Whether you’re in the classroom, homeschooling, teaching a church class, or working with bilingual students, high-frequency verbs offer a lot of opportunities for fun while reinforcing important vocabulary. These Spanish gustar and encantar manipulables are flexible and can be used in many different ways. Plus, they’re free, so you can get your students saying ¡Me encantan! today.

Learning and Motor-Skills Goals

These Spanish gustar and encantar manipulables are so flexible that what you can accomplish with them depends on use. Here are some possible outcomes:

  • Recognizing and repeating the indirect object pronoun me
  • Discerning between gusta and gustan, encanta and encantan
  • Adding no to gusta(n) or encanta(n) to express dislike
  • Listening comprehension practice
  • Discerning between singular and plural Spanish nouns and infinitives
  • Using familiar objects as bridges to new language acquisition

Spanish Vocabulary Used

The core vocabulary revolves around the cards themselves and the infinitives gustar and encantar. (Huge thank you to clipart copyright owner Rainbow Sprinkle.)

  • corazón
  • encanta(n)
  • gusta(n)
  • me
  • monstruo(s)
  • oso(s) panda
  • rana(s)

There is also a secondary, optional sheet with introductory “easy” nouns and infinitives to jump-start your lesson or practice. The vocabulary covered is broken into three groups: easy Spanish singular nouns, easy Spanish plural nouns, and “showable” infinitives, which is perfect for a little TPR.

Five Example Ways to Use

1. Listening Practice

Whether you speak Spanish or not, this is a great activity for learners to gain listening practice. With essentially four phrases: me gusta, me gustan, me encanta, and me encantan and the potential for nearly endless combinations of Spanish nouns or infinitives, this is a go-to activity. Simply use almost any Spanish vocabulary you prefer.

Choosing vocabulary students already know provides opportunity for review, while choosing unfamiliar vocabulary gives learners the chance to really focus on singular versus plural and discerning infinitives from other parts of speech. Not sure how to pronounce the phrases? No worries! Just click the above links to hear the pronunciations.

Plus, listening practice doesn’t have to be complicated or involve a whole class or set of learners. You don’t even have to speak the language. Just pull up a chair with the quick-start sheet and run through the vocabulary with the manipulables spread out on the table. This allows shy students to practice without having to speak in front of others and provides individual attention to learners who may feel isolated or left-out.

2. Visual “Quiz” / Learning Check

If you’re in a classroom or have at least a few learners, you can callout singular or plural Spanish nouns and Spanish infinitives. Students then hold up these manipulables or put them on their tables/desks for you to see.

This callout and response permits practice discerning singular versus plural forms and lots of vocabulary work. Learners can even hold up or add “NO” to demonstrate what they don’t like.

Here’s an example scenario. The teacher callsout: “EL APIO.” And students respond with their manipulables. Since “el apio” is celery, you’ll probably get a lot of responses that look something like the below picture.

Me gusta el apio -- from the Spanish infinitive gustar
3. At Home or in Montessori Programs

Print a lot of these. Ask each learner to write her name on her monsters and/or animals. Then, set a timer and have the learner(s) race around the house or learning environment placing objects on the printed rectangles. In the below examples, someone was obviously looking for a snack.

Using physical objects allows visual checks, “running out” energy, and creative vocabulary learning or selection. You can also do one-on-one checks with learners, inviting speaking practice at each object and/or the introduction of new vocabulary. ¿de veras te gusta el apio? Or, También me encantan las naranjas.

If you don’t speak Spanish, gesturing and using just the four phrases and either “Sí” (yes) or “No” also works wonders. “Me gusta la naranja.” Point to the other person. “No me gusta la naranja.” Now you know what each person likes and doesn’t like.

Me gusta la naranja

Me gusta la naranja.

Me encantan las piruletas.

Me encantan las piruletas (etc.).

4. Table Game

Making this Spanish gustar and encantar pack into a game works especially well with food or new Spanish vocabulary and with infinitives. There are many different ways to play, but here are some examples:

  • Group-Check: Sort students into groups of 2-5. Say a Spanish noun or infinitive. Allow ten to fifteen seconds for grouped students to pick their answers (e.g., decide between gusta or gustan, etc.) and then lay their answers down. Instead of checking answers for yourselves, allow about thirty seconds for students to check and help each other and then about another thirty seconds for students to laugh and discuss. Pace increases as the game goes on. If your learners are competitive, they can keep “correct answer” scores and see which group has the most correct answers at the end.
  • Vocabulary Review: You can do this yourself or ask students to help on a rotating basis. Callout vocabulary (or have a student do it) and ask students to hold up their answers. Observing the students’ answers is a good comprehension check, and having someone else say the vocabulary frees you up to see which students may be struggling.
5. Five Minutes to the Bell

Finally, the best laid plans . . . sometimes end early. Keep a box or can of these for a fast, five-minute game that fills time without wasting it. Just be sure to leave a spot by the door for students to drop these on their way out.

6. Bonus Idea: Homework or Virtual / Digital Work

If you send some of these Spanish gustar and encantar pages home with students and have learners with access to technology, let their creativity soar by allowing them to decorate their monsters and/or animals. They can also show you creative (but safe and legal) ways that they practiced with pictures.

For example, encourage nature-lovers to get out there and label their favorite natural things. Encourage musically-inclined students to send pictures of their favorite music pieces, instruments, sheet music labeled correctly. Whatever the students adore, ask them to work it in. The open-endedness will help students learn new vocabulary and, most importantly, new vocabulary of interest to them.

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