I CONFESS, I LOVE PLAYING GAMES! My family is huge on games, we play whenever we get together, and honestly, we play a lot of games in my elementary Spanish classes. Besides the fact that they are fun, games are an authentic way to build communication skills, motivate those more reluctant learners, and give a reason to participate for even the "coolest" kid. While searching for Valentine's Day activities on Pinterest, I came across a bunch of 'Minute to Win It' games and I was hooked! (Apparently I have been WAY out of the loop because I didn't even realize it had been a TV show until I had been scrolling for maybe 5-10 minutes- oh, boy!) Anywho, I couldn't resist gathering a bunch together, making some adaptions to fit an elementary Spanish classroom (though they could be played in any language or level really!), and ¡ta-chán! here they are:
1) LA TORRE DE CORAZONES: this one is awesome for any grade level (my primary grades play a similar game with stacking a sandwich and it is hilarious! see post here). Head over to the Dollar Store and pick up a bunch of candy hearts- the bags I bought had approximately 180 candy hearts in them, so enough for 18 kiddos- 4 bags + one extra bag and I had enough for one grade level. Put a bag's worth (or so) on paper plates and have kids take 10 hearts each. Set the timer and have them stack the hearts; if the hearts fall over before the minute is up, they have to start over again- the student with the highest tower at the end of the minute wins!
2) DE UN PLATO AL OTRO: Who knows what to call this game? Anyway, each student needs two paper plates, a bunch of pompoms on one plate, and a clothespin. Set the timer- the challenge, use the clothespin to transport pompoms from one plate to the other- whoever has the most pompoms on their second plate at the end of the minute is the winner!
3) LIMPIADORES DE PIPA: Another take on the pompom idea, each student gets one pipe cleaner and a bunch of pony beads. Depending on the age of your students, you could do this in pairs or as individuals. The pipe cleaner with the most beads when the timer goes off is the winner- bonus points if they create a pattern with the colors! (you would need a variety of colors for this :0) )
4) COMIDA MISTERIOSA: This is great for small teams to play against one another! Use Chinese food take out containers (I found these at the Dollar Tree, you can also find them at most any craft store), and put a plastic food (or a picture, or really anything! I just like the idea of a food item since it is a take out container :) ) inside. One student on each team has to describe the food in the target language to the rest of the team without them looking inside the container. The first team to guess correctly before the timer goes off is the winner. You can then rotate the containers and start again.
5) EL TARRO DE ESTIMACIÓN: Fill a jar with candy conversation hearts and invite your students to estimate how many are in there, using the target language of course!
6) RELLENAR EL MOLDE: Another speed related game, students each have a bunch of pompoms and a cookie cutter. The challenge- stuff the cookie cutter with as many pompoms as possible. Whoever has the most in the cookie cutter when the time is up is the winner.
7) CATEGORIZANDO POMPONES: Have a plateful of pom poms in different colors, a clothespin and a muffin tin for sorting the pompoms by color (you could use cups or sorting trays also). Once the timer starts, students need to use the clothespin to sort as many pom poms as possible before the time is up!
8) CARRERA CON POMPONES: This is a great game to play outside or in the gym! If you have to play in your classroom, you can do it in shifts of 6 or so students at a time so that there is enough room. Mark a beginning and ending point that students will need to navigate- give each participant a popsicle stick and three pompoms which need to sit on the popsicle stick. Hit 'go' and students must walk as quickly as they can to the other side, without dropping any pompoms. The first across the finish line with pompoms intact is the winner!
9) CARRERA CON POMPONES #2: This is an alternate version of the above game, but instead of a popsicle stick each student gets a paper cup with pompoms inside (I put about 5-10, the amount isn't important, though it should be the same in each cup to be fair should the cup fall and someone has to refill their cup before continuing on). Each student places the paper cup on their head, and again, must walk as fast as they can to the finish line. The winner is the first across the line with the cup on their head and all pompoms inside.
YOU CAN PLAY THESE GAMES any time of year- they are not Valentine's Day specific, though certainly if you are heading into February vacation, you might consider playing these to keep your sanity! :)
AND DON'T FORGET TO THROW IN game vocabulary while everyone is playing: 'Go!', 'It's your turn!', 'Come on!', 'Oh my gosh!', 'oh no!'. 'yay', 'darn!', 'alright!', 'yes!' etc are all great expressions to keep the games in the target language. Now, go have some fun! :)
NEED A GREAT RESOURCE FOR GAME VOCABULARY? Here's a set of posters plus vocabulary lists!