Fun Spanish Learning Games for Kids (Preschool & Early Elementary)

Fun Spanish Learning Games for Kids (Preschool & Early Elementary)

Inside: Spanish learning games for kids (preschool and elementary). 

 

I have a ton of Spanish learning games I’ve collected over the years. But I’ve been missing a list just for younger kids! 

Here are games that are easy to explain, not-too-competitive, and require more listening than speaking. These are best for preschool and early elementary, before drawing and writing skills are ready to go. 

Little learners have tiny attention spans. In my experience, they’re even shorter in a foreign language class. So keep it moving along, and end the game if the interest is waning.  Anytime you are working with young kids, I recommend lots of songs, puppets, and movements. If you are looking for preschool, you may want to see my Spanish preschool series

 

Spanish Learning Games for Kids

 

1. Musical Cards

 

This one is similar to musical chairs, and requires a set of cards with images of the target vocabulary. 

If you are studying numbers, for example, hand out number cards to all of the students. (It’s okay if several students have the same number.) Turn on music and allow them to move around. When the music stops, call out a number. Whoever has that number sits down, and play continues until one student (or one number) is left!

(I saw this game discussed in the Facebook Group Teaching Spanish to Children, run by Munde de Pepita. Definitely join if you haven’t already!)

 

2. Where is the button?

 

Again, prep a set of picture cards. (Credit to Susan O’Donnell Bondy for the idea!)

Have the students sit in a circle, and spread the cards out, face up, in the middle of the circle. Tell the students close their eyes, and hide a cut-out of a button (or whatever object you choose) under a card. The students take turns guessing which card it’s under. This sounds like an output-heavy activity (the students have to say the word), but you can provide a ton of input here: A ver, ¿está debajo del queso? ¡No, no está debajo del queso! ¿Dónde está? Or, if someone says el pollo, point to the zanahoria  and ask, ¿Éste? ¡Ay no, no es el pollo!

Susan shared that she has a chant that her students do. In Spanish, it could be something like Boton-cito, boton-cito, ¿dónde está?

 

3. Bingo

 

Bingo is fun for all ages, but doesn’t always work with younger crowds. If your students aren’t able to grasp the concept of 4-in-a-row, simply play to fill the boards, without a winner. They’ll still enjoy playing, and it’s a great listening activity. 

 

4. What’s missing?

 

I’ve played this one for a long time, but I love Julie’s take on this one from Mundo de Pepita. Read her post for a full explanation, but here is the basic explanation of how I play: have a set of objects or pictures in front of the students. Have them close their eyes (or turn away!), and remove one object. They open their eyes, and guess which object is gone. 

You can maximize the language opportunity here by chatting about their guesses. ¿La manzana? ¡Uy, la manzana está aquí! No es la manazana… ¿qué es, clase?

Spanish learning games

 

5. ¿Qué hay en la bolsa?

 

This is another fun guessing game, and best if it’s a real object or toy. I like to call up one student to put their hand in the bag, and feel they object. They can guess what it is, and if the answer isn’t correct another student gets to try guessing. 

For slightly older classes who know some basic like colors, big, small, you could also give them clues about what’s in the bag, and have them take some guesses after each clue. 

 

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Spanish learning games for kids

Back to School Spanish Activities: The Ultimate Round-Up of Plans and Ideas

Back to School Spanish Activities: The Ultimate Round-Up of Plans and Ideas

Inside: Back to school Spanish activities and plans.

I don’t know about you, but beginnings make me anxious. Or maybe it’s more like this: the anticipation of beginnings makes me anxious. Even on Sunday nights–in the middle of the school year– I get those butterflies. Once school starts, we jump in and it really is okay! (Especially now that I have a clearer idea of where we’re going and how students take in language.) That week-before is just tricky.

Teaching for ten years now, back-to-school has gotten better. I wish I’d had easy access to ideas from other teachers in those early days, so I’ve gathered these back-to-school Spanish lesson posts into one place. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, here you’ll have tons of great ideas at your fingertips! (more…)

50 of the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

50 of the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

Inside: Authentic Spanish books for kids.

While I love our stash of picture books in Spanish and English, I really like finding original Spanish titles. And authentic Spanish books for kids are not always easy to get! It’s taken some digging, but I’ve found quite a few treasures here. As a non-native Spanish speaker, I love knowing these books will expose my kids to that authentic voice and culture I can’t always provide.

Although some books listed here are bilingual, I looked for ones that were written in Spanish first, by a native author. Normally I like to include a little blurb about each title, but we’re still working our way through the list. I didn’t want to wait to share all of these with you!

You’ll notice this list is very Alma Flor Ada-heavy as well. Honestly, I just love her books, and there were many more I could have included. Let me know in the comments what you would add to your list!

For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

Poetry/Music

 

¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children (Anthology) (Spanish Edition)

Arrorro, Mi Nino

Little Chickies / Los Pollitos (Canticos)

Little Elephants / Elefantitos (Canticos)

Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

Todo es canción: Antología poética (Spanish Edition)

Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina Popular Songs and Rhymes From Latin America (English and Spanish Edition)

Pimpon (Coleccion Puertas al Sol)

 

 

 

 

Mama Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury (English and Spanish Edition)

 

Alphabet Books

 

Abecedario De Los Animales (Spanish Edition)

Mi primer abecedario (Abececuentos) (Spanish Edition)

Olinguito, de La A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z!

El Abecedario De Don Hilario

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English (Spanish Edition)

¡Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book (Bilingual English and Spanish Edition)

 

Authentic Spanish Fiction

 

Una extraña visita (Libros Para Contar / Stories for the Telling) (Spanish Edition)

El Canto Del Mosquito / Song of the Teeny-tiny Mosquito (Libros Para Contar (Little Books)) (Spanish Edition

Viva la tortuga! (Long Live the Turtle) (Spanish Edition)

El papalote / The Kite (Spanish Edition) (Cuentos Para Todo el Ano / Stories The Year Round)

Juan Bobo Goes to Work (Spanish edition): Juan Bobo busca trabajo

Instrucciones para que el hipopotamo duerma solo (Spanish Edition)

Me gustaria tener… (Libros Para Contar / Stories for the Telling) (Spanish Edition

La jaula dorada / The Golden Cage (Spanish Edition) (Cuentos Para Todo el Ao / Stories The Year Round)

El mejor es mi papa (Serie Amarilla) (Spanish Edition)

El Flamboyán Amarillo (Spanish Edition)

Folktales, Classics, & Legends

 

The Lizard and the Sun / La Lagartija y el Sol (Picture Yearling Book) (Spanish Edition)

Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas (Tales Our Abuelitas Told): Cuentos populares Hispánicos (Spanish Edition)

Bossy Gallito / El gallo de bodas: (Bilingual) (Spanish Edition)

Ratoncito Perez, Cartero (Puertas al Sol)

Los Zapaticos de Rosa

Chumba la Cachumba

De como dicen que fue hecho el mar (Spanish Edition)

De oro y esmeraldas: mitos, leyendas y cuentos popules de latinoamérica


Paco Yunque (Spanish Edition)

 

 

Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids: Culture & Geography

 

En Alas del Condor (Puertas al Sol)

Ojos del Jaguar (Puertas al Sol)

Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for kids

 

Free Downloadable Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for Kids

¡Qué montón de Tamales! (Spanish Edition)

In My Family/En mi familia

Family Pictures, 15th Anniversary Edition / Cuadros de Familia, Edición Quinceañera

What Can You Do With a Rebozo?/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? (English and Spanish Edition)

Vuelo del quetzal (Puertas Al Sol / Gateways to the Sun) (Spanish Edition)

La Isla (Spanish Edition) (Picture Puffin Books)

Abuela (Spanish Edition)

Biographies

Conoce a Pablo Neruda / Get to Know Pablo Neruda (Bilingual) (Personajes Del Mundo Hispánico / Historical Figures of the Hispanic World) (Spanish Edition)

Conoce a Gabriela Mistral / Get to Know Gabriela Mistral (Bilingual) (Personajes Del Mundo Hispanico / Characters of the Hispanic World) (Personajes … of the Hispanic World) (Spanish Edition

Don Quijote para siempre (Spanish Edition) (N/A)

ANTI PRINCESAS 1: FRIDA KAHLO PARA CHICAS Y CHICOS

Violeta Parra para chicas y chicos

Viva Frida (Morales, Yuyi)

 

Holidays & Celebrations

 

Celebra Cinco De Mayo Con Un Jarabe Tapatio / Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With the Mexican Hat Dance (Cuentos Para Celebrar) (Spanish Edition

Celebra la Navidad y el Día de los Reyes Magos con Pablo y Carlitos (Cuentos Para Celebrar / Stories To Celebrate) (Spanish Edition

Piñatas and Paper Flowers: Holidays of the Americas in English and Spanish / Piñatas y flores de papel: Fiestas de las Américas en inglés y español (Spanish and English Edition)

What other authentic Spanish children’s books do you love? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids, For Free

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids, For Free

Inside: Free resources to learn Spanish online with kids.

It’s easier than ever to learn language now, with so many online Spanish resources for kids– for free! The hardest part is just going through all of them and deciding where to start.

No worries though: I’ve collected and sorted through the most popular Spanish resources, so you can find what you need. If I am missing any, let me know! I’ve also got you covered if you want to teach yourself Spanish and need resources for an older crowd.

 

Learn Spanish Online with Kids: Authentic Shows and Series

 

1. Peppa Pig
There are tons of free Peppa Pig shows on YouTube. They will be difficult for true beginners, but if your kids know a little they will definitely recognize words and phrases. Most of the language is clear, simple, and repetitive, and the action is slow enough that the language is more accessible. (Find the official Spanish channel here.)

 

2. La vaca hace mu
This series was made for Spanish speaking children, but would be great for learners as well. The language is very repetitive and easy to understand for novices. Each episode features a different animal and tells all about them.

 

3. Pocoyo
Pocoyo is another series with many episodes on YouTube in Spanish. This is a popular one among kids and has high comprehensibility as well.

 

4. Caillou
Again, lots of free episodes on YouTube.

 

5. Semillitas
Made for Spanish speakers, but could work for more advanced learners. YouTube channel here.

 

Online Resources for Kids: Shows Created for Spanish Learners

 

1. Salsa
This PBS series was designed to teach Spanish through 15 or 30-minute story segments. You can access all the episodes here at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

salsa

 

 

 

2. Oh Noah!
Another PBS series, these episodes are a mix of Spanish and English. Noah goes to live with his grandmother in a neighborhood where most people only speak Spanish. All are available on YouTube.

 

3. Calico Spanish
Calico Spanish is mentioned again below for their songs, but they have some stories and videos online as well.

 

4. ¡Habla Jorge!

 

Learn with Spanish Songs

 

Songs are some of the most effective online Spanish resources for kids, especially when their parents aren’t native speakers. (I have started a collection of songs by theme you can access here!)

1. Calico Spanish
I really love how these videos have subtitles– perfect for parents trying to learn along with their kids! Find the homepage for the YouTube channel here.

 

2. Rockalingua
Rockalingua has many song for Spanish learners by topic as well.

 

3. Toobys
These are designed for younger kids, and have been really popular at our house. Songs from Toobys could be for Spanish learners or native speakers. Find the YouTube channel here.

 

4. Leoncito Alado
Made for native speakers, but slow enough to help learners. YouTube channel here.

 

5. Basho & Friends

YouTube channel here.

 

Online Spanish Stories & Poems

 

1. A Collection of 50 Spanish Stories from Spanish Playground
A huge list of links to stories in Spanish.

2. Spanish Children’s Stories by The Spanish Experiment
Famous stories read by native speakers.

3. Children’s Short Stories in Spanish by 123 TeachMe

4. Collection of Poemas by Spanish Mama
Some of the most famous rhymes and poems in Spanish.

5. Songs and Rhymes from Mama Lisa’s World

6. Fables Told in Simple Spanish
These stories are told in picture format with only beginning vocabulary Some of these would be better for older elementary.

 

Learn Spanish with Kids: Websites and Blogs

 

1. Spanish Playground
There are tons of resources on this site for Spanish learners.

2. Preschool Lessons from Spanish Mama
Designed for parents who speak some Spanish, or for teaching preschool Spanish classes.

3. 20 Spanish Apps and Games for Kids from Kid World Citizen
Great list for learners at home!

4. Online Free Spanish
Online activities, divided by level.

5. Spanish Town
The site is newly designed, with lots of games and activities.

5. Mommy Maestra
A blog by a homeschooling Latina mom
.

What are your favorites resources to learn Spanish online with kids? Tell me about them in the comments below!

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Free Online Spanish Resources for Kids

The Best Spanish Cartoons and Shows on Netflix

The Best Spanish Cartoons and Shows on Netflix

Inside: The best Spanish cartoons and shows for kids, on Netflix.

Cartoons can be a great source of Spanish input for little learners. Now, we all know to limit screen time for kids, right?

BUT… videos and shows really can be an incredible resource for authentic and rich language.

I’m not a native Spanish-speaker and can’t provide a totally fluent environment for my kids, by myself. (My husband is fluent, but not at home as much as I am.) So we rely on music, books, and shows to round out the input. Sometimes it’s funny to hear my three-year-old bust out a phrase I know I’ve never used (¡Ay, cielos! from Pooh).

Netflix has a fair amount of cartoons and movies with audio in Spanish, and here are my top picks. They do pull and add shows, so this list may change. Lucky for us, most Netflix original series are available in multiple languages and stay there for good!

 

 

(If you are looking for something for yourself, here’s a giant list of movies in Spanish, and another huge list of Spanish shows on Netflix. I’ve also got you covered with lists of bilingual books for kids, authentic books in Spanish for kids, songs in Spanish, and free online resources to learn Spanish with kids.)

 

I’ve include trailers for our favorite series, but they are mostly only available in English. 

 

Our Favorite Spanish Cartoons on Netflix for Kids:

 

1. Puffin Rock

We love, love, love this show! It’s nature-based, with lovely graphics and sweet story-lines. The audio is very clear and understandable, and would be perfect for learners who understand a fair amount of Spanish, but aren’t fluent yet.

 

2. Llama Llama

The popular children’s series has arrived to Netflix- WITH Spanish audio!

 

3. Peppa Pig

I really like the slow pace and simple storylines. This is an excellent show for kids who aren’t fluent, because the audio is very clear. Even beginners would be able to pick out the phrases they already know. (This show isn’t available in every country. If you can’t find it, you can still access the Peppa Pig Spanish Channel on YouTube, with complete episodes!)

 

4. Pocoyo

This is the best show for absolute beginners, as the phrases tend to be more isolated and easy to catch. Kids love this one! Again, not available in every country, but most episodes can be found on YouTube

 

5. Little Baby Bum

This is a series of popular children’s songs and nursery rhymes available in Spanish. Listening to songs is really one of the most effective ways to learn a language, and would be perfect for little ones.

 

6. Piglet’s Big Movie

Unfortunately, the original Pooh movies have been removed. This one has good audio though, and stay pretty close to the originals. 

 

 

More Shows in Spanish on Netflix for Kids:

 

Below are series we haven’t necessarily seen or watch, but are in Spanish. Let me know if you love any and would recommend them!

1. Masha and the Bear

 

2. 72 Cutest Animals
(a nature show)

 

3. The Hive

 

 

4. Clifford

 

5. Word Party

 

6. Luna Petunia

 

7. Kazoops

 

8. Beat Bugs

9. Popples

10. Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales

11. Pororo

12. Inspector Gadget

13. Curious George

14. Ask the Storybots

15. Lalaloopsy

16. Julie’s Greenroom

17. Justin Time Go!

18. Care Bears and Cousins

19.Veggie Tales in the House

20. Trolls

And movies (some aren’t toddler-appropriate):

1. The Little Prince

2. Tarzan

3. The Fox and the Hound

4. The Wings of Life (nature documentary)

5. Lilo & Stitch

6. Kung Fu Panda

7. Brother Bear

8. Zootopia

9. All the Mickey Mouse movies

10. Disney Short Films

 

Did I miss any of your favorite Spanish cartoons and shows? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

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Shows in Spanish on Netflix for Kids

Learn Spanish with Kids: How to Start at Home

Learn Spanish with Kids: How to Start at Home

Inside: How to learn Spanish with kids, at home.

“Oh, I would love for my kids to learn Spanish. Your kids are so lucky!”

I hear this one often. Really, ask anyone if they’d like their kids to speak a second language and the answer will be YES. Of course we would. But then-

We barely remember high school Spanish. I took German. We can’t afford a tutor. I have no idea where to start. 

Don’t let excuses like this stop you from learning Spanish with your kids! The goals can be simple: exposure, fun, some new songs and new words. The earlier you can start, the better.

 

How to teach to teach your kids Spanish at home

 

Beginning early attunes the ear to new soundshard-wires the brain differently, and sets words and patterns into the long-term memory. It is one of those few things where the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to learn. Most students in the U.S. show up to their foreign language class in high school with zero practice– and what could be their most enjoyable, practical subject becomes something they are scared of and forget two years later. It’s never too late, either: learning a foreign language has amazing effects on adults as well.

Before I share my ideas, here are some don’ts.

  • DON’T be self-conscious. Learning a language for adults can feel awkward, but set a relaxed, fun tone anyway.
  • DON’T give up if you miss a week or two. Those songs and words stay in little minds longer than we think.
  • DON’T make perfection the goal. Do what you can. A little bit every day is great.

So, where to start? Here are some simple, easy ideas to teach your kids Spanish at home without spending money!

 

1. Learn Spanish with Kids Through Songs

 

If you only take one thing away from this post, it should be this one: learn and sing songs in Spanish. Songs are the BEST way for non-fluent parents and children to learn, and will keep sounds and phrases in the long-term memory longer than any App or game could. I have lists of songs on YouTube by theme, and recommend these CDs:

Diez Deditos/ Ten Little Fingers

De Colores and Other Latin American Folk Songs

You can know zero Spanish yourself, and still learn words, pronunciation, and phrases along with your kids. It’s much more important for children to know the sounds of the language than how to read it (Spanish phonetics are far easier than in English) and this is the very best way for them to develop an ear for the language. If you learn one song a month, you will have over 10 songs memorized in a year. Watch them together, and sing them in the car or as part of bedtime.

 

2. Find Spanish Resources Online

 

Use free apps and websites to learn and practice. DuoLingo App  is great for older students who can read and perfect for busy adults, in case you want to stay one step ahead. I’ve also collected awesome lists of free online Spanish resources for kids, free online Spanish resources for older students and adults.

 

How to teach kids Spanish at home

 

3. Go By Topics in Spanish

 

It can be overwhelming not knowing where to start. Choose a theme that interests you (food, colors, animals) and learn the words that go with it. It’s okay if you only do 3 or 4 topics a year! Learn some greetings, numbers 1-10, colors, and some foods. I have boards by topic on Pinterest so you can find links, activities, printables, and more by theme. Lingo Hut is a free site where you can search by topic, and at Quizlet you can make study lists and hear the pronunciation.

 

4. Learn Through Spanish Children’s Books.

 

Invest in some books or check them out from the library. If you took some high school Spanish but don’t feel comfortable producing language on your own, books are a good start. These two are my favorites:

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever / El mejor libro de palabras de Richard Scarry

¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

You could also check out my list 50 Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids:

 

And 50 Bilingual Books in Spanish for Kids:

 

Picture Books for Kids in Spanish and English

 

5. Set Specific Language time to Speak Spanish as a Family

 

Pick a certain time during the week (maybe dinnertime on Thursday nights), where the whole family is specifically trying to practice what they’re learning. It could mean saying please, pass me, and thank you in Spanish, and using the food terms you know. Don’t wait to use Spanish because you aren’t fluent! Use what you know.

 

6. Use Props to Learn Spanish with Kids

 

Kids learn best when using real objects. If you are learning fruit, practice with the real thing. Another way to use props is to get a new stuffed animal or puppet, and introduce it as a Spanish-speaking ________. Have conversation or puppet play this way. This can sometimes help with a resistant learner or shy student who would rather act out speaking Spanish than speaking it directly.

 

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7. Play Games in Spanish

 

I love games! Learning Spanish with young kids should be a pleasant, successful experience, not stressful. I like using picture cards so English isn’t even part of the game. Play Bingo, Go Fish, or Memory. I have some game sets by theme for sale here, or free download here. If you feel uncomfortable saying the words in Spanish, practice your pronunciation at Lingo Hut, or cue up the words at SpanishDict. For extra practice, call out the words and have your kids draw the pictures themselves.

 

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8. Teach Your Kids Spanish with My Free Lessons

 

So far I have created three units in a series I names Español in the Jungle (I set the characters and stories in the Amazon rainforest). I designed these for parents (homeschoolers or families supplementing school) who are not native speakers, but remember a bit of high school Spanish or are willing to do a little prep of their own. Remember, speaking a foreign language is good for us adults too!

I have fables told in simple Spanish and also have a Preschool Spanish Series with plenty of links and freebies.

 

 

9. Make a Notebook to Track New Words

 

Let your kids make notebooks where they store what they’re learning, if they’re old enough. Use a composition notebook or three-ring binder and record new words and activities so it’s all together. I also have a Blank Pictionary and Illustrated Words Book that you can purchase to create personalized illustrated dictionaries.

 

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10. Learn Spanish with Kids through Movies and Shows

 

Sarah from A Life with Subtitles explains how to set your Netflix to Spanish, and I have a list of shows in Spanish on Netflix for kids.

 

Netflix Shows in Spanish for Kids

 

I hope this helps! It takes some work to get a Spanish routine going in your family, but it’s worth it. Learn Spanish with your kids, and you’ll never regret your decision to get started!

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learn Spanish with Kids

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