Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Musical Chairs" Spanish Vocabulary Game

This is a game that I've been using mostly with my elementary students who sign up to learn some Spanish during our summer school program.  The kids really enjoy it - the music, the dancing, the competition, and the luck, but it allows me to review vocabulary with them too at the same time.  I call it musical chairs, but there are no chairs involved, really.  So, maybe I should be thinking up a new name.  :)

Here's how we play:

1.  First, I make large cards out of construction paper or printer paper.  When I review colors with this game, I simply choose a piece of construction paper in each color.  When I review other kinds of vocabulary, I write the Spanish vocabulary, such as "Mucho gusto" on the big pieces of paper.  These pieces of paper get spread around the room.  I usually just choose random desks around the room to put these bigger papers on.

2.  Then, I make coordinating smaller cards.  For example, with the color version, I would take a half a sheet of the colored construction paper and write the Spanish word on it.  When I review other vocabulary, I'll write the English on these smaller cards, such as "Nice to meet you."  I then put these smaller cards into a manila envelope to play the game.

3.  Play some fun music (Por arriba, por abajo by Ricky Martin is my go-to song.) and encourage the kids to dance around the room.  When the music stops, the students stand next to one of the large pieces of paper around the room.  I allow multiple kids to choose the same card if they'd like.

4.  This is where the review/quizzing comes in to play.  I go around the room and we have a little conversation like:

     - Rosa, ¿de qué color es tu papel?
     - azul
     - Ah, sí.  Es azul.


     - Roberto, ¿qué dice tu papel?
     - Buenos días.
     - Ah, dice buenos días.  Y en inglés, ¿qué es buenos días?
     - Good morning.  

5.  After I've talked with everyone, I make a really big deal about choosing one of the small cards out of my manila envelope.  Students who are standing at the big paper that matches the little paper that I pull are out, and they are confined to dancing by the computer and helping to start and stop the music.  

That's pretty much all there is to it?  Do you have similar games that your young students have attached on to?


  1. Great idea. I've done something similar but this new idea is great. tHanks for sharing ;-)

  2. Great idea! Have you ever played with just pictures/Spanish words/colors? I'd prefer my students not translate words from Spanish to English (as far as language acquisition best practices go).

  3. Thank you so much for sharing, it is a fantastic idea! <3