Our Week of Mamás Blogueras continues with a post from Jennifer Manriquez, a.k.a Maestra Jen from Bilingual Fun, who’s raising two young bilingual children in Michigan. A former classroom teacher, Jennifer is now an entrepreneur heading The Bilingual Fun Company-a language education business which teaches Spanish to parents and children ages 18 months to 12 years old.
If you are trying to incorporate Spanish learning into your child’s everyday life, you may be like me, always seeking new creative activities to spice up their learning. Teaching both my own children and the many children in our language program, Bilingual Fun, continually makes me aware of their incredible ability to absorb and retain languages.
I love to teach children Spanish through games, movement and everyday activities. Creating fun, easy Spanish lessons for kids, not only enriches their development, but keeps the language learning alive.
Some quick, easy ideas for teaching children Spanish and reinforcing everyday vocabulary:
1. Playing Memory is a great activity for vocabulary development and reinforcement as well as an opportunity to present different grammatical structures. Ask “¿dónde está….? Or, ¿qué es? as you look for the specific picture. Ask children to repeat the word in Spanish each time you say it. Be sure to reinforce pictures after each game. Remember, repetition is one of the keys to language learning success!
2. Incorporate outside play in your Spanish lessons for kids. Practice kicking the soccer ball and counting the goals in Spanish. Jump rope and count in Spanish. Play hopscotch in Spanish. Draw with chalk on the driveway and reinforce colors and common vocabulary by playing Pictionary.
3. Blow bubbles and reinforce ‘arriba/abajo’. Play games such as “Mother May I” and incorporate the numbers and ‘rápido/lento’ or ‘ Red Light/Green Light” for color practice.
4. Make faces in the mirror. Give your kids the Spanish word for a specific emotion, and they have to make that face in the mirror such as: enojado (mad), triste (sad) or feliz (happy), etc. When kids can see themselves as they hear or say the word, it helps to make a language connection.
5. Count items in the kitchen. Since it seems that most days we find ourselves in the kitchen, either eating, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, etc, I like to use this setting as a realistic teaching tool. We count our snack pieces, silverware and plates as we unload the dishwasher, magnets on the fridge, etc. You can keep little ones occupied as you prepare dinner, just keep them counting!
6. Play I Spy around the house or in the car. This is a favorite activity and can keep kids communicating using many different words and expressions such as colors, adjectives, prepositions and more.
7. Play guessing games. When packing my daughter’s lunch, we play ‘¿qué hay en la caja?’ and she has to guess what I packed her for lunch.
8. Play Simón Dice/Simon Says. Point to the different body parts. Use the command “ tócate…. la nariz“, etc. Reverse roles and have kids give you commands so that they can practice producing the language.
9. Create rhythmic beats. Clap and count as you create different beats. Have children imitate you, and then they teach you a new beat. Ex; uno, dos, uno, dos, uno, dos, tres, cuatro, uno, dos, uno, dos…..
10. Dance Party Fiesta. Play upbeat Spanish music. Stop the music and freeze. Have count in variations (frontwards, backwards, by 2s, or 1-10).
When teaching young children anything, whether it is language or math skills, keeping things fun is important to help foster their interest. Play based teaching is a great way to make learning Spanish easy for kids.
By teaching kids Spanish through activities that are relevant to their lives, you are giving your children a great head start in their bilingual development!
Now it’s your turn. What are some fun activities and games you use to reinforce Spanish at home?
Our Week of Mamás Blogueras continues tomorrow with an inspiring post by Violeta García-Mendoza from Multi-Culti Mami and Turn People Purple. She shares with us her amazing story of how, along with her husband, they strengthen their three adoptive children’s Guatemalan heritage and identity. Click here to read it.
I love all of these ideas! Thank you for sharing. I loved your ideas for using different vocabulary with each activity. Thanks!
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Play-based, hands-on, relevant learning . . . LOVE IT!
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Cool, great ideas!! I also like my son to help me out at the grocery store when I’m picking the fruits and veggies. I tell him, necesitamos pimentones verdes, me puedes decir cual de estos son los verdes? He loves it and he is happy to help me pick them and count them while he puts them in a bag
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Some really terrific ideas here! Wow!
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Jennifer! I feel so dumb for not thinking of these fun and simple ideas myself. Great ideas and I’m going to work harder at making it fun (and I’m bookmarking your blog.)
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Something that I love doing with my older students (3rd graders) is we play around the world math facts game, but in Spanish. I start easy with cards (that I made) “Uno más uno son ?” and they who ever would be the fastest to say “Dos” would move on. After a while I start to add “menos”, “por”, and “entre.”
Love the ideas!
This is a game my girls made up after watching one of their favorite Spanish-kid shows, Tres Mellizas Bebés. They all sit on the floor in a circle. Each girl has a turn to roll the ball (la pelota) to another. On her turn she calls the name of one of her sisters and says, “¡Atrápala!” (Catch!) When the other girl catches it, she says, “¡La tengo!” (I got it!) Then she calls a name and says, “¡Atrápala!” “¡Atrápala!”
It’s fun watching them play.
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It is very good inspiring idea as well as great activity for vocabulary development.I am sure the activities will be very helpful for my kids.Thank you very much for the article.
Thank you for sharing these wonderfull skill !!!!!!!!!!
I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.
Great ideas to use with the kids on an everyday basis. The key point is make it fun so you and them enjoy it!
Thanks a lot for all ideas! I want to share an app with spanish for preschool kids: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pmqsoftware.game.childrencards.esp
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