It is important for kids to be able to introduce themselves, so we teach our children and students to say my name is in Spanish when they are very young, or in their first classes. They also learn to understand the Spanish question what is your name?, ¿Cómo te llamas?.
In Spanish, my name is has a different structure than in English. It uses a reflexive verb (I call myself), and the difference in the structures makes it important for children to hear and internalize the Spanish phrase from a young age if they are learning both languages.
Spanglish House has a description of the activity she does with her students to teach my name is in Spanish. It involves movement and rhythm, which are always great aids in learning new language. This post on Spanish introductions is part of her ABCs of Spanglish-house series. Be sure to check back as she shares more activities!
One of the easiest way to teach very little children to answer the Spanish question what is your name is with name tags. If you wear a name tag and point to it as you say me llamo and your name, children will understand and answer with their name when you ask ¿Cómo te llamas? Even if I do not need name tags with a group, I will use them for the first few classes to teach this question. In larger groups, I will have the name tags spread out on a table, so that I can ask each child and we can look together for the name tag. Ideally I do this before class officially starts, but in any case it does not take long.
Using name tags in the beginning also provides a good excuse to continue to review asking what is your name when you stop using them. I go around the circle quickly asking ¿Cómo te llamas? at the beginning of class. I stay in the target language this way: Díganme cómo se llaman porque son ¡muchos nombres! (very dramatic and then list a bunch of random names not necessarily in the class). Me ayuda escucharlos (tap my temple, tap my ear). Me llamo Jenny, ¿Cómo te llamas…? (go around the class).
Another way to teach my name is in Spanish is to sing. I sing to the tune of the first lines of Old McDonald: Me llamo Jenny. Me llamo Jenny. ¿Cómo te llamas tú. After the first child has answered, I go ahead and sing the name of that child with her as she asks the next person. This works well for kids that are in kindergarten or older and they quickly learn to sing it by themselves and go around a circle.
Finally, I often use a puppet with little children. I tell them from the beginning that Paco (a dog puppet, named after my daughter’s dog in Peru) only speaks Spanish. So, when he asks them ¿Cómo te llamas? they have to answer in Spanish and then they can ask him his name. I have found that puppets get by far the best choral response out of a group of three or four year olds!
You may also be interested in this post: Spanish greetings – Teach kids with finger puppets