My kids grew up playing all kinds of Spanish word games. One of my favorites was definitely Bananagrams. It was the first game we took to play with my son-in-law’s family in Peru, and we still have a wonderful time playing when we spend Christmas there. Bananagrams in Spanish is available on Amazon.
The physical game itself, the set of tiles with letters, is one of the most versatile Spanish word games I own. These are a few of the reasons I love the little white squares:
- The selection of letters accurately represents the letter distribution in Spanish and makes it easy to form words. In addition to having the Spanish letters, the percentage of vowels is much higher than in English.
- The tiles make Spanish hands-on. Children connect with the sound of language differently when they can handle the letters and rearrange them as they play Spanish word games.
- The game is virtually indestructible.
- The tiles are small, the perfect size for little hands. (Remember, Bananagrams is not for children under 3 years of age.)
- The weight, shape, and smooth texture makes the tiles very fun to handle. Kids love to play with them!
- The tiles slide and stack, making it easy to play a variety of Spanish word games and do a range of activities.
- You can take Bananagrams anywhere.
Playing Bananagrams with Spanish Learners
The game Bananagrams, played according to the instructions, is a excellent game for Spanish learners who have acquired a base vocabulary to draw on. For beginning learners, try some of the other Spanish word games I suggest below.
Bananagrams depends on flexibility, on being able to use up your letters and draw more (forcing your opponent to draw more, too).
- Help Spanish language learners with this strategy by reminding them of all the two letter words they know. They can use up their letters by adding a consonant or vowel to their letters to form a word and be able to draw again. They can then rearrange the letters into longer words.
- You may want to write out a list of two letter words to help them: le, lo, la , te, mi, tu, de, en , al, si, no, fe, se, su, da, de, di, ha, he, ni, ti, ya, yo
- Remind players that the names of letters are words in Spanish: ene, pe, eme, be, ce, ge, etc.
- Even if you’re not playing competitively, this strategy of making short words will help them participate. It will also keep them thinking about syllables which will help them form other words.
- Remind more advanced learners to use verb tenses and moods. They may want to make the verb form toma, for example, but not have an a. Remind them that tome (and tomé) are also words.
- Modify the rules to make the game fun. Draw fewer letters, work together, or play until someone makes 5 words. There are many Spanish word games you can play with these tiles.
More Spanish Word Games with Bananagrams
There are lots of Spanish word games you can play with younger kids and language learners of any age. Try these options and adapt them to the number and ages of the players. If you are playing with preschoolers, there are other suggestions below.
- Play with the pile face up, so players can draw letters that help them.
- Work together to form words instead of playing a competitive game.
- Play that the first person to make 5 words wins.
- Play that the words do not have to connect.
- Choose a winning word to make. Start with 7 tiles. Alternate drawing letters, always discarding after you draw. The first to make the word wins.
- Use the tiles face up to play ahorcado (hangman).
- Make words for things you can see in the room. They do not have to connect. Place the tiles face up and draw at will. The first to make 3 or 5 words wins.
- Play a vowel race. Give each player the 5 vowels. Place the tiles face up and draw at will. The first to make a word that contains each vowel or the first to make 3 words that start with different vowels, wins.
- Say words for kids to spell. Let them tell you words and spell them.
- Play ¿Qué palabra es? Make a word and leave one letter (or two) face down. The other player guesses the word.
- Work together with 10 or 15 letters to make as many words as possible. You will want to list the words on paper as you form them so you remember what you have made. You can do this with different sets of letters and then switch to see who can make more words with the different sets.
- Each player draws 7 tiles. One person plays a word (and draws from the pile to replace her letters). The next player makes a word crossword-puzzle style off the first word and then removes the unused letters from the first word. Playing this way there is always just one word to play off and no obstacles. It is a great game for language learners.
- Make a 5-letter word, a 4-letter word, a 3-letter word, a 2-letter word and a 1-letter word. The words are not connected.
- Make a word and stack the tiles with the first letter on top. Kids try to guess the word as you reveal the letters one by one.
Spanish Word Games for Preschoolers with Bananagrams
- Stack, build and make patterns with the tiles. Name the letters as you do.
- Sort and stack the tiles by letter.
- Put the tiles in alphabetical order. Separate the set before you start.
- Say the letter name and slide the tiles to each other, or try to slide them into a circle on the table (you can use chalk, tape, whatever works for your surface). You can use letters from a specific word or random letters.
- Start with all the letters face up and say the letter names as you turn them face down. Do variations such as turning and saying them as fast as possible, or saying a word that starts with the letter as you turn it.
- Drop the tiles into a glass or bowl of water and say the letter names.
- Put the tiles into a clear plastic bottle and add rice. Turn the bottle to reveal the tiles and name the letters.
- Play with the tiles in the bathtub. Line them up on the edge and say the letters or make simple words.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. I may have been compensated for my time. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.