Dice games for kids learning Spanish

I use dice games in my Spanish classes and also as a take-home activity. The games are easily adapted for different levels and for different size groups. You can use dice games to teach Spanish vocabulary and a variety of structures. They are fun because of the element of chance, but many dice games also require strategy. Strategy games are great because they are sufficiently challenging for older students at a language level that is appropriate.

This simple dice game teaches lots of language in context and is a good one to use with younger students. There are many variations of this game, but this easy version gives kids practice with the verbs tener (tengo, tienes) and necesitar, the question ¿Qué? and numbers. It also makes very clear the use of ya to mean already, something that children learn quickly as they play. I play this game in class and then include it in a list of games students can play at home.  A more complicated variation of this game is sometimes known as Centenario, but I call this simple version La pirámide (The Pyramid).

The object of the game is to be the first one to cross off all the numbers on the game sheet. You have to cross them off in numerical order. You can make a simple game sheet, print the game sheets I made for my classes using the link below or just write the numbers on a scrap of paper in this order: 1 2 3 4 5 6 5 4 3 2 1.

Click here for the game sheet Printable dice game for numbers in Spanish – La pirámide

Each player needs a game sheet, two dice and a pencil. The first player rolls the dice and if she gets a 1, she can cross it off. If she gets a 1 and a 2, she can cross them both off in one turn. If she does not roll a 1, she cannot cross off any numbers and it is the next player’s turn. A player gets one roll per turn. The first one to cross off all of her numbers, in order, wins.

Remember to use as much Spanish as possible as you play. Talk about everything you do and the numbers you roll. The idea is that the context makes what you are saying clear, so say obvious things like Voy a tirar (I’m going to roll) as you shake the dice. Point to the dice and say the numbers. Talk about what your child is doing, too. You can comment on what she is does, and you can also ask questions, and then answer them yourself. The more Spanish and the more repetition, the better. These are some of the Spanish phrases you will use as you play this game.

Talking to someone:

Te toca. – It’s your turn.
Necesitas un tres. – You need a three.
Tira (los dados). –  Roll (the dice).
¿Qué tienes? – What do you have?
¿Qué sacaste? – What did you roll?
Tienes un seis y un dos.- You have a six and a two.

Ya tienes un dos. – You already have a two.
No hay un tres. – There is no three.
No sacaste un tres. – You didn’t roll a three.
No puedes tachar nada. – You can’t cross off anything.

¡Un tres! – A three!
Cross off the three. – Tacha el tres.

Dame los dados por favor. – Give me the dice please.
Dale los dados a Hannah por favor. – Give the dice to Hannah please.

Talking about yourself:

Me toca. – It’s my turn.
Necesito un tres. – I need a three.
Voy a tirar. – I’m going to roll.
Tengo un seis y un dos. – I have a six and a two.
Saqué un seis y un dos. – I rolled a six and a two.

Ya tengo un dos. – I already have a two.
No hay un tres. – There is no three.
No saqué un tres. – I didn’t roll a three.
No puedo tachar nada.- I can’t cross off anything.

¡Un tres! – A three!
Voy a tachar el tres. – I’m going to cross off the three.

Online games to practice parts of the body, fruits, colors and shapes in Spanish
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