5 Fun Activities to Easily Teach Emotions in Spanish 😁😮😠😒😀

Today’s lesson includes printables and instructions for how to teach emotions in Spanish! This lesson is for the second chapter of the first workbook I’ve created. We continue using high-frequency verbs (está, quiere, and va) and emotions during these lessons. I have a variety of activities (more than 5 now🙌) including stories, conversation, and games with parent instructions.

Download the free printables and instructions here:

How I Taught My Kids the Emotions in Spanish

We finished up with the last chapter by describing the pictures in ¿Cómo es tu mamá? by Rosanela Álvarez and Yasushi Muraki and completing Chapter 1 in the mini-workbook. We also played a game of Memoria matching the Spanish words to the English translation. Download the flashcards pdf here to play Memoria. I printed the cards on regular paper and then laminated them for durability. They should still work without laminating, though.

playing a game to practice descriptive words and family in Spanish
Memoria to practice Spanish vocabulary for family, descriptive words, and the bedroom.
story with reading activities to practice family, descriptive words, high frequency verbs, the house, and emotions in Spanish
This is the mini-workbook that has a story with four chapters and reading activities to practice descriptive words, family, the house, high-frequency verbs, and emotions in Spanish.

Then we started Chapter 2’s vocabulary with TPR for voy, quiero, estoy triste, and estoy contento/a. We point to ourselves to indicate the yo form (I form), use ASL signs for “go” and “want”, frown face for “sad” and smile big for “happy.”

The boys and I made flashcards and used them for a little bit of TPR with me saying the words in Spanish and them pointing to the corresponding flashcards. I love Aidan’s flashcards for emotions – they’re even multicultural which he did on his own!

emotions in spanish flashcards
Our flashcards grouped by emotion.
aidan's flashcards with emotions in spanish
Aidan’s flashcards

After we did the PQA está section, I showed a picture book about a brother and sister and then asked questions using está. There were lots of different emotions shown in the book, so I asked questions like ¿Está contento el hermano? ¿Cómo está la hermana? ¿Está el hermano nervioso o triste? ¿Está la hermana en su dormitorio o en el parque? I didn’t read any of the actual story but just focused on the pictures and asking questions about the emotions and locations of the characters on each page.

When Aidan and I did the PQA quiere section, I stuck with the script and talked about wanting to go to the park with my friend, wanting to play soccer, etc. Aidan responded with he doesn’t want to go to the park because he wants to go to Emerald City Comic Con.

I adjusted the questions to ask about Comic Con instead of the park to make it interesting for him. For example, I said, “Quiero ir al parque con mi amigo. ¿Quieres ir a Emerald City Comic Con con tu amigo?” So if your kids don’t want to go to the park, it’s very easy to still use the script and just change the place.

Our Stories

At the end of the quiere section for PQA, there is an outline to restate the kids’ answers. Here is an example of Aidan’s answers:

Aidan está triste. Aidan quiere ir a Emerald City Comic Con. Aidan quiere ir a Emerald City Comic Con con su amigo Fred. (I’m changing names of people outside of our family.) Aidan quiere comer m&m’s con James de Odd1sOut en Emerald City Comic Con. Aidan quiere jugar a Subnautica con su amigo Fred también.

We also talked about what we want to eat, and I used some cognates like pizza and panqueques (I love saying this word!). We then talked about where we want to go to eat these and if he wants to make the pancakes or just wants to eat them.

There is also a script and outline to make a little story with this vocabulary. You can continue from the story you started in Chapter 1 or start with a new character. I asked Aidan if he wanted to continue our story about Poco, and he said yes. I asked the questions about Poco and we both learned a new word: el acantilado (the cliff). When I asked where Poco is, Aidan said on a cliff, and he is sad. Hmmmm, this is getting a little intense.

Turns out, Poco is just sad because he wants to eat m&m’s and fish which are at the grocery store far from him and the cliff is in the way. Whew.

I frequently asked the boys, “What did I just say in English?” to make sure they understood what I was saying. This is good to do because when we started the lesson, there were some misunderstandings. By the end, they were able to translate the questions/statements correctly.

Using the outline (with a few added details), here is what I have for our Poco story:

Poco está en un acantilado. Poco es un gato. Poco es blanco y negro. Poco está triste y está en un acantilado. Poco quiere comer m&m’s* pero no tiene m&m’s. Los m&m’s están en el supermercado. Poco quiere ir al supermercado. Poco salta (jumps) del acantilado y va al supermercado. Poco está en el supermercado y tiene m&m’s. Poco está contento.

*Hopefully this is obvious to everyone, but this is just a silly story and we would *never* let our cat eat m&m’s or any other product with chocolate as it’s lethal for kitties.

I let Aidan use “cliff” and “he jumps” because he really wanted to, and at this point, he doesn’t know a lot of words. I typically tell my students, though, we have to use words they know and not add new stuff.

Alex’s story was going nowhere. He didn’t want to continue a story with Poco, so we started a story about Mickey Mouse and his clubhouse. I asked the questions in the outline, and Alex was giving complicated, crazy answers like Mickey is a spy and is stalking people. I didn’t think I’d be able to make a story with the outline and was frustrated at first. But then I thought who cares? Even if we weren’t able to make a story, he was hearing Spanish from me asking questions and repetition of the Spanish is the most important part, not making a story.

I finally got enough crazy answers out of him that I was able to simplify it into a story. I typed both boys’ stories and made a couple of reading activities for them. One is a Kahoot. If you have an account (or want to make one – they’re free), search for fosternm (my account) and Poco y Mickey (name of the Kahoot).

Here are the stories and activities to download:

A Game for Emotions in Spanish

I played the game with Aidan and just did the game as a listening activity for Alex. For Aidan, I put 30 seconds on the timer. I said the sentence in Spanish, started the timer, and if he found the right translation on his paper before the timer ran out, he got a point. If the timer ran out, I got a point. 30 seconds was way too much time after the first few sentences, but having him beat the timer made the game work with just one person.

I’m starting to talk to them a little bit in Spanish with the vocabulary throughout the day also. For instance, Aidan did something not funny but said he was funny.

Me: No eres cómico.

Aidan: Am too!

Me, feeling irritated with what he did but thinking: Yay! He understood me!

If you’re learning Spanish with your kids and not sure how to pronounce words, google translate and wordreference.com have many words with sound so you can hear the pronunciation. Google translate is especially helpful with conjugated verbs like quiere, va, and está. Please be careful using it for translations, though; it has “will” for the translation of va, and that’s not correct.

What I Learned

PQA for each verb takes way longer with my kids than when I’m teaching my high school students. I have no idea why since I usually have 32 kids in a class. In my instructions and pacing guide, I’ve suggested completing PQA in one day. That has not happened at all with my kids. We’re able to get through one verb phrase a day. This is totally fine because I’m not on a schedule with them like when I’m teaching my high school classes.

It’s been a long time since I taught Spanish 1, so I’m remembering how slowly I need to go for them to understand me. By the time kids get to Spanish 2, they have heard the words on the word wall for a year and pretty much know them, so we only need to focus on the new words in the unit. New learners know nothing obviously, so I have to say a word while pointing at the word on the word wall or the vocabulary list, let them process it, and then move to the next word in the question/sentence. And maybe that’s why this is taking so much longer than I thought it would….

Do you know anyone who wants to teach their kids emotions in Spanish or high-frequency verbs to be able to speak Spanish? Feel free to share with the buttons on the left!

Are your kids giving you crazy, complicated answers too? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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