Inside: Tips and resources 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 teaching Spanish to your kids!
The goal CAN be 100% fluency. It can also be a boost before they study Spanish later.
Whether it’s a little or a lot– it’s a gift!
Language -with all of its magnificent complexity- is one of the greatest gifts we give our children. Yet, we so often treat our verbal communication with children in a casual way. It is a misconception that children learn language passively. Language acquisition is a product of active, repetitive, and complex learning. The child’s brain is learning and changing more during language acquisition in the first six years of life than during any other cognitive ability he is working to acquire.Scholastic
Maybe you’re even a native speaker, unsure of how to start speaking Spanish with your kids. If that’s you, read how this mom started teaching her son Spanish at 4. It’s never too late!
Learn Spanish with Kids at Home: A Guide
This post is packed with links to resources you can use right away. I’ll offer a couple of tips, and then you can browse this list for ways to bring Spanish into your home.
If there’s a section that you want to see right away, click to jump to that part.
- Learn with Spanish Books
- Learn with Free Online Resources (songs, apps, podcasts, and YouTube)
- Spanish Curriculum Recommendations
- Make a Spanish Learning Notebook
- Play Games and Get Moving in Spanish
- You (the Parent) Can Teach Yourself Spanish Too!
Some Basic Tips to Learn Spanish at Home:
First, a few 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?
- First, take a little time to make a realistic plan. How often will you work on Spanish with your kids? Are there certain days or times when you can commit? Start small, stick to it, and then add more if you can.
- Gather some physical resources. I have tons of suggestions below, so grab a basket or make some space on a shelf. Go ahead a put the CD in your car or put some books in your child’s room for bedtime.
Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas to learn Spanish with kids at home!
1. Learn Spanish with Kids Through Books
Reading in Spanish together is a perfect way to learn very beginning words or develop semi-fluent kids even more. You can slip a Spanish book into your nighttime reading basket to ease into it.
Spanish Books for kids
If you want to teach your kids Spanish, start building up a library today. I have some GREAT Spanish book lists and many even include a printable list to take to the library.
If you took some high school Spanish but don’t feel comfortable producing language on your own, books are perfect.
FREE Online Spanish Books
What if your budget is really tight, or your local library doesn’t have a great Spanish selection? No worries – each year there are more and more options for online Spanish books, many with audio options as well.
2. Learn Spanish with Kids through Online Resources
You don’t have to even leave your home to access all kids of amazing Spanish resources. Here’s a rundown of the top resources so you don’t have to go hunting for them! I have a list of 100 Spanish online resources you can browse IF you’re up for it! Otherwise take a peek at my top picks below.
Spanish songs and Playlists
Music is one of the best (and easiest) ways to learn Spanish. You can choose to listen on YouTube (where the lyrics are often visible) or copy one of my Spotify playlists and listen in the car.
I also have a huge page, packed with Spanish songs that are organized by themes like greeting songs, animals, colors. etc.
Learn spanish for kids with apps
This is always one of my top posts– we know kids love apps, so why not make a Spanish-learning app? Gus on the Go and Spanish School Bus are both good for young kids, but there are many more options for different levels.
Spanish Podcasts for kids
Podcasts are another excellent way to get Spanish listening in. They are also perfect for busy families, or something to turn on while little hands are busy coloring or doing puzzles. Eat Your Spanish is the best option for beginners, as many podcasts are designed with semi-fluent kids in mind.
YouTube Spanish Learning Channels
You can find some great free classes on YouTube, or fun shows that introduce kids (even teens!) to the Spanish language. (Although some families consider switching Netflix or Disney+ straight to Spanish, that can be frustrating to kids I recommend shows designed for learners to keep it comprehensible and not “noise.”)
Spanish storytimes at the library are a wonderful way to learn and connect with other families. If that’s not an option for you, here are some online options!
3. Get a Spanish curriculum to use at home
If you prefer a more formal, structured approach to learning, you’ll want to explore a curriculum that has lessons outlined for you. Here are 3 recommendations I have for you!
Free 6-Unit Spanish Starter Kit
I created this series to take families through the basics of Spanish learning together. Each unit (I call it a “lesson”) has a PDF you can download and print. They include vocabulary cards, worksheets, games, and stories. This is a great place to start Elementary kids!
PreK Los Pollitos Curriculum
This curriculum is a thorough introduction to Spanish through storytelling, games, and songs, based on the song “Los pollitos dicen.” It also includes video and audio content in case you’re not a native speaker.
The Cultured Kid
If you prefer a video-based curriculum, another option is The Culture Kid.
4. Make a learning Notebook
Spanish Learning Notebooks
It helps to have one central place for any worksheets, vocabulary cards, or games you may use as you’re learning Spanish. A simple notebook system can help keep you on track!
Spanish Illustrated Dictionary
If you are doing a mix of things– a podcast here, a song there– it can feel scattered. To keep track of your new phrases, you can also do a simple dictionary or pictionary.
5. Use Movement as you learn!
Get everyone up and moving as you learn new words, sing songs, or play games. Movement (and some silliness!) obviously helps kids get more excited about learning Spanish, and it also helps their memory.
Games for Learning Spanish
Kids learn best when they’re having FUN!
I have lots of game ideas, so you can hop over to my Spanish games page to see what you need (PreK games? vocabulary games? Bingo templates?).
Zumba and DaNce Spanish Videos
You can add some Spanish into your day with this list of dance and zumba videos.
This is a fun list of Yoga videos for kids.
6. Learn Spanish With Your Kids
Unless you plan on hiring a tutor or enrolling your kids in a dual-language school, most of their learning depends on you, the parents. So if you’re really, really committed– you’ll need to learn along with your children.
A lot of your learning can happen as you use the activities above with your kids. Ideally, though, you’re also working on your own.
Spanish Learning for Adults
If you only have a tiny bit of time, I recommend choosing a Podcast you can listen to during the day.
Or, browse my list and pick several resources interesting just to you!
I hope these ideas were helpful to you as you learn Spanish at home! If you have more ideas, let me know in the comments below.
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