Think about the last time you were stuck in a long boring meeting or lecture. Now think about how much you actually remember from this meeting or class. My guess is… probably not much. The reason is that when we are not engaged we tend to disconnect and my mind tends to wander. On the other hand, if you think about a class you loved in school, there’s a possibility you had a fun, amusing teacher.
Learning can not only be fun but, in fact, it should be fun! Research in Cognitive Neuroscience suggests that adults (and of course, kids) retain new information notoriously better when the learning process is connected to fun and humor. In other words, “humor activates our sense of wonder, which is where learning begins, so it seems logical that humor could enhance retention”. For this reason, when learning a new language there is nothing better than having fun as you learn inside and outside of the classroom.
If you are learning Spanish with a teacher that you love, chances are your teacher is not only great at explaining the lessons but she is also able to deliver them in a fun, engaging way. If you usually have a good time in class, then that part is taken care of. But have you thought about adding a few games and game elements into your daily practice? Whether you have or not, today my goal is to inspire you to incorporate more fun into your Spanish practice.
I will share a list of games that you can play by yourself or with friends! As you will see, some of the games on this list are quite popular games that you have perhaps played in your native language. This means all you need to do is focus on Spanish words.
But before you start playing, here’s a little advice: Embrace losing the game and let go of the idea that you should be good at any of these games. Winning is not the main goal here. In fact, learning theories explain that learning should be effortful in order to be internalized. The more you struggle, the better! And I know that might sound counterintuitive when we are trying to have fun but, believe me, drop your expectations and you will have a blast!
1. ¡Basta! (Scattergories or Stop the bus!):
This is a fantastic game for Low Intermediate to Advanced students (and anyone really). It will have you thinking fast in no time. To play, there will be one letter of the alphabet assigned for each round. Players will attempt to come up with a word for each category on their list that starts with the letter of the round. Some popular categories are: object, country, name, jobs, animal, color, etc. So, let’s say the letter is C, your answers can be Cámara, Colombia, Carlos, Cobra, Coral, respectively.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of English cognates here. Use them to guess any Spanish words that you want to use. You will be surprised at how often you get it right!
Where can I play?
At first, you will see that this website gives you a default category list in English. But, you can create your own custom list of categories in Spanish. To do so, go to: “Add A Category”, click on “Remove All” and add your categories and click “Restart”.
You can also adjust the timer and re-roll to get a different letter if you don’t like the one for the round.
Another website where you can play this super fun game is https://stopots.com/system/. Here, you will join a game room where you will have the opportunity to play with others in real time. You can join anonymously which will save you the time of creating an account.
2. Wordle en Español:
By now, we have ALL heard of Wordle. Maybe you have been playing ever since this game took the world by storm. But did you know there’s a version in Spanish that you can also play? That’s right. You can play Wordle twice a day and in two different languages!
And, if you haven’t heard of Wordle, it’s a very simple yet slightly addictive word game. Here’s how it works:
You have six attempts to guess the hidden word. Each try must be a five letter word and you have a total of six tries. After each try, you will see some letters change color. Letters in yellow mean the letter is in the hidden word but it’s the wrong position. If letters turned green, the letter is in the hidden word and in the right position.
Where can I play?
This is a great way to increase your vocabulary and get better at retrieving the words you already know. Each time you get to the final word (whether you guessed it or not, make sure to look up the meaning!
Pro Tip: Feel free to look up 5 letter words that start with a specific letter in Spanish. There are dozens of online resources that can give you some inspiration.
I recommend How’s my Spanish, where you can look up a list of words in Spanish and also look at the English translation all in one place.
3. El Ahorcado (Hangman)
Another popular word game and an old-time people’s favorite is El Ahorcado (Lit. Hangman in English). This is a great game to work on your Spanish spelling.
Where can I play?
Spanish Games is an awesome place to play Hangman in Spanish. Here you will not only have the chance to play online by yourself but also you can also select your Spanish level AND the topic. For example: If you’ve been studying the numbers or countries in Spanish, you can choose to have only words within these topics.
4. Crucigramas (Crosswords)
Lastly, for those of you who love crosswords. How about playing in Spanish for a change? Now, I know it might sound intimidating. Your Sunday crossword puzzle might already be challenging enough as it is. But if you are up to it, here are a few sites where you can play crucigramas in Spanish and learn along the way!
- Daily Spanish Crossword – Easy Here you will translate words from English into Spanish to complete the crossword. This is great for beginners and anyone who finds translation helpful in language learning.
- Spanish Level Here you will find crosswords for different topics, from daily routines, to common verbs to Animals. Here the clues are all in Spanish which makes this resource especially great for Intermediate to Advanced students.
And there you have it. Four free word games you can play online to improve your Spanish, increase your vocabulary and power up your brain!