Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


5 Traditional Games to Play OUTSIDE with your Elementary Spanish Students

THE WEATHER IS WARMING UP and all of us would love to be are some traditional, authentic games you can play in short bursts of time (so many of us have short class periods) with the whole class and little prep and minimal rules to explain.

5 Traditional Spanish Children's Games to Play Outdoors

*GATO Y RATÓN: This tag style game most likely comes in many variations; this one is from Puerto Rico. Children stand in a circle, holding hands. One student is inside the circle (el ratón) while a second student is outside (el gato). The object of the game is for the gato to catch the ratón, while the circle tries to keep the ratón safe by attempting to keep the gato from entering the circle. Once the gato enters the circle, the ratón may exit to try and escape, whereupon the gato chases him. I have altered the ending slightly from the original game, putting a time limit on the chase so more kiddos can have a turn.

Here is a video of preschoolers playing 'Gato y Ratón' so you can visualize it:

*¡UNO, DOS, TRES CALABAZA!: Much like 'Red Light, Green Light' one kiddo stands at a distance with his/her back to the group. He/she calls out 'Uno, dos, tres,'- while doing so, the rest of the kids quickly and quietly try to run up and tag him/her. (I allow speed walking, no running). The caller can say the numbers slowly or quickly, but when he shouts '¡Calabaza!' everyone must freeze. He/she turns around and anyone still moving has to go back to the starting line. Game continues until someone tags the caller. That person now is the caller, and the game starts again.

*BETO, BETO DÍME EL ALFABETO: This is a fun jumprope chant which has the added benefit of reviewing the alphabet! The object is to try and jumprope all the way through the alphabet. Kiddos can have their own jumpropes or you can have two kiddos swing the rope and one jumps in the middle. Borrow jumpropes from the gym teacher so everyone can participate at the same time. Simply chant the alphabet from your 'go' signal!

*A LA VÍBORA DE LA MAR: Similar to London Bridges, two kiddos form an arch, one being 'melón' and the other 'sandía'. The rest of the class forms a line and weaves their way through the arch while the song is sung (I usually only sing the first verse with kiddos to keep the game moving). At the last 'tras' the arch comes down and whomever is captured must choose either 'melón' o 'sandía'. Whichever they choose, that child then forms an arch behind the original kiddo with that fruit (so, now you have TWO arches). The game starts again, with the line now 'snaking' through the first arch and then the second, until another kiddo is captured, who then again picks a fruit and forms yet another arch and so on until you end the game or everyone has been captured. Click here for a link on Youtube for the tune. TIP: Since the line may snake through the arch(es) multiple times before you get to 'tras', use cones or other markers to delineate a path for the line to take. Also, I use a plastic cantaloupe and watermelon to remind kiddos of the vocabulary, placing them next to the two original arch holders.

*A LA RUEDA DE SAN MIGUEL: This circle game is fun to play with littles! Kids form a circle all facing inward, holding hands, with one kiddo in the center. As you sing the song, the kids walk around in a circle until the last stanza, where the kid in the center fills in a name of a classmate. That kiddo turns around, still holding hands with those on either side, but facing outside. The game continues until everyone is facing outward. Depending on how many students you have, I recommend having two kids' names called at a time, rather than just one, to make the game move a little more quickly. With 18-20 kids in a Kinder class, I find mine get a little tired after so many rounds. Here's the tune on Youtube!


  1. They also love playing "juguemos en el bosque."

    1. Dear Ana,
      Another great game to play! Thank you for reminding me!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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