Bilingual is Better

playing picture card games in spanish

If you are looking for Spanish language games to play with your niños this summer, try picture cards. The pictures help kids understand the Spanish they hear, so they learn new words as they are having fun.

You are probably familiar with games like Memory, where players turn over matching pairs, or Go Fish where players ask each other for cards to make pairs. You will find ten games to play with picture cards on this printable activity sheet.

If your child is a beginning Spanish learner, use cards with common words. There are many printable picture cards online; try searching ESL flash cards or matching cards. You can also draw you own or cut pictures from magazines. There is a set of printable summer picture cards with the activity sheet to get you started.

If your child is attending an English language school, you can make picture cards for the vocabulary she learned during the year, like the planets, the life cycle of the frog, or early Americans. You can also choose words related to a book she read or to an upcoming trip.

Tips for playing picture card games in Spanish

- If the words are new, talk about the cards together before you play so your child has a chance to hear them.

- When you play a game, limit the number of new words and include picture cards of vocabulary your child knows.

- Use the words for the pictures on the cards as much as possible as you play.

- Play games where kids hear new words first and then move to games where they produce them. On the activity sheet, for example, play La Carrera or Tira el saquito before playing ¿Qué había?

- Relate the words to each other as you play. Using the printable cards for example, you could say: La pala. Se puede usar la pala para hacer un castillo de arena.

- Cards can include the written word or not. For children who speak Spanish and are learning to read, cards with words make the game a good literacy activity. For Spanish language learners who read in English, you may want to start with just pictures so that the written word does not interfere with pronunciation as they learn the words.

- All of the language you use to play a game is excellent exposure to Spanish. As you play, you can use simple sentences like these:

¿A quién le toca? – Whose turn is it?
Te toca. – It’s your turn.
Me toca. – It’s my turn.
Tira de nuevo. – Roll again.
Ganas. – You win.
Ganaste. – You won.
Gano – I win.
Gané. – I won.

With children who speak more Spanish, talk about hypothetical situations: Si hubiera tirado un seis, te habría ganado. (If I had rolled a six, I would have beaten you.)

- Most important, have fun playing with your child!

Click here for 10 Picture Card Games to Play in Spanish including a printable activity sheet and printable cards.

Special thanks to Spanish Playground for providing these games. Visit their site for more activities to teach Spanish to kids.


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