An Easy-Peasy Activity to Learn Spanish with Songs

An Easy-Peasy Activity to Learn Spanish with Songs

Inside: A fun & easy activity to learn Spanish with songs in class, only using a piece of paper.

 

One of my favorite things about teaching textbook-free is that authentic songs in Spanish are central to class now. If you’re not sure how to start, read how to teach Spanish with authentic songs, and then browse my suggestions for Songs in Spanish by theme and category, for all ages.

I can be a scatter-brained teacher, and my go-to activities are always the simple ones. I call this listening activity Draw, Listen, Check. It works for authentic songs and only requires a piece of paper– perfect for last-minute fillers and reinforcement. Here’s how it goes!

 

Draw, Listen, Check: An Activity to Learn Spanish with Songs

 

Choose a song your class is already familiar with. Pull out 4-6 structures you want to emphasize, and write them on the board, or dictate them. The students should divide a paper into 4-6 sections, and quickly illustrate one structure into each square.

This is what one student drew when we did Vivir mi vida by Marc Antony. The target structures were:

  • la lluvia
  • reír
  • bailar
  • vivir mi vida
  • para qué llorar
  • para qué sufrir

Draw, listen, check image

Erase the target structures from the board, and play the song without showing the lyrics. The students should put a check mark in the boxes each time they hear the corresponding phrase. That’s all!

This is not an assessment, but just a quick way to highlight the target structures, get some input, and practice listening skills. My students like it because it’s low-pressure and they usually see it as a personal competition to get the closest score.

Some variations on Draw, Listen, Check:

  • Pair up the students. Cut up one paper by section, and spread out the papers on a surface between the students. Listen to the song again, and students try to slap the phrase they hear, first. I literally have no way to keep track of points– this one is probably best for small, responsible classes.

 

  • Before listening to the song, use the phrases to play Charades or Pictionary.

 

  • Some songs repeat certain phrases a LOT. If you have a song like that, crumple up a piece of paper after doing Draw, Write, Check. Stand in a circle and play the song. Give the paper to one student, to start. Every time the phrase is sung, the student can pass the paper to the next person. If you pause the song, the student holding the paper is out. (See? Like Hot Potato!)

 

Continue as long as you like until you have a winner or several winners.This would be a really fun brain break!!

Have more ideas for learning Spanish through songs? Leave a comment!

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Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Spanish Online for Free

A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Spanish Online for Free

Inside: Teach yourself Spanish, with these free online Spanish resources.

This is the list I wish I’d had as a new teacher, or as a Spanish learner myself! Here I’ve collected my favorite online Spanish resources, and all are free (though some may have paid upgrade options). These are great for supplementing in the classroom or practicing at home.

If you are looking for a younger crowd, I’ve got a great list of sites to learn Spanish online with kids, an Spanish Netflix shows and cartoons, for kids.

 

Teach Yourself Spanish: Online Interactive Lessons

 

1. DuoLingo is great as far as free lessons go. You can use it online, although it’s most convenient as an app. Take a placement test and move through lessons at your own pace. DuoLingo can be a little frustrating because it can be picky about small errors, but it seems to be improving. There is also a new stories feature, that seems to be more in line with comprehensible input!

2. Fluencia Similar to DuoLingo, this site/app takes you through bite-sized lessons that include listening, speaking, and reading.

3. FSI I haven’t personally used this site, but it came strongly recommend here. Put out Foreign Service Institute to train foreign workers and officials, it includes an online textbook and audio lessons.

4. Busuu The free version is a bit limited, but gives self-paced interactive lessons and connects you to native speakers as well.

 

Learn Spanish Online with Videos

 

1. Mi Vida Loca This series is one of the best online Spanish resources! Created for absolute beginners, you get an immersive adventure set in Spain, with lessons along the way. There’s a tad more English than I’d like, but it’s still great. I created a series of games and links to accompany each episode, as well as a free packet to accompany the first 5 episodes.

MI VIDA LOCA Games and Activities

 

2. Dreaming Spanish

 

3. Extra Extra en español exposes learners to Spanish, in the context of a sitcom-like setting (similiar to the show Friends), through 13 episodes. The show is really funny, and though most teachers don’t have any problem showing it, the romance scenes are super exaggerated (awkward? weird?) Parents/teachers might want to preview. Here’s the first episode:

 

4. Destinos So Destinos is a bit dated. If you can get past that, it’s a great resource! 52 episodes follow a lawyer around the world as she tries to solve a mystery. They’re a great way to get immersed in Spanish in the context of a telenova, with culture thrown in too. See episode 1 here:

 

5. Video Ele is a series of videos that introduce different themes and strutures, with some culture thrown in. My students find them a teensy boring out of context, but for a motivated learner or to show a specific topic in class, they’re great! Here’s an example:

 

6. 5 Minute Spanish A grammar-based approach, these videos are short, concise clips on iTunes that take you through the traditional Spanish 1 progression. Also includes a free downloadable textbook.

7. ¿Eres tú, María? A mystery series set in Madrid, for Spanish learners who have been studying for a few months already.

 

Teach Yourself Spanish with Authentic Listening

1. Spanish Proficiency Exercises All are video recordings of native speakers from different countries, and are organized by proficiency tasks and levels (score!).

2. Spanish Listening This is another gold mine of native speakers, with videos divided by topic and level. There are also activities to go with each recording.

3. Radio Ambulante Produced by NPR, this podcast contains Latin American stories and is best suited for intermediate to advanced learners.

4. Lyrics Training An online fill-in-the-blank activity for listening to music in Spanish.

5. Ver-Taal Authentic commericals, trailers, newscasts, and more in Spanish, with comprehension activities as well.

6. Learn Spanish Podcasts Very cool site for learning Spanish through comprehensible podcasts (not for absolute beginners), with transcripts included.

 

Online Spanish Resources: Reading Practice

 

1. BBC Mundo World news in Spanish.

2. People en español

3. ESPN in Spanish

4. Newsela This is a great resource for news articles. The best thing is that you can choose grade levels to simplify the reading if desired.

 

Spanish Grammar Resources

 

1. Study Spanish This website has most Spanish grammar topics broken down into lessons. The explanations are clear with examples, and there are a variety of ways to practie.

2. Spanish Language & Culture Lots of grammar activities and in-context practice, with some listening and song activities thrown in.

3. 121 Spanish Is a well-organized site, with video as well as grammar activities.

4. Señor Jordan A Spanish teacher, Señor Jordan has a series of YouTube videos explaining various Spanish structures, with some songs as well. Since I don’t do much grammar in class, this is a great online Spanish resource that my students can do at home. He also now teaches using comprehensible input, and is beginning to create storytelling videos that teach grammar as a pop-up. Here’s an example:

 

What sites did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Best Free Online Spanish Resources

Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

The Ultimate Free Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids

The Ultimate Free Guide to Learn Spanish Online with Kids

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

SHOWS 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 stories and conversations online as well.

 

4. ¡Habla Jorge!

 

 

5. Maguaré

If mom or dad speak some Spanish, and the kids aren’t complete novices, Maguaré is a huge website from Colombia, packed with stories, songs, online books, and more. 

AUTHENTIC SHOWS in SPANISH

 

If you already have Netflix, you can see my Spanish cartoons on Netflix page

 

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. Pocoyó
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCQQXfpbPfE
 

LEARN SPANISH ONLINE WITH 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. Super Simple Spanish
An excellent resource for Spanish learners. Highly comprehensible, with songs that go beyond simple themes of numbers and colors, with communicative language. See the official YouTube channel

 

 

3. Rockalingua
Rockalingua has many songs for Spanish learners by topic as well.

 

 

4. 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.

 

 

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

 

 

5. Basho & Friends
Elementary-aged student students will find Basho & Friends feels less “little kid” but still comprehensible.  YouTube channel here.

 

LEARN SPANISH WITH KIDS ONLINE

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 by Spanish Mama
These stories are told in picture format with only beginning vocabulary Some of these would be better for older elementary.

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. ÁrbolABC
Literacy activities similar to ABC Mouse, but in Spanish. 

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

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

 

Learn Spanish Online With Kids

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

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Learn Spanish Online with Kids

Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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. Changing the audio to Spanish is a great way to maximize the screen time you allow, and make Spanish time extra-enjoyable. 

In our situation, 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 ever-expanding 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!

(Not sure how to adjust the audio? Read here how to change Netflix language settings and audio – if you are learning Spanish with your kids, turn on the subtitles and everyone can get some Spanish immersion together!)

 

 

If you are looking for something for yourself, here’s a list of great Spanish shows on Netflix. Or check out:

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. Curious George

Originally aired on PBS, Curious George is about a monkey who is always getting into trouble, and a perennial favorite with kids. It’s also good for beginners, with it’s slower pacing. 

 

4. The Magic School Bus Rides Again

Here’s something older kids will appreciate! Netflix brought back the classic Mrs. Frizzle, and it’s available in Spanish too.  

 

 

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. Masha and the Bear

Originally produced as a shows for kids in Russian, Masha and the Bear is a lovable show based on the adventures of a young girl named Masha, and her bear friend. 

 

 

7. 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!)

 

8. 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

 

 

More Shows in Spanish on Netflix for Kids:

 

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

1. PJ Masks

 

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. The Cat in the Hat

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. Lego Friends

21. My Little Pony

22. El Chavo del Ocho

23. Super Wings

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

11. Piglet’s Big Movie. 

 

 

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

 

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Spanish Cartoons on Netflix

Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

Inside: Spanish-speaking countries and capitals map and game cards.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, a perfect time to introduce geography for Spanish-speaking countries. I’ve made a map and set of cards that teach countries, capitals, maps, and country shapes, as well as a few quick facts about each country. In this free download, you can also find directions for games like Go Fish, Concentration, and Slap-it. A color set is in included, as well as black and white in case you want your kids/students to color in the flags themselves.

Spanish-speaking Countries and Capitals Map and Game Cards

Though I like to use games to introduce lists like this, remember that memorizing a list won’t necessarily produce students who love culture. If my students are really going to connect to far away places, they needs stories, videos, food, and songs (and of course travel, if possible) to produce real affection. Hopefully these fun games will help you painlessly and quickly introduce geography, so that when you do listen to a Colombian artist or watch a clip from Puerto Rico, everyone knows the context.

 

These links are helpful for remembering and connecting to Spanish-speaking countries:

 

Simple repetition for names/capitals, while showing map:

 

 

For older students (the original video is cool, but on the line for school-appropriate):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hispanic artists by country:

 

http://musicaenespanol.weebly.com/

 

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Printable card games for Spanish-speaking countries and capitals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series!

 

 

 

September 14
Hanna Cheda on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Pass on Hispanic Heritage as an Expat

 

 

 

September 15
Spanish Mama: Los Pollitos Dicen Printable Puppets

 

 

 

September 16
Hispanic Mama: Children’s Shows that Kids in Latin America Grew Up With

 

 

 

September 19
Spanish Playground: Authentic Hispanic Heritage Month Games Everyone Can Play

 

 

 

September 20
Tiny Tapping Toes: Exploring Instruments for Hispanic Heritage Month

 

 

 

September 21
Kid World Citizen on Multicultural Kid Blogs

 

 

 

September 22
Spanish Mama

 

 

 

September 23
All Done Monkey

 

 

 

September 26
Crafty Moms Share

 

 

 

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

 

 

 

September 28
La Clase de Sra. DuFault

 

 

 

September 29
Embracing Diversity

 

 

 

September 30
Mama Tortuga

 

 

 

October 3
Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs

 

 

 

October 4
La Clase de Sra. DuFault

 

 

 

October 5
Pura Vida Moms

 

 

 

October 7
Spanglish House

 

 

 

October 10
Mundo Lanugo

 

 

 

October 11
Kid World Citizen

 

 

 

October 12
MommyMaestra

 

 

 

October 13
inspired by familia

 

 

 

October 14
El Mundo de Pepita on Multicultural Kid Blogs

 

 

 

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío Lyrics and Free Printables

Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío Lyrics and Free Printables

Inside: Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío lyrics, printables, and activities for kids.

 

Los pollitos dicen is one of my favorite songs in Spanish for kids. It’s also perfect for families learning Spanish– the song is packed with high-frequency phrases like tengo hambre, tienen frío, and duermen. 

We like it so much I created an entire Spanish Preschool series based on the song, with enough materials to last a year. Click on the link above if you want in-depth resources. 

In this post, I’m wrapping up that series with activities for teaching the song. Read on if you want some great activities and free printables you can use right away!

 

Los pollitos dicen pío pío pío Activities

 

los pollitos craft

Choose as many as you like, or do all of them!

 

1. Listen to the song. 

Here are my favorites from YouTube. (Below you can find the lyrics online and as a printable.)

 

 

 

2. Make Los pollitos dicen puppets. 

 

To make the song more hands-on, and emphasize dice, make my pollito puppet. Cut out the pollitos, and then make another cut so the top part of the head is separate. Glue each piece onto the top and bottom of a clothespin. Now your pollito can open and close its mouth when it’s time to say, – pió, pío, pío!

Los pollitos dicen puppets and lyrics

If you are teaching Spanish, you can also use this to talk about the little chicks and gets lots of reps for dice. Ask your students, ¿El pollito dice, – guau, guau? Nooo! El pollito dice, -maa, maa? Noo! El pollito dice, -pío!

 

spanish preschool puppets

 

 

3. Make a mini-book of the lyrics from the song. 

 

Download my free mini-book, to color and read at home or in class. With illustrations, the song is extra comprehensible for Spanish learners. 

los pollitos dicen mini-book

 

Download the Los pollitos dicen mini-book

los pollitos dicen pío pío pío

 

4. Act out the song. 

 

Attach motions to the song and act them out while singing. Once everyone has learned them well, use props or masks and act out the lyrics as a class. You can choose one child to be the gallina, or the teacher can act out that part. 

 

5. Sequence the song lyrics with picture cards. 

 

Make (or buy) cards that depict each scene of the lyrics. Read aloud the lyrics of the song, and have the students put the pictures in order, or in a pocket chart in the front of the classroom. Once they are familiar with this activity, they can try it while listening to the song itself. 

preschool Spanish lesson

 

Additional Resources:

 

If you are teaching older students, I also have a free printable on TpT. You’ll get the lyrics and several listening/lyrics activities. 

 

You can also purchase lessons on Los pollitos dicen (the first unit is free!):


Los pollitos dicen

 

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free resources for Spanish preschool

 

 

Welcome

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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