spanish games

spanish for children

I have a great time playing toma todo, or pirinola, with children learning Spanish. The phrases are simple and practical, and kids love spinning the top.  My kids grew up playing at home and in Mexico, where the six-sided top is a pirinola.  In some countries it is a perinola.  We get wooden tops in Mexico, but they are available in many Latino markets in the USA too. You can also make your own out of cardboard.  There is a link to a pattern for a printable pirinola below.

The game can be played with two or more players. Each player needs about ten tokens. We use beans, but kids sometimes play with candy. Any small object will work. Everyone puts one token into a center pile to start, and then one player spins the top. When it falls, she follows the instructions facing up.

These are the traditional instructions:
Toma uno. – Take one (token from the pile).
Toma dos. – Take two (tokens from the pile).
Toma todo. – Take it all (the whole pile).
Pon uno – Put one (in the pile).
Pon dos – Put two (in the pile).
Todos ponen. – Everyone puts a token in the pile.

When toma todo comes up, in order to continue, everyone must put one token in the pile. Play continues until one person has all the tokens.

You can also make a pirinola out of cardboard and a pencil. Here is a link to a printable pattern to make the top to play toma todo. Click on PRESIONA AQUÍ just above the small pattern to enlarge it and print. The phrases on this pattern are slightly different, but you can trace the pattern and write in the traditional instructions if you like. The instructions on this pattern are:

Pierdes todo. – You lose everything.
Todos ganan. – Everyone wins.
Pierdes uno. – You lose one.
Toma uno. – You take one.
Todos ponen. – Everyone puts one in.
Toma todo. – Take it all.

When you are playing toma todo, you might use these phrases too:
Te toca a ti. – It’s your turn.
Me toca a mí.- It’s my turn.
¡Qué bien! – Great!
¡Ay, no! – Oh, no!


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