The Benefits of Play
Playing keeps us young. It also helps keep us interested and engaged, two characteristics well worth encouraging in your students. Although a Spanish guessing game might not fill your entire lesson plan, it makes a great treat. You can also use the play can to encourage participation, cater to different learning styles or just to wake everyone up. Guessing games, in particular, lend themselves to the quiz and take-home formats. This makes Spanish guessing games a good tool for reinforcing lessons on important events or people in a nation’s past, as well as a way of testing your students' comprehension.
And, as always, these exercises can be easily adapted into any language; they’re not limited to Spanish learners alone.
Adapting this into a relevant Spanish guessing game for beginners takes a little preparation, but it’s worth it. Secure between five and twenty items that represent vocabulary words or concepts recently learned–country flags, model trucks, a brochure from a hotel, and so on. Tuck them into various visible, but not necessarily obvious, locations around the room before your students arrive. You can even leave them there for a few days, if you like, giving interested and alert students a chance to note their location before you continue the activity.
Once you’re ready to continue, either have your students number a blank sheet of paper to correspond with the number of hidden items, or hand out a pre-printed, pre-numbered sheet. Stand at the front of the class and begin, “Yo veo…” (I see) then give your clue for the first item. For example if you’ve recently placed a new globe somewhere in the classroom, you might give a clue like “Yo veo el mundo entero.” (I see the whole world.) Give the students plenty of time to look around and write down what they think is the correct answer (in this case, el globo or un globo) before moving on to the next question. Collect answer sheets at the end of the exercise and assign points as appropriate.
Animal, Vegetal, Mineral?
“Animal, Vegetable, Mineral”, “Twenty Questions” and “Who am I?” are other classic games you can easily turn into a Spanish guessing game. In most cases you’ll be the one giving clues while the students take turns asking questions to figure out who or what you are, although you can also have individual students pick something or someone that they recently learned about or read about in class materials and try to stump the class.
All three games are similar, but there are a few differences:
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Give students a set number of questions they can ask before having to guess what you are. Except for the first question, which is traditionally “Are you an animal, a vegetable or a mineral?”, all other questions must be answerable with a yes or a no. Obviously, your choices of what to “be” for this game are limited to animals, vegetables and minerals.
Twenty Questions: Just like Animal, Vegetable, Mineral except that the students are automatically limited to twenty questions before guessing, your choices of what to “be” aren’t limited, and all questions must be answerable with a yes or no. So multiple-option questions like “Are you an animal, a vegetable or a mineral?” are not allowed, but asking, “Are you alive?” or “Are you smaller than a breadbox?” is okay.
Who am I?: You select a famous character from history–ideally a Spanish speaker, or someone key in the history of a Spanish country–and your students try to guess who you are. They can ask you anything that’s answerable with yes or no, and you have to answer truthfully.
This post is part of the series: Play Your Way Into a New Language: Spanish Board Games and Other Tricks
Games help keep young students and adult learners engaged and interested. This series looks at Spanish board games, word games, chalkboard games, and other fun activities to include in your lesson plans.