Tener (to have) is one of the most common verbs in Spanish. You can model the use of tengo (I have) and tienes (you have) with many activities and daily interactions.
The game “war” in which two players turn over cards and the player with the higher card keeps both is an excellent way to use the verb tener. The context makes the meaning of the verb clear, and there is lots of repetition.
When you turn over the cards say:
Tengo un tres. Tienes un ocho. / I have a three. You have an eight.
Tengo un diez. ¿Qué tienes? Tienes un cinco. / I have a ten. What do you have? You have a five.
When you are done playing, count who has more cards.
¿Cuántas cartas tienes? / How many cards do you have?
Yo tengo viente cartas. Tú tienes treinta y dos cartas. / I have twenty cards. You have thirty two cards.
Tú tienes más. Tú ganas. / You have more. You win.
Tengo más. Yo gano. / I have more. I win.
The name of the face cards varies from country to country, but these terms are used in much of Latin America:
an ace – un as
a king – un rey
a queen – una reina
a jack – una jota
Point to yourself when you use tengo (I have) and to your child when you use tienes (you have) to clarify the change in subject.
You can use a simple Spanish sentence to comment on what each of you have, or you can ask a question, and then answer it with your child. Use tener in situations like these:
At the table:
Yo tengo agua. Tú tienes agua también. / I have water. You have water too.
As you are getting ready to go outside:
Tengo mis zapatos. ¿Tienes tus zapatos? Sí, tienes tus zapatos. / I have my shoes. Do you have your shoes? Yes, you have your shoes.
When you are going to read together:
Tengo un libro. ¿Tienes un libro? Sí, ¡tienes dos libros! / I have a book. Do you have a book? Yes, you have two books!
Looking in the mirror:
Yo tengo ojos de color café. Tú tienes ojos azules. / I have brown eyes. You have blue eyes.