I believe kids should be exposed to world languages from a young age, and that exposure is possible no matter where you live. As the mom to 5 emerging bilingual kids, and as a Spanish teacher, I am asked for my favorite Spanish games and apps from readers, friends, and students. Will playing Spanish games or apps make you fluent? Not in isolation. BUT they are a great way to learn new vocabulary, and practice reading, writing, spelling, or grammar. Here is a list of Spanish games and apps, their recommended ages, and the skills they focus on. In the descriptions, you’ll see if it is created for Spanish learners or if it’s better for bilingual kids who would just like to practice their Spanish.
Spanish Games & Apps for Toddlers & Preschoolers
This is a very simple concept (as far a s Spanish games go:). There’s a cute little barn bouncing around, and you hear an animal noise. Tap the doors and out pops the farm animal. I am told that toddlers love it, and they learn some animal names in Spanish. My 18 month old son is too little (or is he? The reviews mention children as young as 16 months enjoying this!).
A little boy named Carlos teaches kids new vocabulary in Spanish: animals, clothes, colors, fruit, numbers, school items, shapes, toys and transportation. Kids pop bubbles to learn new words.
The Spanish games in this app are pure vocabulary practice: food, animals, numbers, parts of the body, and more. Aimee from Raising World Citizens shares that her kids really enjoying playing Gus on the Go. This app is great for little kids or beginners who just want to start by learning some easy vocabulary in Spanish.
Spanish Games & Apps for Elementary School Kids
Pacca is an alpaca from the Andes that travels to faraway Australia. You can choose in which of the 5 languages to play, and learn vocabulary related to colors, numbers, shapes. Maria from Trilingual Mama highly recommends this Pacca Alpaca. This app is unique in that in focuses on Australian culture, animals, and landscape- which inspires kids to learn more about the world while practicing their Spanish!
My kids have always loved this simple app. The user must feed the monster according to its desires, while practicing colors, shapes, counting, math, time, patterns, weight/size, reading, rhyming, sounds, opposites, feelings, comparisons, and much more (all in Spanish!).
If you’re just picking one Spanish app, this might be my favorite for kids who want to learn and practice vocabulary. It’s simple but fun, (and FREE), and the 300 words included really are the most commonly used nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Besides videos, there are also prizes from the games to keep track of progress (and a certificate if you complete all levels).
There are 5 sweet stories read aloud of kids, with colorful illustrations that can be downloaded to any device. The user does not need to know how to read, and users can listen to the stories over and over to better their listening comprehension.
Beth, from iGameMom recommends StudyCat. Each of the different lessons presents the vocabulary (colors, animals, numbers, body parts, fruits, food, clothes, vehicles, house items, sea animals) in different contexts, and then has 6 or more separate Spanish games to practice the vocabulary. Aimed at ages 3-10, any beginner learners can play these easy games.
Jennifer Brunk from Spanish Playground recommends these learning-to-read Spanish games. While kids learning English often begin with sight words, teaching kids to read in Spanish always begins by teaching syllable chunks. Since Spanish is a phonetic language, these Spanish games that break the words into syllables is the natural way to begin reading and spelling.
Like many kids who are bilingual but haven’t taken any classes in their second language, my kids need practice reading and in our case, especially writing. This is a neat way to practice spelling beginning level vocabulary with the typical topics such as colors, clothing, animals, food, and others.
Download 13 different classic stories to be read in Spanish (or many other languages) with fabulous illustrations, and even multicultural characters! Love these sweet stories, and love that my kids can listen to different Spanish speakers tell their favorite fairytales. This is great for kids who already have a foundation in Spanish.
Jennifer of Spanish Playground and Julie from Mundo de Pepita both recommend the app developer Santillana for their multiple reading apps in Spanish. These are best utilized by kids who already know Spanish:
- Visual Encyclopedia of Questions: Countries, Religions, and Cultures of the World (for all ages)
- Oto and the Doctor (ages 3-5)
- Mica: ¡Ya no lloro! (ages 3-5)
- Lina’s Little Car (ages 3-5)
This super-cute Spanish and English app introduces Mexican artist extraordinaire Frida Kahlo. If your kids speak Spanish, they can practice while learning about Frida; but if they haven’t learned enough Spanish yet, they can play in English and still get a healthy dose of kid-friendly culture. Thanks for introducing it to us Mundo de Pepita!
This app can be easily used for upper elementary students who already know some Spanish, but also has been listed as a must-have for Middle and High Schoolers. Unlike most flashcard-type Spanish games, Spanish Stagecraft has users manipulating images to match the sentences that they hear. The sound is not 100% (see video), but the concept is unique, and I haven’t seen a lot of listening comprehension and authentic language learning in other Spanish games or apps.
Catharyn from Sol Azucar suggests the Mr. Potato Head app: “I used it “with my first year high school students to practice speaking and listening with body parts vocabulary, commands, and prepositions of location. Students are encouraged to be creative in giving directions in Spanish about where their peers should put each of the Mr. Potato Head electronic body parts. This can be really funny!”
Several Spanish teachers and parents raising bilingual kids suggested these interactive fairytales. I hadn’t heard of them before, but LOVED the illustrations. Really high-quality for an app, and truly artistic.
Great game for kids learning to read and write 150 simple words in Spanish. There are 3 different levels of difficulty, and several different styles of games (puzzles, making pairs, spelling, letter scramble) for kids to enjoy.
If you ask my daughter Vivi which app is her favorite, it is definitely these animal-themed Spanish games set in the Amazon rainforest! Kids learn tons of interesting facts about animals, geography, and the cultures of the region. Another Kitu Kids app is Deep in the Rainforest. I haven’t played this one yet, but Jennifer from Spanish Playground says “the language is used in context and well supported by the graphics.”
Spanish Games & Apps for Middle School, High School, and Beyond
Starting for ages 10-11 and older, this fast pace app includes multiple engaging Spanish games that include 1000+ Spanish vocabulary words and verb conjugation. Amanda from Miss Panda Chinese (who recently moved to Ecuador with her kids and are learning Spanish as a family) says her kids think it is very fun! I especially like how it is customized to the user’s style, and repeats concepts that have been missed previously.
Although iTunes recommends this for ages 6+, this app is for users who already speak some Spanish. I would recommend it for Middle School and above, looking for practice with conjugating common verbs. There are regular, irregular verbs, and the levels progress from easy to more difficult. The Spanish games include these tenses: present, preterite (they call it “indefinido”), imperfect, conditional, future.
By far the most popular Spanish app among my friends (parents and Spanish teachers alike), Duolingo is fun and valuable. Recommended by Melissa from Vibrant Wanderings, Mary Anne from Mama Smiles, Amanda from Miss Panda Chinese all highly recommend Duolingo for the fun Spanish games for themselves and their kids. Señorita’s Spanish Class says it is her all-time favorite language app!
What did I miss? Any favorite Spanish games or apps that I should include? Let me know in the comments!