As a rule, I don’t teach much explicit grammar with elementary age students. My goal is to have students get lots of exposure to language in context and learn to produce chunks of meaning. However, I do have some older students who are learning the patterns of verb conjugation. Spanish verb games like this set of printable dominoes are a good way to make them aware of endings.
In the Spanish verb games we play, the vocabulary and verb forms are familiar. In other words, none of the words on the dominoes are new. They have also been introduced to the idea of verb conjugation and practiced identifying the subject in sentences in stories and other activities.
With Spanish verb games at this level, my goal is to make students aware of what they already know, of the patterns they understand when they are listening. So, playing Spanish verb games like this dominoes game, students do not have to conjugate the verbs. Rather, they have to match a pronoun or a conjugated verb to another verb in the same person. It really helps them see the pattern!
For example, with these dominoes, vivo, quiero, tengo, escucho, hablo all match each other and also all match the pronoun yo. On the dominoes, I put regular verb endings in bold, to remind players to focus on them. I included a few irregular verb forms like es and vas because my students are familiar with them.
To play this dominoes game, print two sets. There are blank cards if you want to add additional verbs.
- Mix up the dominoes and place them all face down on the table.
- For a two player game, each player should draw 4 dominoes. For a game with more players, each player should draw 3 dominoes.
- One player begins by laying any domino on the table.
- The next player plays a domino that matches what is on the table. She can match pronoun–verb, pronoun-pronoun or verb-verb (both verbs have to be conjugated in the same person). A double domino (pronoun-verb like yo quiero) is played horizontally and starts a new row. If a player does not have a domino that she can play, she draws a domino from the pile and misses her turn.
The object of the game is to get rid of all your dominoes. Keep playing until someone has no dominoes left or until no one can play. If no one can play, the person with the fewest dominoes wins.
Adding Context to Spanish Verb Games
Of course, this game is more effective if you use the verbs in sentences and reinforce their meaning. Spanish verb games should not stand on their own. Any focus on conjugation should have a context so the conjugation makes sense.
For example, you can reinforce the meaning of the words in Spanish verb games like this one with a short paragraph. These are not exciting stories, but they serve to remind students that the words mean something. You can have students draw a quick illustration of the paragraph or answer questions after you read it together.
These are paragraphs I used to give context to the the verbs in the game, and I intentionally grouped the conjugations. The paragraphs are very basic and you can probably think of something more interesting! The verbs in the game are in italics. There is a printable version of these paragraphs with the domino game download below.
Yo vivo con mi familia. Tengo un gato y quiero un perro también. Hablo mucho con mi mamá del perro. No escucho bien cuando ella me dice que no.
Tú vas a la piscina en el verano, ¿verdad? Allí saltas al agua y nadas mucho. Juegas con tus amigos y comes un helado. ¡Qué divertido!
Sofía es una niña tranquila. Está en su casa. Todo el día, ella canta y mira la televisión. Duerme bien por la noche.
Mi hermana y yo visitamos a mis abuelos en la granja. Corremos mucho en la granja, pero caminamos en la casa. Por la noche, bailamos a la música de la radio y leemos libros.
Carmen y Miguel viajan a Perú este verano. Por eso, estudian español y trabajan mucho para aprenderlo. Por la noche, beben café y escriben oraciones en español.
More Spanish Verb Games
If you are looking for more practice with verb conjugations, try this paper basketball Spanish verb practice. These cut-and-paste activities with Spanish -er -ir verbs are also a great way to reinforce verb endings. You can find the same cut-and-paste Spanish verb conjugation activity for -ar verbs here.
Spanish Verb Games Dominoes Download
Match the Conjugations Spanish Verb Dominoes
Short paragraphs with the verbs used in the domino game.
Verbs are an essential part of learning language, and Spanish verb games make mastering conjugation much more fun. What Spanish verb games do you do in your classes? Share your favorite activity here or join our conversation on Facebook or Twitter. We share lots of great ideas and we would love to include yours!