Hands-on game to teach your children Spanish at home
Here is a fun and easy game you can do at home to teach your children Spanish or another foreign language. It only takes a few minutes and you can fit the game in anywhere during your day. If you are a parent teaching at home and don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish, there are instructions on how to play so you (the parent) don’t have to speak any Spanish. We find that kids of all ages enjoy these games, even though they may at first act like they are too old for them.
Game: Duck Duck Goose, Spanish-style (Pato, pato, ganso)
Number of players: 2+
What’s required: enough space for players to sit in a circle and room to run
Optional: paper and pencil or board to write Spanish words
Recommended for: active children, to balance with sedentary learning, students who have difficulty focusing, to develop students’ listening skills, to help students retain vocabulary
How to play: Select one child to be “it”. Have the child think of two Spanish words (or phrases) they have learned that are related in the Spanish you are teaching, such as two colors, two animals, two foods, two verbs, the same verb but a different conjugation, and so on.
To play, the “it” child will tap on the head one at a time of the other players while repeating the same Spanish word until they finally tap on the head of a player and say the second Spanish word. The child whose head is tapped on and hears the second Spanish word will then quickly get up and chase the “it” child. If they catch the “it” child, they become “it” for the next turn. If they don’t, they have to sit in the middle of the circle and can’t play until another child replaces them.
For only a few students, no child will go in the middle of the circle. They will just remain playing. For only two players, the “it” child will tap repeatedly on the other player’s head until they decide to say the second Spanish word, at which time the student will chase them. If they catch them, they switch roles; if not, they play again with the same player being “it”.
If the students are young and/or need help, you may whisper the words to them or write the words on a piece of paper for them to look at. Alternatively, you may write a list of words on a board for everyone to see and each player chooses two words from the list when they are “it”.
If a parent is teaching and doesn’t feel comfortable speaking the Spanish words, they may show the child pictures of the Spanish words or the words written out.
Please let us know if you tried this game at home! Your experience is helpful for other parents. How did it go? Did you kids enjoy the game? Did you feel they learned Spanish? Did you make any adjustments to the game?