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Fun Activities for Spanish Class - High School Spanish Class Activities and Games
Fun Activities in the Spanish Classroom
I remember getting that plaster mixture all over my hands, clothes, and, of course, specks in my hair, when my students and I would spend three days making piñatas in Spanish class. My students aren’t the only ones who, now nearly 15 years later, still remember those days as some of the most fun times in the Spanish classroom. As a teacher, I can vouch that we remember and appreciate that stuff, too.
Beating up piñatas isn’t the only fun thing I remember. We would watch a video to learn how to do the Mexican Hat Dance—and then try to emulate it. We may never have become great dancers, but we sure had fun laughing at each other while trying to learn.
We chilled out and had fun together at times with potlucks of Mexican food, much of it quite authentic. We had Cinco de Mayo parties. On slower days, we would go outside to play soccer—or fútbol, Spain's national sport, a pastime that is becoming more popular in America, as well.
There are plenty of humdrum days in any classroom. Working in some fun days is imperative, I think, in keeping students interested in learning. And sometimes their brains just need a break, as does the teacher's.
Fun Activities for Spanish Class
Just a few ideas . . .
Christmas (Navidad) party
have Mexican food potlucks
Cinco de Mayo party
learn Mexican Hat (or other) dance
skits with classmates
play Simon Says
create a Spanish club
take a trip
As I mentioned, piñatas were one of our favorite times all year. I learned how to make piñatas from the Spanish teacher where I student taught, and I carried on the tradition with my own classes the next year. This activity gave us a few fun days of working in groups to create something. It was messy, creative, and we had a blast.
To make our piñatas, we would first blow up balloons in the shape of the animal, object, or whatever form. We would tear up newspaper into strips, dip them into a Plaster of Paris (or flour) and water mix, and wrap them around the balloons. We would do one layer the first day, let it dry, then add a couple more layers the second day. Those days were probably the most fun of the whole project. On the third day, the students would decorate--with crepe paper, tissue paper, and whatever else they came up with. Here are more detailed instructions on how to make a piñata.
We made the piñatas every year in preparation for our Cinco do Mayo party. Students left openings in the piñatas for inserting candy. Fially, we would hang them from the ceiling and take turns being blindfolded and striking them with a stick. Just like you see on TV, the kids would dive onto the floor for the candy that fell from inside.
Eat Mexican (or Spanish, Latin) foods
Sampling different foods in Spanish class is always fun. As a teacher, you can get creative with assigned projects, assigning students to bring popular dishes from different Spanish-speaking countries. The dishes don't have to be limited to Mexican foods, which are most likely more familiar. Students can expand their horizons, so to speak, by trying popular foods from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.
In our class, one of the girls would bring homemade guacamole and pans of mouth-watering enchiladas made by her father, who was born and raised in Mexico.
We all looked forward to this for the years that she was enrolled in Spanish, all of us supplementing the meal with various items.
One thing I made was a green chili dish with tomatillos and pork, a dish that I still make to this day, only now without the pork (it's easier).
Create a Spanish Club
There was no active Spanish club when I started teaching at my school. This was unfortunate, I thought, as I had enjoyed taking a field trip out of town with the Spanish Club where I had interned. With my own students, we traveled only 30 minutes away, but we enjoyed a show of Flamenco dancing at the Walton Arts Center and a meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant afterwards.
Our club met periodically, mostly to plan our trip or to have potlucks! It was an excuse to bring my classes together in a fun way.
Simple Lesson for the Mexican Hat Dance
Enjoy cultural games and activities
Whether preparing for a party or just filling up some class time to have a little fun, my students and I enjoyed some activities to help us appreciate culture, or so we told ourselves. Oh, we had a lot of fun laughing at ourselves trying to follow a video of the Mexican Hat Dance.
And what’s the favorite sport in many Spanish-speaking countries? Soccer, right? My students loved blowing off some steam by going outside at the end of the hallway to split up into teams and play some “fútbol.”
Parties and Celebrations
We celebrated a few holidays in my classes, mainly one in the fall—Christmas—and one in the spring—Cinco de Mayo.
For Christmas, we prepared by singing songs in Spanish, songs I would display on the overhead projector: Felíz Navidad and Cáscabelas (Jingle Bells), to name a few. We even caroled up and down the halls outside different classrooms with our tunes. We drew names for exchanging gifts, brought snacks, and partied on the final day before Christmas break.
For Cinco de Mayo, we studied the history of the holiday before we planned our class celebration. For that party, we would make our piñatas, fill them with candy, and wait for them to dry before the party. We would hang them all, blindfold each other, and strike those piñatas with a stick to break them open for the candy. We enjoyed our potluck of Mexican foods that everyone brought. I’m sure when former students remember my class, they remember the parties.
Take and Describe Pictures
My Spanish classes weren’t all fun and games, but I did try to incorporate interesting activities into the lesson plans whenever I could.
Since I liked taking pictures—and did of all my classes, I would take photos of my students in small groups. I would give them the printed photos to glue on cardboard, and I then would have them write descriptions of themselves or each other around the pictures—in Spanish, of course. Then they would have to use the language by speaking aloud to describe the photos to their classmates.
Learn vocabulary with Bingo
We played a lot of Spanish Bingo, too, or Lotería! I had a kit with different themed cards. If we were learning names of animals, for example, I would call out the name in Spanish, such as "gato," and the students would cover the corresponding picture--in this case, a cat--on their cards.
Playing Bingo was a great way to learn vocabulary, and I gave the winners candy, so there was interest in doing well, too!
Simon Says, anyone?
When learning commands, we played Simon says, or Simón Dice. I would give commands in Spanish, such as "Raise your right hand." Just like in the English version, students would have to listen for Simon's command before they could respond. This game was a great way to learn verbs, body parts, and directions.
Create and Perform Skits
For many sections, I would assign group skits on certain topics. Students would have to incorporate the unit’s vocabulary into conversations with each other.
Getting up in front of the class like this made many of the students nervous, but they did pretty well and seemed to enjoy laughing at themselves and each other.
And For the First Day of Class . . .
- How to Begin Teaching Spanish - First Day of Class Activities
How do you begin to teach Spanish? How do you set up your classroom? What lessons do you start with? How do you even start? Here are some ideas for how to prepare for and start teaching the Spanish language.
Creative Spanish Curriculum
Incorporating fun activities into the Spanish curriculum can make learning the language more enjoyable for students. Check out The Creative Language Class for more ways to make learning Spanish fun!