Traditional Spanish hand clapping games combine language, movement, rhythm and culture. There are many juegos de manos (juegos de palmas, juegos de palmadas) with fun songs and actions, and children learn a lot of Spanish as they play. I think Spanish hand clapping games are a great activity for language learners of any age.
Exploring art and artists provides a wonderful context for learning language. Although many of the artists we talk about in Spanish classes are from Latin America or Spain, we also learn about artists from other cultures. Jackson Pollock’s art is an excellent way to practice Spanish colors and learn about this American artist.
In my family, we call this game Basta, but it many names. It is called Tutti frutti, ¡Mercadito!, Stop, Lápiz quieto, Animales con E, Alto el fuego, or Ensalada rusa, depending on the country. A Basta game is fun Spanish vocabulary practice as players think of words in categories that begin with a certain letter.
Not long after I started Spanish Playground, Adam Beck began writing his blog Bilingual Monkeys. As I read his early posts, I recognized a talented educator and a kindred spirit. His book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability (Amazon) was released last year, and since then I have recommended it often to parents raising bilingual children. Without fail, their reaction is…
Video is a wonderful source of language for young learners. With video, students can hear different native speaker voices supported by a visual context. Often, video also has cultural content that is hard to access in other ways. Try these video activities for language class to make the most of this powerful technology.