Relax, It’s Not-Back-To-School Time — Use This Fun Spanish Activity!

Let's play! Jugamos! After all, it's not-back-to-school time.

Let’s play! Jugamos! After all, it’s not-back-to-school time.

Instead of hunkering down and diving into serious ‘school’, let’s dive into ‘not-back-to-school’ revelry. In honor of this lovely memory of our own family’s homeschool days, I encourage you, as a homeschool educator, or co-op facilitator, to relax.  It’s time to play.  Use this fun Spanish activity and make a board game in Spanish!


Play the Candyland board game in Spanish!

¡Jugamos Candyland!

¡Jugamos Candyland!

If you don’t know what Candlyland is, it’s a board game with a start and a finish connected by a swirly path made out of squares of different colors.  You draw cards with colors on them and you advance to the square of that color.  Some cards are double colors, so you can advance twice.  At places throughout the board, there are special squares.  If you draw one of these cards, you either hop up to where that square is……or hop back.  Sometimes waaaaay back.  At our house, the special square that was close to the start was ripped in half by a disappointed youngster.  We played with that ripped card for years.  It brought a smile to our faces each time we saw it

Relax, it’s simple for the kids to make a board game!

Es tan simple! ¿Tienes crayones o marcadoras? (It's so simple! Do you have crayons or markers?)

Es tan simple! ¿Tienes crayones o marcadores? (It’s so simple! Do you have crayons or markers?)

All you need is cardstock or cardboard, crayons or markers, and a Spanish/English dictionary

First, have the kids draw a swirly path of squares from start to finish.  Fill them in with different colors using crayons or markers. Then, review your colors in Spanish.

At various points along the way, insert special squares of nature’s natural events.  Here are some suggestions:

hurricane                (un huracán)                          tsunami            (un tsunami)
volcanic eruption  (una erupción de volcán)     tornado            (un tornado)
avalanche               (un avalancha)                       earthquake      (un terremoto)
blizzard                   (una tormenta de nieve)      drought            (una sequía)
sand storm             (una tormenta de arena)     windstorm       (una tormenta de viento)
forest fire               (un incendio del bosque)     flood                  (una inundación
fire                           (un incendio)  or (un fuego)
lightning                 (relámpagos)                          hail                    (granizo)

You can keep the game simple by merely saying out loud the colors that you draw in Spanish and saying the color of each square you land on.  When you get a natural disaster card, say it’s name in Spanish and regresa o avanza (go back or go forward).  Can you count in Spanish as you move forward? or back?

Some not-back-to-school friendly competition!

Let the games begin! ¡Que empiecen los juegos!

Let the games begin! ¡Que empiecen los juegos!

Want to add some friendly competition and utilize a great way to learn and memorize more words? How about this…..when a player draws a natural disaster card, he or she must then take 10 to 15 seconds to shout out all words they know that they can associate with this natural disaster.

For example, if I draw “huracán,” I might shout out these associated vocabulary words:

el viento     la lluvia     una inundación   una barca   las nubes  el miedo    el impermeable    un paraguas   los paramédicos    el hospital     las casas    las mascotas     el lodo     el mar  flotar    nadar    una emergencia

(wind     rain     a flood      a boat    clouds    fear   raincoat    an umbrella      paramedics     hospital     houses     pets   mud   sea    to float     to swim     an emergency)

See how many vocabulary words each player can remember.  Use a stopwatch!  It will add another level of excitement to the game! Can everyone manage to say fifteen associated vocabulary words? Or more? Perhaps make a rule that, say, if a player can’t say ten associated words, he/she goes back to start? Just a thought.  Each group that plays will have different rules and different skills.

To prepare, you can all work together to make lists of possible associated words the day before,.  The kids can decide to either memorize them, or use them as a cheat sheet as you play.

Have fun! ¡ Diviértanse!

For vocabulary ideas, see the R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish curriculum units!