Lesson 4: Teaching Food in Preschool Spanish

Lesson 4: Teaching Food in Preschool Spanish

Inside: A preschool lesson on teaching food in Spanish, through comprehensible stories, songs, and input for kids.

Lesson 4 Goals: I can recognize the names of several familiar foods.

Target Structurestiene hambre, come, toma, la manzana, la leche, el maíz, el pan, el agua

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far, ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant, Los animales Bingo.

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck, Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!


Teaching Food in Spanish for Kids



Introduce la manzana, la leche, el pan, and el agua. It’s best to use real objects or toys if possible, when introducing new words. Practice saying each a few times, and circle them a bit (¿Es una manzana? ¡No! ¿Es agua? ¡Sí!)

Have cutouts of la manzana, la leche, el pan, and el agua ready for everyone (included in a Unit 2 purchase). Pass them out, and practice following directions using the props. Say, come el pan; they search for the the right picture, and pretend to eat it.




Tell the story El caballo que tiene hambre, available below. The term uvas is included, and will show up later throughout the unit. You shouldn’t need to define, however, as the students will understand the word from the pictures.





Vote on favorite foods and make a graph. I prepared little cards with names ahead of time, since we’ll repeat this activity, but post-its would work as well. This is a fun way to get in lots of repetition of the food names as you ask and point to the pictures.

food graph in Spanish




Play ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? again, from Lesson 3. Have bags ready with toy foods inside, or sneak foods into one bag for each turn. Sit in a circle, and the kids take turns getting a bag. They have to put their hand in the bag and guess what food is inside just by feeling it. Once they guess the food, we talk about it. ¿Te gusta el maíz? ¿El perro come el maíz? etc.



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See my live chat where I talk about teaching this lesson and storytelling in general with preschoolers:



La Comida Supplemental Resources 


A song to learn basic terms for food in Spanish:


More terms for la comida, going through the meals of the day:


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If you like this lesson, click to purchase the whole unit! You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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Thankfulness: The Practice of Perspective

Thankfulness: The Practice of Perspective

Two years ago I was very pregnant with my second baby, living in my parent’s basement. We only planned to stay a few months, to “get back on our feet.” Two years later, there we were still. It had been yet another year of constant car repairs, a failed business start-up, a new baby and no maternity leave. My husband’s Peruvian credentials were not the same here, and college credits didn’t transfer. We were stuck, and not in a way that coupons could fix.

Things eventually got better, but at the time I thought they might not. And now I see that as a gift.


How to teach Spanish with Authentic Songs

How to teach Spanish with Authentic Songs

Inside: How to teach Spanish with authentic music, in the middle and high school classroom.


I didn’t know how to teach Spanish with authentic music, as a new teacher. Fresh from living in Peru and head over heels for the language and culture, I sat down with the textbook. Apparently, for the first half of Spanish I, we would learn classroom objects, articles, greetings, and regular verbs. Hmm. How did authentic songs fit in?

I tried out some of my favorite music in class anyway, but it kind of bombed. We were listening to noise. Extremely catchy noise, but nothing comprehensible. I reverted to grammar songs and conjugation jingles. They were cute, but I was feeding my students the parts: hoping one day all the pieces would come together into the whole language I wanted them to acquire.

Then I finally got that I needed to start with whole, intact, understandable language. Real-life communication is the goal, and songs became more accessible because we were learning high-frequency verbs right away. I saw how comprehensible input and authentic resources could work together. My students could acquire authentic language and real-life skills like getting the gist of a text and picking familiar words out from unfamiliar word. My job was to introduce songs with the language we needed, and find a way to make it comprehensible.

(Just here looking for music suggestions? See my Songs in Spanish by theme and category.)

Update: I was featured on the Language Latte Podcast to share about teaching Spanish with music. Keep on reading or give it a listen!

So, here’s what I wish someone had told me as a newbie teacher:


1. Think through the goal.


How will the song connect to your current targets? Will it be a cultural connection? Are you looking to highlight a pattern (present progressive, ir + a, etc.)? Do you want to focus on certain phrases or vocabulary? Here are some huge lists of authentic Spanish songs I came up with for Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Spanish 2.


2. Think about how much of the song can be comprehensible.


How much of the song can you use? I used to get stuck because I didn’t know how to use a song that used many words we didn’t know, or grammar we hadn’t learned. I really think that songs are the best way to hook students to content just above their proficiency level. You can, of course, explain the entire song or provide a translation.

– Some authentic songs can be 100% comprehensible, if you work through them a bit. Very simple songs-perhaps children’s songs- are a great way to see how language works as a whole.

– Some are best because they repeat key phrases. Your students might not understand everything, but esto no me gusta and te estaba buscando get repeated a bazillion times and they never forget those phrases. If you are using a grammar-based approach, this is a good way to help set patterns; if you are CI-based, it helps to cement target structures from a different context.

– For other songs, the verses aren’t the focus, but the chorus can be understand and remembered. Voy a reír, voy a bailar, vivir mi vida, lalala…  The chorus is what your students will walk away singing anyway, so in this situation zero in all of your activities on that part.


How to teach Spanish with authentic songs


3. Plan how you’ll make the song comprehensible.


How can you bridge the gap from what your students know, to the song? There’s a whole lot more out there than what I’ve done in class, but here are some ideas. This will of course depend on how much of the song you plan to use and teach.

-Pre-teach important vocabulary/phrases.

– Listen to the song and project the lyrics onto the board. Focus on the parts you want them to know, and summarize the parts in between so they get the gist of the lyrics. Circle the phrases you want to emphasize, asking personalized questions to the students. In La bicicleta, for example, Shakira says, puedo ser feliz… I pause there, and we discuss. Students might fill in the blank for themselves (puedo ser feliz… tomando café, sin tarea, etc.) I don’t pause and translate/discuss every line, as that would kill the enjoyment. We will listen to the songs many times, so there is plenty of time to study different parts.

– Create an embedded reading to scaffold the text of the song, or summarize each stanza in simplified language. 

– Use the story of the song, and re-write it in simpler terms. If the song video shows the story, they can match the re-written paragraphs to the scenes in the movie. 

– Watch the music video if it’s appropriate (preview, preview preview…  I speak from experience!), and pause to discuss. Use language the students know to discuss what’s happening and to help them interpret the lyrics.

I think songs are one of the best uses of authentic resources. While most of the time I want class to be comprehensible, music is a good way to get students to take risks and try to derive meaning from something above their level.


4. Create some activities to work through the song.


– Try Draw, Write, Check: have your students divide a piece of paper into 4 or 6  parts. Give them a phrase to draw for each part. Then, play the song. Each time they hear the phrase they drew, make a tally mark and check numbers after the song.

– Do an old-fashoined cloze activity. Or, mix it up with movement: students stand up, or do a motion when they hear that term. 

– Type up the lyrics on the left side of a paper, and have students summarize each section on the right.

– Ask several questions (Is the singer sad? What does he wish would happen?) Give the students markers to highlight and color code the lyrics that give evidence for the answers.

– Print the lyrics and cut them apart. The students listen to the song and put them in order while listening. Younger students can do this with picture cards or objects (I do this with Los Pollitos Dicen, using scenes from the song, and Un Elefante Se Balanceaba– the students add elephants to a web).

– Do a music bracket with a list of songs, and have your students vote on their favorites over a month, or set period of time.

– Change the voice of the singer from third to first person, or vice-versa.

– Make up actions and sing along!


If you’re looking for an easy activity packet to teach with authentic songs, you may want to check out my bundle:




More ideas from other teachers on how to teach with authentic music:


¡La música! from Kristy Placido

What can I DO {-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-da} with a song?

– Create a PPT with screenshots of the music video, a la MovieTalk like in this example from Kristy Placido

Música miércoles for using Spanish songs weekly from Mis Clases Locas


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how to teach Spanish with authentic songs


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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Día de los Muertos: A Round-up for Teachers

Día de los Muertos: A Round-up for Teachers

Inside: Day of the dead activities, crafts, videos, and lesson plans for the Spanish classroom.


After the insane box-office numbers of Pixar’s Coco, celebrating Día de muertos in Spanish class is twice as relevant and meaningful. Though not celebrated in every Spanish-speaking location, Day of the Dead has deep roots in many parts of Latin America, and especially in parts of Mexico.

As a new Spanish teacher, I used to be unsure of how to treat holidays. I wanted to include culture, but teaching low-frequency words like “marigold,” “candle,” or “skeleton” seemed a poor use of time. Now I’m discovering part of the reason comprehensible input is magic: I can use any theme or topic to give my students whole, living language.

Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are TONS of resources out there, in Spanish and English, and these are my favorites! Below you can browse my giant collection for Día de muertos, and of course let me know what I’m missing.

Day of the Dead Activities & Ideas

Day of the Dead Lesson Ideas


    • Pre-teach key unfamiliar vocabulary. Infographics or videos are a nice way to introduce words like calavera, vela, etc. 

    • Choose a short film for a MovieTalk. (You can find my favorites embedded below). If you teach various levels, make it easy on yourself by choosing one film to use for all the classes and adjusting the language for each group.

    • Create a story with your class, using Day of the Dead as a theme. Remember that you don’t have to come up with a story from scratch. You can always choose an authentic story like the one below, and re-tell it to your class in simplified language. 

  • Create an ofrenda with your students (see how other teachers have done Day of the Dead ofrendas with their students). 
  • Watch Coco on Netflix (or buy the DVD). 

There are some great free and paid resources on TpT to go with Coco. I loved this free Coco PPT from Arianne Dowd, and this EdPuzzle

  • Watch the Book of Life.

For the Book of Life, you can use: A basic guide with questions from Kara Jacobs, and a free guide for novices from Mis Clases Locas.

Google Arts and Culture


Google Arts and Culture has some amazing resources as well, for exploring Day of the Dead. I really like the video that introduces the holiday with vivid images, and there’s even an interactive altar!



There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can throw use for Day of the Dead. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.

 Credit: Xoximilco blog

Credit: Enter to the Matrix

Image Credit: El Comercio

Visit my Día de Muertos page on Pinterest to find lots more Día de muertos realia!

Crafts and Printables

Free printable for papel picado from Live Colorful. 

Calaca Finger Puppets from Calico Spanish 

Easy Day of the Dead Crafts from Spanish Playground

Free color-by-number Calaveras from Spanish Playground

Sugar-Skull Your Seflie (for Teens) from Crafty Chica

Mini-Altars in a Jar (Image source: Creative Commons Licensed (BY-NC-ND) Flickr photo by Jessica Wilson

Stone Sugar Skulls from Alisa Burke

Día de Muertos Coloring Pages from Rockalingua

Shoebox Altar from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Songs for Day of the Dead


Here are two songs that work for different levels. You can also see my post on Day of the Dead songs, with more options!


Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia 

This song would work well for older students. And check out these amazing resources from Kara Jacobs and Elena Lopez for La Santa Cecilia!


Los esqueletos

This could work for younger students as well. 



Short Films for Day of the Dead

These would make great MovieTalks for a Día de los muertos. You narrate the stories in language the students understand, discuss, possibly type up a reading, and voila!– you have a high-interest, language-packed activity in story-form.

Día de Los Muertos 

I was already planning on using this sweet short film when I came across some amazing resources from Williamson CI & TPRS for doing a MovieTalk. Click here to access a PPT with text and screenshots, activities, and online games. There are also great embedded readings on customs in various countries as well. This is my favorite resource I’ve come across so far, and it’s free!

Another FANTASTIC resource is from Elena Lopez, who put together more resources for “La niña recuerda.


Día de Muertos

Elena Lopez has wonderful resources for this one, too, complete with questions, textivate activities, Kahoot, and more


Dante’s Lunch

Again, Elena Lopz to the rescue with tons of comprehensible free activities for “La Cena de Dante.”

Authentic Videos for Día de Muertos 



More informational videos in Spanish:





Papel picado:


Flores de Cempasuchil:


Cómo hacer una Catrina:


Day of the Dead Makeup:


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Day of the Dead Activities



Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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Lesson 3: Farm Animals in Preschool Spanish

Lesson 3: Farm Animals in Preschool Spanish

Inside: A preschool lesson on farm animals in Spanish, through comprehensible input: stories, songs, and activities for kids.


Lesson 3 Goals: I can name some farm animals.

Target Structures: dice, el caballo, el perro, el gato, la gallina, el cerdo, el pato

Review: Review the ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant from Lesson 2, and sing the songs. 

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre, and salte, Duck, Duck, Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!


Farm Animals in Spanish



The farm animals have already been introduced from Lesson 2, though always with visuals and in the context of dice. Here in Lesson 3, we’ll zero in on the animals themselves. If you landed on this page just looking for activities for farm animals in Spanish, be sure to look over Lesson 2 as well.

Play Los animales Bingo (included in the free download for Unit 1.) You can call out the animal’s names, or say “La vaca dice mu”, etc.




Do ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? Have a bag ready with toy farm animals inside. We sit in a circle, and the kids take turns getting a bag. They have to put their hand in the bag and guess what animal is inside just by feeling it. Once they guess the animal, we talk about it. I circle dice and the animal names each time:

 – ¿Es un caballo? ¡No! ¿Es un pollito? ¡Sí! ¿El pollito dice <muu>? ¡No! ¿El pollito dice <pío>? ¡Sí!, etc.

(Some of the students can’t name the animals yet, even though they are eager for turns. I don’t worry about output yet– the whole activity is designed as a way to catch their attention and get more input.)




Play Duck, Duck, Goose as Pato, pato, pollito. It’s tricky to get the hang of it with little ones, but this has been a big hit in my little class.

Once everyone can play, save this one for a brain break during the rest of the year.



Use the animals videos embedded below for MovieTalks. Show the video and mute the sound or pause the video here and there. Describe and talk about what is happening using words and questions the students know. ¿Es una vaca? ¿Cómo se llama? ¿El gato corre o salta?

The kids can also watch these videos at home, and see what language they can understand. As the class progresses through each unit, they’ll comprehend more and more of these videos.




Color and read the mini-book ¿Cómo dicen los animales? This mini-book gets in lots of dice repetitions, and can be sent home for extra reinforcement.


FB Live


I’ve been hopping onto Facebook recently, to chat about this series and give tips for teaching preschool Spanish. It’s just me and my homemade set up, but hopefully it will help “show” how I use these lessons, myself!


SUPPLEMENTAL Farm Animals Activities and Resources:


This song from Calico Spanish is great. In this version, they say “hace” instead of “dice”– I believe that’s how it is in Spain:


El caballo:


El gallo y la gallina:


El gato:


El perro:


La vaca:



Get the Printables

Free games, printables, mini-books, and more!

Los pollitos dicen


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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