Make a Spanish Word Search Puzzle to Teach Vocabulary

Spanish word search puzzle

Many Spanish students and teachers alike recognize vocabulary building as one of the first steps to mastering a language. Students commonly develop this knowledge through rote memorization, but a Spanish word search engages students on another level.

If you already have a word list and are ready to make your own puzzle, head on over to our word search maker at My Word Search. When you start creating a new puzzle, simply scroll to the last option under “Customize” to switch from English to Spanish. For those who want to know more about creating a Spanish word search before trying it out, read on.

 

How a Spanish Word Search Can Help Students

Word searches offer a number of benefits to language learners. First and foremost, word searches build vocabulary. They also help students to:

  • Understand agreement of articles
  • Memorize the gender of nouns or adjectives
  • Learn verb conjugations
  • Study similar words together
  • And more!

Solving a Spanish word search or other word puzzles as a group activity in the classroom can also encourage teamwork, develop conversational skills, and reinforce previously introduced concepts.

 

Making a Spanish Word Search

When making a Spanish word search, we recommend selecting your format first, then your theme, and ending with the level of difficulty.

Format

The format of the puzzle refers to just that – how you’ll set up your puzzle. If you have a list of vocabulary words you want students to become familiar with, this will help you. You can choose a design relevant to the word list, such as a plane for travel words, or a standard square puzzle. The length of your list will also determine the size of the puzzle.

If you aren’t working from a word list, you may want to condense your list into a single part of speech. Most word search lists feature nouns or adjectives, but you could also use verbs or other parts of speech. We’ll talk more about this when we get to themes.

Now you can enter your vocabulary list into our word search maker and have your puzzle in no time. Or you can take this next step and make things interesting. Here, you can change the Spanish words from the puzzle maker’s word list into English for an extra step in vocabulary building.

To do this, first select Spanish as your language at the end of the “Customize” section. Then input your Spanish words into the second step as you normally word. After that, change a word in the word list on the right from Spanish to its English meaning. You can see how to do this below. The pink arrows point to each step.

Spanish word search puzzle

You can see how the Spanish words added in the second step remained the same even after changing the words in the word list to English. This is the list your students will work from.

Below you will see how this teacher wrote English clues with Spanish answers for their word search about visiting a restaurant.

Theme

Choosing a theme means a number of things when it comes to Spanish word searches. There are, of course, themes pertaining to broad ideas and the overall meaning of words. Examples include the family theme or the restaurant theme in the puzzles above. A more specialized list might entail multiple words that convey one meaning, such as a word list of the different ways to greet someone in Spanish.

Then there are themes based on the nature of individual words. English to Spanish cognates would make a great word search theme in this category, for either an entirely Spanish puzzle or an English to Spanish one. To try this theme out, here’s a list of Spanish cognates you can use in a puzzle. You could select perfect cognates that differ only in accents such as the English “version” to the Spanish “versión”. Near perfect cognates like the English “action” to the Spanish “acción” work well, too.

Verbs and conjugations of verbs would also make good themes for Spanish word searches. A word list could feature regular verbs ending in -ir, for example. You could also go an extra step by listing a verb, then adding a conjugated version of it into the puzzle, or vice versa.

 

Difficulty

There are four ways to easily alter the difficulty of your word search. First, a longer list of words will take longer to solve. Second, a larger puzzle will also take longer to solve. Third, you can change the direction of the words: students will find words going across and down faster than diagonal words or words going in multiple directions. Make sure to tell your students their options when it comes to word direction. The fourth way, and the most in-depth way, is to alter the words on your list.

While your students need to learn all of the vocabulary for a given lesson, your word search might not need to encompass every word. Words with accents, for example, will be easier to find than those without. Words with double letters or common letter combinations also catch the eye sooner. Consider starting with words that will be easier to find, then introducing another word search with more difficult words.

Adding the article and gender can affect the difficulty as well. If you have a word list with all nouns, for example, the puzzle will be made easier by adding the article. In the puzzle below, you can see how the creator altered the puzzle difficulty by adding the article to the puzzle, but changing the word list into English. The teacher also made it with a theme in mind: words pertaining to a hotel.

The above puzzle demonstrates how many factors will affect the difficulty of your Spanish word search. With our word search maker, try as many combinations as you’d like. For study purposes, you can always start with the most straightforward options, then add to the difficulty by eliminating articles, changing the word list to English, and more.

 

To get more ideas or to use already-made Spanish word searches, browse more samples on our Spanish Word Search Puzzles page. Browse or make Spanish crossword puzzles as well with our sister site, Crossword Hobbyist.

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