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. However, 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.” Here, you can 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

First off, 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
  • Practice recognizing and writing words
  • And more!

Additionally, 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.

How to Make a Spanish Word Search

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

1. Format

The format is just that–exactly what you want your puzzle to look like. Formatting is super simple and very flexible. For your puzzle, you get to adjust the look and difficulty with the following:

Choose Your Shape

First, you choose the shape you want your puzzle to be. If you already have a word list in mind, you can make the shape thematic. For example:

  • For puzzle about nature vocab, you could choose a tree, sun, or moon shape
  • For puzzles about travel, you could choose a plane or boat shape
  • For puzzles about family, you could use a house shape

Choose Your Size and Direction

Next, pick the direction(s) you want your words to appear. The larger the puzzle, the more difficult it will be to solve. However, if you have a lot of words, you will need a bigger puzzle to accommodate all of them.

You can also choose which directions you want words in your puzzle to go. Again, the more directions you choose, the more challenging your puzzle will be.

2.  Add Your Words

Finally, add your list of Spanish words. 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.

English-Spanish Word Search Example

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

Things to Keep in Mind While Building Word Searches

Here are a few extra tips of things to keep in mind when making your own word searches in Spanish.

1: Choosing a Theme

The “theme” is the organizing idea of your word search. You can have your word search theme be as wide or narrow as you’d like. Here are a few examples of Spanish language word search themes:

  • Members of your family
  • Names of students in your Spanish class
  • Popular restaurant foods
  • Spanish synonyms
  • Different ways to greet someone in Spanish.
  • Cognates and false friends

To try this final 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.

2. Setting a Difficulty

There are four ways to easily alter the difficulty of your word search:

  1. Number of words: a longer list of words will take longer to solve.
  2. Puzzle size: a larger puzzle takes longer to solve, as it takes more time to scan all the letters.
  3. Word directions: 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.
  4. Included words: For examples, words with accents, uncommon letter combinations, and double letters may be easier to find than those without.

Other Ways to add Challenges to Spanish Word Searches

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 of free Spanish Word Search Puzzles page. Browse or make Spanish crossword puzzles as well with our sister site, My Crossword Maker.

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