palabra (4 Pics 1 Word)
- 12. Freerice.com
- 13. Bingo
- 14. Rockalingua
- 15. Sopa de letras (Letter soup)
- Why Learn Spanish Vocabulary with Games?
15 Games to Level Up Your Spanish Vocabulary
1. Word Toss
Word Toss is the perfect game for beginners who want to learn new words in Spanish while being a little silly. It’s similar in concept to the Advanced Vocabulary Builder below, but it’s been created specifically for the little ones (but don’t let that deter you!).
Start by choosing one of the categories available and click “Start.” You’ll then be asked to choose if you want to play from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English.
Your task will be to read the word in the lower part of the screen and explode the balloon with the correct translation. If the word is correct, a new set of words will appear. Be careful, though! If you choose the wrong balloon, your points will go down and you’ll get one strike! Get three of them and your game will be over, so choose wisely!
From a learning point of view, this game is perfect to be played by children or children at heart. Users will be able to learn or review vocabulary in a fun and easy way, while enjoying the colorful interface and the user-friendly site.
2. Cycle Race
Cycle Race is a great Flash game for those who like the rush of competing against the clock.
When you click “Play Now,” a new small window will open. It’ll ask you to choose your racer as well as the difficulty level of the questions, then the race will begin.
Your racer will begin cycling, competing against another racer. On the lower part of the screen, you’ll be given questions and you’ll have to choose the correct answer.
The questions are mainly related to basic, everyday vocabulary like numbers, days of the week, months of the year and colors. The more correct answers you give (and the quicker you do it), the faster your racer will go. Your mission is to answer quickly and accurately, so you can win the race at the end!
Although the questions are pretty basic and there isn’t a lot of new vocabulary, this is a great way to review basic words or learn easy Spanish words at the beginning of your Spanish adventure.
3. Fast Hands
Fast Hands is a fun way to learn or review new vocabulary while under pressure.
Although this game was originally created for beginning Spanish students, after playing a couple of times I believe any learner can make good use of it. Beginning students can choose the slow version, while more advanced students can go for the fast one.
Once you’ve chosen your game mode, you’ll be presented with a lot of different categories. When you hover your mouse over each of them, you’ll see the list of words that it contains. This would be the perfect moment to write the words down and get to know them. You can look them up in the dictionary or, if you know them already, just write down the word and translation next to it.
When you’re comfortable with the words, just click on the category and the game will start. After hearing the word read in Spanish, you’ll have to choose the corresponding picture. If you make a mistake or let the time go down, some of the options will start disappearing, until you’ll eventually be left with just one, the correct one.
Watch out for the time. It doesn’t start again when you give a correct answer! It’ll continue to go down, going up just a little every time you give a correct answer, until you have no time left or choose all the correct pictures.
This is a great game to add a little pressure to the learning process. Learners will try to improve their best scores and beat their friends. The fast pace also allows them to think quickly, which will definitely come in handy while taking a test or talking to native speakers (we know that can be stressful, too!).
4. Word Search + Hangman
Don Quijote is an awesome site for Spanish learners and people who want to know more about the language and culture. It has courses, learning resources, a culture section and a list of schools and summer camps where you can learn Spanish around the world.
It also includes two games that’ll definitely help beginners practice their spelling and improving their vocabulary: the classic word search and the hangman.
The rules for both games are pretty simple and straightforward. In the word search game, you’ll have to find the words you’ve been given. They’ve been divided into categories, so that you can concentrate on a group of words at a time. I recommend you write down the words you find and add their translation in order to create your own vocabulary list.
The hangman game has also been divided into categories. Your task will be to guess the hidden word by choosing letters you think are contained in it. Watch out because each mistake will get you one step closer to revealing the hangman and losing the game!
Both games are recommended for beginners, either children or adults, who want to learn and review vocabulary in an easy and fun way. The fact that they’re divided into different categories makes them even more useful, because the learner can concentrate on a different topic every time!
5. The Numbers Game
This game from Spanish Uno is by far the best and most entertaining number game I’ve been able to find on the internet. It’s the perfect way to learn and/or review Spanish numbers up to six digits! If you’re a little kid in spirit like me, you’ll spend hours having fun with this game.
The first thing you have to do is choose the range of digits you want to practice. You have the option to practice from one to six digits and a mix of them.
Once you’ve chosen your range of digits, a Spanish saleswoman and a series of products will appear on screen. You choose the product you’d like to buy, and the saleswoman will tell you the price in Spanish. Your task will be to enter the correct price in the box situated on the lower right corner of the screen. If you want a little help, you can select the option “show clue” and you’ll be able to read what the woman is saying. You’ll have 30 seconds to enter the correct price.
What makes this game awesome is that you can practice even more by bargaining with the saleswoman. If you enter the correct price, you’ll have the option of buying the product for that price or bargaining until you get a new price. You’ll have to enter the price you propose, and the saleswoman will say it out loud for you. She’ll then tell you if she accepts the new price or not, and you can proceed to buy the product or give a new price.
I know this game is child-oriented, but I’ve tried it with some of my adult students and they really enjoy it. Once they understand that the aim of the game is to learn how to say the numbers in Spanish, they have no problem at all (and some of them use it on a daily basis now)!
6. The Dialogue Game
The Dialogue Game is a great Flash game for intermediate and advanced students who want to practice their dialogue skills and review what they’ve learned.
When you enter the game, you’ll first have to choose between two categories. This is great because you can concentrate on reviewing a specific grammar area, or you can choose your dialogues by your topic of interest.
Once you’ve chosen the grammar area or the topic you want to practice, you’ll see a list of different available dialogues. Read the titles and choose the one you want to start with. When you click on a dialogue, you’ll be able to read the transcript first in order to familiarize yourself with it. After that, click “Play” in order to listen to the dialogue as you read along one second time.
When you’re ready, click on “Start Playing” and a new page will load. You’ll then hear two people have a conversation (which you’ll be able to listen to as many times as you want), and you’ll be given some questions (or prompts), and you’ll have to choose the correct one. If your answer is wrong, you’ll be shown the correct one. Click on it so that the dialogue will proceed. The exercise ends once you’ve completed the dialogue.
7. Advanced Vocabulary Builder
Digital Dialects offers a lot of ways to learn Spanish, but for me the most interesting section is the Advanced Vocabulary Builder. This isn’t a website for people who just want to learn the basics of the Spanish language. Digital Dialects pushes you and will make your neurons work at full speed.
When you open the “Advanced Spanish” section, you’ll see there are four categories: vocabulary builder one and two, animals, birds, insects and verbs (in the infinitive). Each category will give you a long list of new words to learn. Read and study them carefully. Write them down, copy them on a Word document…do whatever you need to remember them. The new vocabulary isn’t easy. You’ll learn words only an advanced user of Spanish will need to use, so don’t be too harsh on yourself at the beginning!
Once you’ve learned the list of words, click on “Play Game” and you’ll be directed to a new page where you’ll have to put your knowledge to the test. Words will appear on the upper side of the screen, and you’ll have to choose the right translation by pressing the correct red arrow. If you think you’ve made a mistake, just click on “Change.” At the end of the round, you’ll be told if your answers are correct or not before you go to the next round.
When it comes to grammar, the best part of this page is that it tells you whether the words are masculine or feminine, so you won’t have to look them up in a dictionary. When you’ve learned all the words, my advice is to try to build sentences with them. Use them in your conversations with your friends, too. All in all, try to use them as often as you can so that you don’t forget them!
8. Spanish Scrabble
Scrabble is possibly my all-time favorite word game. I have it in seven different languages, and there isn’t a single house party where I don’t bring it.
I guess most of you know what Scrabble is and how challenging and entertaining it can be. I bet you also know this isn’t a game for beginners if they aren’t playing in their mother tongue. But if you think you have enough Spanish vocabulary to give it a go, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the best word games in history.
While you won’t be able to play Scrabble on this site, we’ve got some resources to help you out. This website contains the letters of the Spanish version of the game. Click on the picture in order to be able to save it, and finally print and cut the letters. The kind of paper you use and the way to make the letters usable is up to you. I recommend using photo paper or gluing the letters into some corrugated carton.
Once you have your letters ready, the only thing you have to do is play!
The website also contains dozens of links related to Scrabble in Spanish, for example Scrabble associations and clubs, championships and even downloadable and online Scrabble-based games! Enjoy!
Of course, if cutting and pasting isn’t your style, you can also buy the Scrabble Spanish edition board game on Amazon.
9. La lotería (The Lottery)
We’re not talking about Powerball; if you hear a Spanish speaker use the word lotería, chances are they’re referring to a bingo-style game that’s also called “Mexican Bingo.”
The difference between this game and the bingo you may be used to, though, is that la lotería uses pictograms instead of numbers and letters. So, instead of breaking a sweat waiting for the emcee to call out that elusive “I29,” you’ll be marking off pictures with names like el borracho (the drunkard) and el catrín (the dandy).
The game has a total of 54 pictograms, many of them featuring words you may not have learned in school. You can play alone or with a group to expand your vocabulary and experience an iconic slice of Mexican culture. Plus, who doesn’t love a game of bingo?
The playing cards can be downloaded online, and the lotería deck (for emcee purposes) as well as the full game are available in app form. The cards are also readily available to buy; you may be able to pick up a set in the toy or game aisle depending on where you live.
10. Matching Games
Think back for a moment to a simpler time before iPads and Netflix, when all you needed to while away a rainy afternoon was a set of cards lying face down and the task of turning them over two at a time to create matches.
It may have been a while since you played a matching game, but this childhood pastime can actually help you improve your Spanish vocabulary.
In addition to being a pretty low-stress activity, playing a matching game can be a big help in building strong associations between English words and their Spanish meanings. Certainly you can buy a set of matching cards or print some online, but if you’re feeling crafty, why not pick a set of words you want to learn and make your own cards?
Then, the next time one of those rainy afternoons comes along, you can spend some time racking up matches and getting more and more used to recognizing a brand-new set of Spanish vocabulary.
11. 4 Fotos 1 Palabra (4 Pics 1 Word)
Remember 4 Pics 1 Word? Remember the late 2000s? Yeah.
For those of you not familiar with the brain-teasing English version of the app, the object is simple: arrange letters to guess the mystery word based on four different images.
It’s definitely an unconventional vocabulary tool since it doesn’t teach you words outright. Instead, the game requires you pick out words you know from a jumble of letters, which means you’ll need to think outside the box (hint: just because there’s an A and an R doesn’t mean you’re going to be spelling a verb) and summon some wide-ranging associations with the photos you’re looking at.
Oh, and did I also mention it’s great for learning words with multiple meanings? You won’t see a doll (muñeca) and a wrist (also muñeca) together while playing the English version of this game, that’s for sure.
I don’t recommend this game for beginners since it’s actually geared toward native speakers (albeit at a third-grade reading level). However, if you’ve already got some Spanish under your belt, this game will help you practice calling Spanish words to mind without relying on translations to English. Consult a dictionary if you get stuck, and with a little skill, you’ll be greeted with the phrase “¡Has acertado la palabra!” (“You’ve guessed the word correctly!”)
Freerice.com is a gamified quiz site with an addictive format and a concept that’s hard not to love. For every question you answer correctly, the World Food Programme donates 10 grains of rice to hungry people—paid for with sponsored ads that appear with each question.
The site defaults to questions on English vocabulary, but if you click on the Subjects panel at the top, you’ll be able to navigate to the Spanish vocabulary questions.
The site has a built-in learning curve: answer questions correctly, and you’ll soon move up a level and be presented with rarer, more difficult words. Wrong answers will bring you back down a level, but with a few more correct answers, the site will give you another chance at the word you missed and allow you to move back up.
With only 10 levels of difficulty in the Spanish setting, advanced speakers will encounter some diminishing returns as they quickly rise to the top and start encountering duplicate questions in the same sitting. However, the learning-curve aspect makes this a good site for beginners, and the wide sampling of vocabulary means even advanced speakers have a chance to learn some new words and brush up on the ones they’d forgotten.
The abcya.com site has a pretty wide array of educational games, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on just one (feel free to explore the whole site for even more options, though).
In Spanish Word BINGO, you pick two vocabulary sets and get a bunch of words mixed up together on a bingo card, which you then mark off one by one as you hear the correct translations.
It’s clear this site is geared toward younger learners (the color scheme alone is a dead giveaway), but adult learners will appreciate the ability to target a specific vocabulary set. You can also choose between English-to-Spanish or Spanish-to-English challenges, which can mix up your practice and keep the vocabulary fresh.
Rockalingua is a subscription-based service with many tools for language learners, including a whole slew of vocabulary games. This is another site that’s geared toward children, but its variety of vocabulary sets means it can also be useful for adult learners depending on which words you still have to learn.
The games are organized by vocabulary set; you can play to learn las partes del cuerpo (the parts of the body), medios de transporte (means of transportation) and more. From there, you can choose the type of game you want to play and the level of difficulty.
The Concept Race game, which requires you to type a Spanish word before the corresponding picture drifts off the screen, is especially helpful for pinning down those few words you don’t quite remember. Choose this game after clicking on the vocabulary set you want to learn.
The site’s adjustable difficulty levels and many vocabulary sets make it useful for any skill level. Depending on your abilities, you can hone your vocabulary in a few chosen word sets or simply work your way through the list.
15. Sopa de letras (Letter soup)
Sopa de letras is the Spanish name for what English-speakers call a word search. Maybe you enjoy searching systematically through a set of letters; maybe you prefer to glance around haphazardly until something catches your eye. Whatever your method, solving a word search is a low-stress task that requires you to use spelling and word recognition, so if you want to learn vocabulary, these puzzles can help.
There are a lot of different ways to satisfy your craving for letter soup—you can download an app, solve online puzzles or buy a book if you’re a pen-and-paper kind of person. You’re going to encounter a ton of new words this way, so keep a good dictionary handy to look up the best translations.
If you’re looking to reinforce a particular vocabulary set, try solving a themed puzzle based on whatever topic you care to learn—or pick a favorite app/site and just start looking!
Why Learn Spanish Vocabulary with Games?
When we think about games, we think about fun distractions. But actually, there’s a lot to the games that make them brimming with educational potential. Much of it comes down to their highly interactive nature.
When the act of studying becomes interactive, then it can be mentally stimulating in a way that makes it genuinely fun. That’s why this approach is used by many of today’s language learning programs and tools.
For example, FluentU equips authentic videos with interactive clickable subtitles that provide word translations. You can also make decks of multimedia vocabulary flashcards and take personalized quizzes that accept both written and spoken input.
So it’s only natural that games, being as immersive and interactive as they are, can pair wonderfully with something as complex as Spanish language learning. Sure, they may not be as robust as language learning programs in teaching, but they can certainly boost your skills and let you have a fun time doing so.
There’s also the matter of time and convenience. Although you might not think it, you likely have 10 or 15 minutes of free time during the day, and that’s all you’ll need to add a couple of new words to your ever-increasing word bank! With these nine games, you can review specific vocabulary topics, practice translation while under pressure and learn new advanced terms you’ll be able to incorporate in your daily conversations.
In order to find the best games for you, I’ve scoured the internet and, of course, played the games myself. I won’t hide the fact that I had so much fun that I plan to continue playing these games in the future. (Note: Some of these games require the Adobe Flash Player plugin.)
Don’t worry if some of the games aren’t for you. Some are for complete beginners, others for advanced students and a couple of them are for people who want to take all their knowledge to the next level by pushing themselves a little harder. Pick and choose the ones that seem to interest you and just enjoy!
Each of them will help you in a very specific way and, when it comes to learning, all of us have the right to let our inner child go out and have a good time.
I hope you like these games, and I especially hope you like expanding your vocabulary even more!
Have fun and enjoy your journey. Grammar is extremely important, but taking a break from time to time to engage in some good old-fashioned fun is essential, too.