These board games in Spanish are the perfect way to make learning Spanish fun for bilingual families! Tips and tricks for how to convert almost any board game into a bilingual activity for kids!
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Why Spanish Games For Kids Are Useful
It isn’t always easy to get kids to speak two languages at home, and I have found that creating need for second language use at home has to be intentional and fun.
When bilingual parents talk about how their kids are rebelling against the home language (internal link), the very first thing I tell them to do is to pull out some board games and schedule time to play them each day as a family.
For one, playing board games teaches a host of important life lessons about taking turns, winning and losing with grace, matching patterns, reading, critical thinking, exercising logic… the list is almost endless.
Another really cool aspect of board and card games is that they are instantly a vocabulary game too! That’s because the vocabulary used to play is generally quite repetitive. You’ll use lots of phrases over and over in both question and answer form, so it’s almost impossible for your kids to forget new words by the end of the game.
Board games are full of vocabulary too- every game board is full of images, colors, and numbers used over and over again to play. This equals kids learning without even realizing it.
And finally, children take language risks when they feel safe- and in general, sitting around the family dinner table with loved ones is a comfortable space for kids to try out new words and pronunciations.
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Advice For Using Games In Spanish With Your Children
Most all board games can be played in any language, but there are a few exceptions. Games like Monopoly or Payday, which require reading prompts to complete the game are not good for language acquisition because they require the bilingual brain to read and then translate- we are using board games in this instance as a means to boost the home language, not work on translation skills.
To choose a great bilingual game, look for games that require little reading or reliance on text to complete the game (think Candyland). I go this route because I usually inherit games from friends, find them at the thrift store, or even check them out from the public library to save money since Spanish version of the game is usually more expensive and harder to come by. Spelling games and reading games are great if you can find them- but not necessary to practice home language with your kids.
Almost every game comes with a multilingual instruction sheet- so challenge yourself to read the instructions in your home language and to use the words from the instructions to explain the objective of the game to your kids.
It’s natural for kids to use the non-natve language when starting to play a game for the first time. Don’t get frustrated. Simply speak the target language, ask your child to repeat the words, and eventually they will warm up.
Ok- here’s the list – in no particular order.
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10 Best Board Games In Spanish For Families
This riveting dice game is perfect for all ages, not too competitive and great for language learning. Great for practice with Spanish numbers as well as perseverance- you have to keep rolling until you finish regardless of whether or not you win!
A quick tile-matching game for anywhere from 2-4 players. No board required! Qwirkle relies on visuals, not language, so anyone can play!
Another matching visual game, Spot-it is all about reaction time, and is great for people with a competitive streak! Anywhere from 2-8 players can get involved in this fast-paced game regardless of whether or not they speak the same language.
The little sister of Scrabble, Bananagrams is a wonderful way to learn Spanish words and experiment with Spanish vocabulary! Although originally designed for English, Bananagrams makes for a wonderful Spanish learning game.
This speedy pick-and-pass card game has players select the best combination of sushi dishes as the cards are circulated. It’s a little bit like the classic Spoons game, but with cute sushi- inspired picture cards!
Always a favorite, this block-stacking game tests your ability to keep an increasingly precarious tower upright. No language skills required!
I would be remiss not to include a game that’s named after a Spanish number! This exciting color-matching card game is an excellent pick for a big group. (Specifically, a non-competitive group– Uno gets intense!)
Inventive and amusing, this game requires your creativity! Shake your cubes, order them, and tell a story according to the images on each cube. This is one of the best Spanish games for kids, as it encourages them to invent and narrate an original story!
A current favorite, this puzzle game requires critical thinking skills, and uses colors and geometric shapes to solve the puzzle race.
A math game for K-2nd graders, this game is a great way to practice numbers!
We are having endless hilarity playing this classic game and yelling “Uh-oh, ¡estás en problemas!” when we knock each other off the board.
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Perfect for number and color practice. This game is fun because multiple generations can play even if not everyone is speaking the same language.
A huge favorite of our family and friends in Costa Rica, this game can be played in teams to bring the little ones up to speed.
This is our favorite Spanish juego de mesa, and worth the splurge to have the Spanish board.
All you need is a deck of cards to play the classic card game War. 1, 2, 3, Guerra! Divide the deck of cards evenly among players. Everyone flips their top card over and the player with the highest card wins all the cards. If two people have the same card, it’s war! Deal three cards face down, the 4th face up and the highest card wins them all. Play until one player has all of the cards in their hand.
Great for numbers and letters.
A classic games for describing physical characteristics. This was a favorite in my Spanish classroom as well!
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