While I am here in Mexico, I bought more of these pinzas to use in my classes and I realized that I should share of my clothespin activities. I use wooden clothespins too, but I like these because of they are smaller (for little hands), washable, brightly colored and I get 30 for 10 pesos (about 75 cents).
Clothespin activities are a fun way to practice listening and speaking skills in Spanish. The idea is simple: everyone has a card and a clothespin. They hear a question or prompt and clip the clothespin on the card to mark the answer. Clipping on the clothespin engages children physically and helps them process the language at a deeper level.
These activities are high interest for children of all ages. Little ones are intrigued by clipping on the clothespins. Older kids working in pairs (I have them sit back to back) like the activities because they can quickly compare answers. Also, by varying the task, cards can be used again and again with groups at different levels.
It is easy to think of clothespin activities as strictly listening practice because often a teacher or parent is asking the question. Clothespin activities can provide excellent speaking opportunities for kids, too. It is important that we encourage children to speak as much Spanish as possible and these activities are focused enough that Spanish language learners at all levels can do them. Having done the activity once or with a model, kids can ask the questions. In a classroom setting, they can take turns giving instructions to the group or they can work in pairs. Even my youngest students can call out numbers for ¿Qué número escuchas?
You can make clothespin activities to practice almost any vocabulary or content. Below are links to my PDFs for vowels, numbers and simple math problems. With all these activities, use full sentences as you ask your questions and encourage your child to do the same.
These are the kinds of questions you can ask with these printable Spanish clothespin activities.
¿Qué número escuchas?
Ask your child to mark a specific number: Encuenta el número tres or Encuentra el tres.
Ask your child to mark the number she hears in a sentence: Mi hermana tiene seis años. Son las doce de la tarde. Mañana es el quince de julio.
Ask your child to mark one of the vowels and give examples of words that begin with that sound: Indica la A. La A es de avión. La A es de ala. La palabra águila también empieza con A.
These are a few of the words you can use as examples of initial vowel sounds:
- A de ala, avión, águila, abeja, araña, ardilla, anillo, atún, agua, árbol, ángel
- E de elefante, esqueleto, espada, erizo, estrella, esquíar, espada,espejo, escoba, España, escuchar
- I de iglú, iglesia, iguana, imán, isla, impresora, insecto, idea, imposible, imaginación
- O de ola, oso, ocho, oveja, oreja, ojo, otoño, oir, olla
- U de uno, uña, uvas, unicornio, universo, usar
You can also have your child listen for the vowel sound in words that have just one vowel:
¿Qué vocal lleva la palabra moto? ¿Qué vocal lleva la palabra pez?
Here are a few words that have just one vowel sound (there are many more):
- moto, taza, rana, pan, sal, paz, lata, pala, cama, casa, pez, red, tres, sin, fin, sí, ti, vi, gol, dos, sol, col, lobo, pozo, mono, luz, cruz
I use this clothespin activity with simple math problems. With the printable card the answer has to be a number between 1 and 20. When children are asking the questions, you can have a set of cards with problems for them to draw from.
For example you can ask:
- addition problems
¿Cuánto es 6 más 3? (También se dice ¿Cuánto es 6 y 3?) To answer can you say, 6 más 3 es igual a 9, 6 más 3 igual a nueve, or 6 y 3 son nueve.
- subtraction problems
¿Cuánto es 10 menos 2? 10 menos 2 (es) igual a ocho.
- multiplication problems
¿Cuánto es 8 por 2? 8 por 2 (es) igual a 16 or 8 por 2 son 16.
- division problems
¿Cuánto es 15 dividido por 3? ¿Cuánto es 15 entre 3? 15 dividido por 3 (es) igual a 5. 15 entre 3 (es) igual a 5.
¿Con qué letra empieza?
To do this activity, ask ¿Con qué letra empieza la palabra …..? When children are asking the questions, they can draw from a set of cards with pictures or look at a sheet with pictures to use as a reference.
These are some of the words you can use:
- A – ala, avión, águila, abeja, araña, ardilla, anillo, atún, agua, árbol, ángel, ancla, abanico
- E – elefante, esqueleto, espada, erizo, estrella, esquíar, espada, espejo, escoba, España, escuchar
- I – iglú, iglesia, iguana, imán, isla, impresora, insecto, idea, imposible, imaginación
- O – ola, oso, ocho, oveja, oreja, ojo, otoño, oir, olla
- U – uno, uña, uvas, unicornio, universo, usar
Links to Printable Spanish Clothespin Activities
Print these activities on card stock and cut them out. You can laminate them if you want them to last longer.
You might also be interested in this post: Printable Spanish Activities – Listen and Draw