This is the simplest activity ever, but children produce lots of Spanish as we play and they associate the words with actions and pictures. This is a game I usually play with preschoolers, but kindergarteners and even older kids have fun with it, too.
We call the game Busca, busca. You can play with one child, two children or a group, inside or outside. All you need are small pictures that represent a word the children are learning or, if you have lots of the same thing, objects. For example, I just finished a unit on Los pollitos, so we played this game with pictures of corn and the kids searched just like la gallina in the song. it is almost Easter, and this game is also great for hunting for eggs. The game fits in perfectly with this story and coloring book of Los Pollitos.
I display one picture where everyone can see it and we say it together. Next, the children cover their eyes and I hide the small pictures (or objects) around the room or, if we are outside, within a designated area. I use a few more pictures than the number of children. Then, one at a time, the kids take turns finding a picture and bringing it back.
The key to making this a valuable language activity is singing. All of us sing while one child is searching, telling her Busca, busca, busca el maíz (or whatever the word is). The tune is the first two lines of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and we sing it over and over again as the child finds a picture and brings it back. Because the tune is so familiar and busca is very easy for kids to say, you can use this game with new vocabulary. Young children can produce the sentence with no problem.
Of course, there are lots of variations. Two children or three, or everyone, can search and sing at the same time, or you can hide several different pictures and children can hunt for the one you are singing about. My favorite way to play with preschoolers though is the simplest – using pictures of one thing and having one child search. They act out busca, associate the word and the picture and sing lots of Spanish. Also, everyone is participating all the time!
You may also be interested in this post: Spanish Games for Kids – Paper Cups for Hiding
Mar 5, 2013
I do a similar game, but we chant, “¿Dónde está el maíz?” (or whatever the child is searching for), getting louder and softer as the searching child gets closer or farther from the object or picture. I like your idea of singing, too!
Mar 5, 2013
This is much simpler; no thinking about distance or getting louder, and the tune helps them tremendously. Of course, they are only three. 🙂 I play a game like yours with older kids, although we use “caliente” and “frío” because that is how it is played in Mexico and I want to keep the cultural component. They would sure love to get louder though. I’ll have to try that!