Nos vamos a México by Laura Krebs is one of my favorite Spanish stories for kids. This beautiful book is published by Barefoot Books and is filled with engaging language and culture. It is an excellent way to introduce Spanish language learners to the richness and variety that define the amazing country of Mexico. You can purchase Nos vamos a México from Amazon.
Nos vamos a México is told in rhyming verse that engages children with the sound of the language. The chant Nos vamos, nos vamos, nos vamos a México is repeated throughout the book, and kids chime in as soon as they recognize the pattern. The story follows a family as they travel through the country. Effective Spanish stories for kids learning the language have a close text-to-illustration correspondence. This book has detailed pictures so teachers and parents can point to images to clarify the important words in the story.
The bright illustrations captivate children, and I love that they avoid stereotypes and convey a true sense of Mexico. Children will learn content and vocabulary related to places, music, holidays and history. At the end of the book, there is additional information about Mexican geography, holidays and history.
Spanish Stories for Kids – Activities for Nos Vamos a México
Try these activities to reinforce and extend the language in the book.
Use the map in the book to reinforce language in the story.
Use the map at the back of the book to point out the places in the story as the family travels south. Use verbs and vocabulary from the story: Aquí nadan en el mar. Aquí se suben al tren. Aquí suben a las pirámides. Aquí dan una caminata con las mariposas. Not every page in the story has a place marked on the map, but many do.
Add movement to the story with yoga poses.
Yoga is a wonderful way to represent vocabulary from the book and at the same time get kids moving. Kids Yoga Stories has a sequence of poses for Nos vamos a México. The yoga poses are not done in the order the vocabulary appears in the book. You can find illustrations of the poses on their web site.
Doing yoga poses is a good way to work with new vocabulary from Spanish stories for kids. A yoga sequence also makes a quick, easy review of the words once children are familiar with them. Use the book to display the illustrations or arrange other pictures to support the language as you do the poses. You can learn more about doing yoga with kids in Spanish here.
As you do the yoga sequence for Nos vamos a México from Kids Yoga Stories, you will act out this vocabulary: las montañas, el sol, las pirámides, nadando, las ballenas, el tren, las mariposas, las estrellas. As you do the poses with the children, use the Spanish words. You can use sentences like these:
– Las montañas van primero. – The mountains come first.
– Estoy nadando. – I’m swimming.
– ¡Estás nadando también! – You’re swimming too!
– Vamos a ser ballenas. – Let’s be whales.
– La postura es así. – The pose is like this (model with a short explanation)
– ¿Lo puedes hacer también? – Can you do it, too?
– Hazlo tú. – You do it.
– Ahora va el tren. – Next comes the train.
– ¿Ves las mariposas? – Do you see the butterflies?
– Soy una mariposa. – I’m a butterfly.
Encourage children to chant Nos vamos, nos vamos, nos vamos a México.
The chant in the book is a wonderful way to get children producing Spanish. Each new place is introduced with Nos vamos, nos vamos, nos vamos a México, and kids will naturally join in as you turn the page. You can have fun with this by clapping or stomping your feet as you chant.
Use the chant to reinforce place vocabulary.
You can also combine this chant with the vocabulary in the book and act out going to different locations. Designate areas in the room using simple drawings of places in the book: la playa, las montañas, las pirámides, el mercado, la plaza, el hogar de las mariposas, la capital. Move from place to place by asking ¿Adónde nos vamos? and then answering ¡Nos vamos a las montañas! Everyone moves to the place you name.
Identify words from the text in the illustrations.
You can point to pictures in Spanish stories for kids to help them learn vocabulary. As you read Nos vamos a Mexico, use complete sentences with verbs like veo and hay: Veo el tren. Hay muchas guitarras. If the vocabulary is new, just point to the words as you say the sentences. When your child knows the words, you can ask ¿Dónde está..?, ¿Ves…? and ¿Puedes encontrar…?
These words are used in the text on the indicated pages and also appear in the illustrations:
el castillo de arena
los fuegos artificiales
Use the illustrations to reinforce and expand vocabulary by pointing out items not mentioned in the story.
You can point to illustrations in Spanish stories for kids to help them learn vocabulary even if the words are not in the text. Point to items in the pictures using complete sentences with verbs like veo and hay: Veo los peces. Hay plátanos. If the vocabulary is new, just point to the words as you say the sentences. When your child knows the words, you can ask ¿Dónde está..?, ¿Ves…? and ¿Puedes encontrar…?
los lentes de sol
la mujer con flores
Play Me gusta el color…
Once your child is familiar with the book, play the guessing game Me gusta el color…to talk about the illustrations and colors. To play, when you finish reading the text on a page choose something that appears on that page (without saying what it is) and say its color, for example, Me gusta el color rosado. Your child points to pink things on the page until she finds the thing you are thinking of. If you want to be sure your child understands the color word you are using, point to something in your surroundings or on the cover to clarify. On the next page it is your child’s turn to say Me gusta el color…
Point out the rhyming words in the story.
Once children are familiar with the story, help them identify the rhyming words on each page.
In English, children learn to recognize what is called perfect rhyme, or true rhyme, where the vowel and consonant sounds are the same from the stressed vowel on. These will be the easiest rhymes for them to hear in Spanish. In the story, you will find these pairs of perfect rhyming words: puente-siente, conocer-doquier, antiquísimo-bellísimo, pies-vez, mercados-desplegados, emoción-canción, impaciencia-independencia, ver-placer, terminar-contar.
Another type of rhyme, assonant rhyme, is very common in Spanish. Beginning with the stressed syllable, the vowel sounds in each syllable are the same, but the consonants do not have to be the same. So, the words hierba and pierda rhyme and so do ola and hoja. In the story, you will find these pairs of words with assonant rhyme: arena-ballenas, monarcas-abarcan. This kind of rhyme is common in Spanish stories for kids, so it is worth pointing out to children learning the language.
Use related words to reinforce and expand vocabulary – Printable Activity
Many of the words in the story are used with another word that has a related meaning. Helping children see the association reinforces their understanding of both words. The pairs of related words below are used together in the text.
Here is a printable activity with the same pairs. Children can do the activity as you reread the story.
mariposas – alas
pirámide – antiquísimo
ballenas – agua
tren – puente
guitarra – música
mercado – mercancía
bailarinas – girar
bandera – tricolor
Play ¿Qué está diciendo…?
A family with a mother, a father, a boy, a girl, and a baby appears in all the illustrations. In this game, you imagine what the members of the family are saying. For example, the first pages are a beach scene. The father is standing with the girl and pointing, so you could say El papá dice, “¡Mira, ballenas!” This is a great way to take advantage of the wonderful illustrations to practice lots of common phrases and verbs.
Use the information at the end of the book to learn more about Mexico.
Share the information about Mexican geography, history and culture. You may want to focus on an upcoming holiday and look for photographs of the celebration. Help children make connections and draw parallels with other countries as they learn about the native people of Mexico and the country’s struggle for independence.
Visit the Barefoot Books website to purchase Nos vamos a México and other wonderful books. You can find activities, crafts, podcasts and videos on their page For Kids.
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