I hope that Spanish Playground will be a place you can find practical advice and useful material for teaching Spanish to children. Visitors to the site teach in many different situations, from homeschooling to elementary Spanish programs. Some are native speakers of Spanish and others are parents who have studied Spanish and want to expose their children to the language at home.
Regardless of the curriculum we use, our level of Spanish, or the age of the children we teach, we all need resources and ideas. Spanish Playground is a source of supplemental material, activities, songs, and games. You will find recommendations of music and books. There are also links to authentic language activities which are appropriate for, or can be adapted to, Spanish language learners. What material is useful to you will depend on your situation, but be sure to contact me if you are looking for something specific or have questions about any of the resources mentioned on Spanish Playground.
Materials on Spanish Playground:
I share many of the activities that I make for my students. I hope they are useful or serve as examples.
Picture Book Suggestions
Listening to Spanish language picture books, children learn vocabulary and grammar structures in context. Ideally, they also hear correct pronunciation. For those learning Spanish with their children, books with audio CDs are a great resource.
When children play games in Spanish, they are using the language to have fun. Games, whether tag, rock-scissors-paper, or a card game, teach language through repetition and context.
When children sing, they produce correct, natural Spanish. In choosing songs to use with my classes, I consider grammar, vocabulary, and also what is fun to sing. Songs with actions that reinforce meaning are particularly effective learning tools.
Online Games and Activities
There are many activities online that are designed for native Spanish speaking children. These can be appropriate for Spanish language learners if they are chosen carefully and images clarify the meaning of the language. In addition, native speaker audio is a tremendous resource for non-native speakers working with children. These authentic language materials, if selected carefully and supported, can be very helpful to teachers and parents.
Posts with Photographs
Photographs are an important resource for parents and teachers working to provide context for language. The posts related to photographs are models of some of the types of activities that can be done with children using pictures. Entries labeled Learn Spanish with Pictures have a photograph, a description of the photo and a series of questions to help you talk about the picture with children.
These posts offer suggestions on selecting and using specific vocabulary. There are examples of how to incorporate phrases into a daily routine and activities that use the vocabulary. There are also many activities that use vocabulary related to different themes.
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I have been fortunate to have a career that lets me indulge my love of languages and share it with others. I taught university Spanish and ESL in Wisconsin for over twenty years. I have also taught English to immigrants and Spanish to children in elementary school, home day cares, preschools, homeschooling groups and private classes.
I taught my three children Spanish as they were growing up. They all speak beautifully, and it is an important part of their professional and personal lives. My oldest daughter is a translator and project manager in Lima, Peru. My son is graduating from medical school and will do his residency in New Orleans. My youngest daughter is graduating from law school at the University of Chicago and will do a Federal Clerkship with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Work and family take me to Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru many times during the year.