How to Learn Spanish: Use Fun Activities Like a Puzzle in Spanish 🧩

“No, oh no” is what I heard from my kids when I suggested making the puzzle in Spanish more challenging. This puzzle is a hands-on activity for kids to practice high-frequency vocabulary in Spanish and is included with 5 free activities to keep kids interested in learning the most useful Spanish words so they can speak more Spanish.               

The high-frequency verbs for this lesson are podemos, mira, and sale. This is the second chapter of my second workbook, and the lessons will continue to include high-frequency verbs to help kids communicate more effectively.

This lesson builds on the previous lesson, so I highly suggest starting here if you haven’t completed previous lessons yet. I’ve also included links to videos with listening practice.

Download the FREE printables and instructions here:

5. Video – Conversation Practice

7. Video Describing Pictures

9. Video – Alan Short Story

spanish short story puzzle in spanish
the booklet and puzzle for this lesson

How I Taught My Kids Spanish

We started with Total Physical Response and used ASL signs for the actions for mira and sale. After doing the individual actions a few times, I used the TPR script so the boys could act out what they heard.  Aidan was so funny with his actions! One of the actions is to leave a room as a cat. So he said, “meow, meow, bleh (like he was throwing up), meow” mimicking our cat (who throws up all the time).

Another action was to leave a different room as a dog. He got on his hands and knees on the floor then lifted his leg like a dog at a fire hydrant. Totally unexpected which made it even funnier! 😂

Then we had conversation using the PQA script. I’ve enjoyed doing this part of the lesson with the boys because we have some one-on-one time together, and I learn more about them. Aidan and I talked about who he watches on YouTube and why Aidan watches these YouTubers.

While having the conversation, I usually take out the generic references like amigo and replace them with names to help the boys connect with the questions better. And instead of saying tu familia, I said tu papá or mi amiga for talking about who I go out with.

There were a few times Aidan just stared at me after I asked a question because he didn’t know what I was saying. I asked him a yes/no question to help him understand. or No questions are really good when you ask a question and kids are having trouble answering.

This video has listening practice for PQA, and this video has listening practice with short descriptions of pictures.

mini story example read in spanish
I used the PQA script to create a story with the boys and then typed the story for them to read.

Reading

At the end of the PQA script is a mini-story outline which can be a great activity for both listening and reading. Asking the kids questions to create the story and restating their answers is great listening practice and then writing the story is great reading practice. I have included the story we created as an example and/or another reading activity for you and your kids. The printable is called “Mini Story Example“.

If you are using the mini-story scripts that I provide in each lesson to create your own stories with your kids, and you’re using the stories I’ve provided in each post, you can start to create your own Spanish library. I have printed up our stories and put them in a binder for the kids to read.

Aidan loves the Choose Your Own Adventure™ books, and we have a ton! (Thank you, Goodwill!) I’m a pretty big fan too since you get to choose what’s going to happen next. Well, except for the endings where you die. What’s up with putting that in a kid’s book?

Anyway, I have made warm-up activities for my classes where they read a short description about a picture and then choose what happens next. I’ve been wanting to create short stories where kids can choose what happens next, and I’m súper excited to introduce my first one in this post! I’m calling these stories ¿Qué pasará? which means “What will happen?” since Choose Your Own Adventure™ is trademarked.

It’s a little booklet with four endings and has a parent guide with some questions to ask. We read one new path each day. Aidan really liked it and drew pictures for his favorite path. I made a video with his pictures and me telling the story in Spanish for a listening resource.

spanish short stories with parent guide
This is the ¿Qué pasará? booklet with the parent guide that has comprehension questions.

After finishing the ¿Qué pasará? booklet, we read Chapter 2 of the workbook and completed the activity. We still need to complete the Sobre de mí (All about Me) activity.

Puzzle in Spanish

Our last reading activity was the puzzle! I saw this blog post by a Spanish teacher named Martina Bex about making puzzles to practice reading. I thought this would be fun especially for kids who like puzzles and/or hands-on activities.

I was going to make two versions. I created the first puzzle with a border made from shapes and then thought about making a second puzzle with a border made from random phrases in Spanish that didn’t match anything so it would be more challenging.

After watching Aidan put the one with a border together and seeing how challenging that was, I told him my idea. That’s when he said, “No, oh no. This is challenging enough.” 😂 I decided to just make the one puzzle.

puzzle in spanish
This is the partially-completed puzzle.

Flashcards and Movie Talk

If you’ve seen my other posts, you might notice that I didn’t include flashcards with this lesson. There just wasn’t much extra vocabulary so no need for the flashcards. If your kids are like mine and like playing Memoria (Memory) and Peces (Go Fish), using flashcards from previous lessons is a great way to keep practicing vocabulary!

I also normally have a Movie Talk available for listening and reading practice. I found a great video with a spy and a pigeon, but still need to create the activity for it.

What I learned

Be really specific with the instructions for the TPR script before starting. I didn’t tell Aidan to keep doing the action at first, so he only did the action once. When I asked the questions, I was afraid he would start translating the vocabulary in the past tense since the action had already happened. Sure enough, he did! After the first action, I told him to repeat the action 3 times so I could ask the questions while he was acting and keep everything in the present tense.

My kids don’t really like to do PQA (the conversation part) which is a bummer because it’s my favorite part of the lesson with my students. When kids are creative, it’s. so. fun! But, apparently, my kids have to think too much so they don’t enjoy it. Yikes. It’s a necessary part of them learning Spanish, though, so we’re not going to stop. If your kids feel the same, cutting back on how many questions you ask is fine but don’t skip it completely.

Using different types of activities like acting, games, and reading can help kids learn Spanish. The more they read and listen to Spanish the sooner they’ll be able to start speaking and communicating in Spanish! Especially because I’ve included the most-commonly used vocabulary in these activities.

Did you do this lesson or know anyone who wants to teach their kids using hands-on activities like a puzzle in Spanish? Please share with the buttons on the left!

Did your kids think the puzzle was challenging? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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