I spy in Spanish

The game I Spy is Veo, veo in Spanish, and it begins with a simple rhyme – a question-answer exchange. This game and its many variations are wonderful activities for children learning Spanish. In addition to the traditional game of guessing an object, there are card games, online activities and books based on I Spy in English. This information is about the original guessing game, but I will write a post later this week about how other I spy materials are easily adapted to use in Spanish.

Veo, veo can be played by two people, a small group or a class. If there are more than two players, the children take turns asking the questions. To play Veo, veo one player selects an object that she can see and the others guess what it is. This game is played in many Spanish-speaking countries, and there are several versions of the rhyme to begin the game. In the most common Spanish version, the player looks for an object that starts with a specific letter. Another version involves looking for something of a certain color, and it is great for children who have not started to learn to read.

Beginning Spanish learners have a limited vocabulary, so you may want to play this game with a picture, a set of objects, or in a space where you are sure that your child can identify enough objects to make the game fun. Before you play, review the words your child knows by pointing to different objects and saying the words in Spanish at the same time. This will make it easier for your child to remember and enjoy playing.

Also, very beginners have an easier time being the player that selects the object.  A more advanced student, instructor or parent can guess by naming objects. The person guessing should point at the same time, and say the words clearly. This is a great way to provide comprehensible Spanish, and the beginner language learner can participate fully by just saying or no. Remember that your child is learning whenever she is hearing Spanish in a context where she understands.

Children use this rhyme to begin a game where the players look for something that begins with a certain letter. It is a good idea to review the letter sounds before playing by saying the alphabet together or singing an alphabet song. The rhyme is a conversation between whoever has selected the object (1) and the others that are guessing, who respond as a group (2):

1 – Veo, veo. / I see, I see
2- ¿Qué ves? / What do you see?
1 – Una cosita. / A thing.
2 -¿Qué cosita es? / What thing is it?
1 -Empieza por la [letra] / It begins with [letter].
or
-Empieza por la letrita/la letrecita [letra] / It begins with the (little) letter [letter] 1-Qué será, qué será, qué será. / What could it be? What could it be?  What could it be? (Many versions omit this last line.)

Children use this second version of the rhyme to begin a game where they are looking for an object of a specific color. It is a good idea to point to different colors and say the word in Spanish before you start.

1- Veo, veo / I see,I see
2 -¿Qué ves? / What do you see?
1 – Una cosa / A thing
2 – ¿Qué cosa? / What thing?
1- Maravillosa…/ [It is] marvelous
2- ¿De qué color? / What color is it?
1 – Verde/ Green (the color of the object)

Music helps children learn language and there is a musical version of Veo, veo. The children’s group Parchís, from Spain, sang it and the song begins with the traditional rhyme, and then becomes a song about letter sounds. It is a catchy song and children like it. The whole song may be too long or complicated for beginners, but the tune of the original rhyme, that is the first three lines, is great to sing when playing the game.

Spanish song Veo Veo

You can listen to the song here, and it is available for download. Below are the lyrics with a word-for-word translation. The translation is for meaning only and does not preserve the rhyme or rhythm of the song. It is helpful to parents learning Spanish with their children.

This song changes the vowels in some words, the same way that I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas does in English. As a result, there are a few nonsense words created by playing with the vowel sounds. Each verse then uses real words that start with that vowel.

Veo,veo. ¿Qué ves? Una cosita. Y ¿qué cosita es? / I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?
Empieza por la A./ It begins with A.
¿Qué sera? ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será?/ What could it be? What could it be?  What could it be?

¡ALEFANTE! / Elephant (elefante with the wrong vowel)

No, no, no / No, no, no
Eso no, no, no/ No not that.
Eso no,no,no. / No not that.
No es así./ It’s not like that.

Con la A se escribe amor./ With A you write amor
Con la A se dice adiós, With A you say adiós
la alegría del amigo / the happiness of a friend
y un motón de cosas más / and many other things.

Veo,veo. ¿Qué ves? Una cosita. Y ¿qué cosita es? / I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?
Empieza por la E./ It begins with E
¿Qué seré? ¿Qué seré? ¿Qué seré? / What will I be?
(The word seré happens to mean “I will be” but the song is just playing with the vowel sound E.  The following verses use I, O, and U to make serí, seró and serú which are nonsense words.)

¡EYUNTAMIENTO! / Ayuntamiento with the wrong vowel. Ayuntamiento refers to city government, and is a rough equivalent of city hall.

No, no, no
Eso no, no, no
Eso no, no, no
No es así.

Con la E de la emoción / With the E of emotion
estudiamos la obsesión / we study obession
y entonando esta canción / and singing this song
encontramos la verdad./ we find the truth.

Veo, veo. ¿Qué ves? Una cosita.Y ¿qué cosita es?/  I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?
Empieza por la I / It begins with I
¿Qué serí? ¿Qué serí? ¿Qué serí?

¡INVIDIA! / Envy (envidia with the wrong vowel)

No, no, no
Eso no, no, no
Eso no, no, no
No es así.

Con la I nuestra ilusión / With I our hope
va intentando imaginar/ tries to imagine
con insólita inquietud / with unusual concern
una infancia sin maldad./ a childhood without evil.

Veo,veo ¿Qué ves? Una cosita. Y ¿qué cosita es? / I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?

Empieza por la O. / It begins with O.
¿qué seró? ¿qué seró? ¿qué seró?

¡OSCUELA!/ School (escuela with the wrong vowel)

No, no, no
Eso no, no, no
Eso no, no, no
No es así.

Olvidaba de observar / I forgot to observe
qué es odiar, odiar y odiar / what it is to hate, and hate and hate
y el horror aun que es con H / and horror, although with H,
es horror hasta el final./ is horror to the end.

Veo, veo. ¿Qué ves? Una cosita. Y ¿qué cosita es?/ I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?
Empieza por la U/ It begins with U
¿qué serú?
¿qué serú?
¿qué serú?

¡UMBLIGO! / Naval (ombligo with the wrong vowel)

No, no, no
Eso no, no, no
Eso no, no, no
No es así.

Con la unión se hizo la U / With the union the U was made,
un planeta unificó / a planet unified,
y universo ya se unió/ and the universe united
con la U de la unidad / with the U of unity.

Veo, veo. ¿Qué ves? Una cosita. Y ¿qué cosita es?/ I see, I see. What do you see? A thing. What thing is it?
Empieza por la F / It begins with F
¿qué seraf? ¿qué seraf? ¿qué seraf?

¡FINAL! / The end

Sí,  sí,  sí
Eso sí,  sí,  sí
Eso sí, sí, sí
Sí es así

Sí, sí, sí / Yes, yes, yes
Eso sí, sí, sí / That is it, yes, yes
Eso sí, sí, sí / That is it, yes, yes
Sí es así / It’s like that.
Llegó el final / The end arrived.


Using what kids know to teach Spanish – The solar system
Make a picture online to play Veo, veo

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