How to: 'Bilingual Game Night' for families that are not all bilingual

Game night has long been known as a perfect opportunity for families to connect and have fun. It’s not as well known that game night is also the perfect opportunity for the whole family to participate in a little Spanish fun, even if there's only one or two Spanish learners.

Most of our Dual Language Families have mixed language skills - some monolingual, some bilingual, some working on being bilingual. Fortunately, there are a bunch of games can be played in both English and Spanish. Here are a few games work really well for Bilingual Game Night - so get to planning!


Bananagrams is a wonderful vocabulary builder for all ages and languages. But it's particularly helpful for Bilingual Family Game Night because you can easily play with the same game in both English and Spanish. So, English speakers can play in English while your Spanish speakers and bilinguals-in-training can play in Spanish.

It's super easy to play Bananagrams on Bilingual Family Game Night. Just allow both English words and Spanish words in game play. Older Spanish learners should be required to do only Spanish words to help push their vocabulary use. For younger ones, keep a Spanish-English thesaurus (who am I kidding -- Google Translate!) on hand to find the Spanish versions of words and give them more confidence while playing.

Here's another tip: Bananagrams travels well. Keep it in your car for road trips, longer-than-usual restaurant dinners, or visiting family and friends.


Almost any card game can be played simultaneously in English and Spanish and are particularly great games for early Spanish learners to practice numbers, colors and simple words without the rest of the family being left out.

To play, your Dual Kid would need to speak in Spanish then repeat in English, whereas the monolingual players will play only in English. UNO, and the newer DOS, are fun, easy, and incorporate colors and numbers into the game. You can play similarly with games like Go Fish, Memory, and Old Maid.


This is a silly, simple game, but can have your Spanish learner in tears! A bit of a twist on the original, have your Spanish learner start the telephone and tell someone a sentence in Spanish. Something like "The boy fell out of the tree". Send it through the "telephone" of English speakers to see what fun mumbo-jumbo comes out at the other end. Your Spanish learner will feel a sense of pride in having this "secret" to decipher at the end of the telephone.

Be sure to have your kiddo tell everyone what he said and what it means -- a perfect time for the whole family to pick up a new phrase or two.


Thanks in no small part to Ellen DeGeneres, 5 Second Rule has become extremely popular as of late (or am I just late to this game?). It's a funny, quick and family friendly game that requires you to name 3 things in a category within 5 seconds. This is a PERFECT game for older Dual Kids whose vocabulary is a bit more developed and can think a little quicker on their feet.

While you can buy a board game on Amazon, it's just as easy to make your own. A phone's timer and a stack of categories is all you need. Make a portion of your categories in Spanish and you're ready to go. If there's only one Spanish speaker at home, have her answer in Spanish and then translate after the 5 seconds are up (or record her and use Google if you've got a cheater among you, as we do, lol).

Let us know how these games work for you!

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