Spring has officially arrived, and with summer just around the corner many schools and families will be taking trips to the zoo. Like many people, I have mixed feelings about zoos, but there is no doubt that they provide wonderful educational opportunities for children. Whether you are visiting a zoo in person or learning about the amazing animals on the planet in other ways, here are some resources to help you do it in Spanish.
Spanish zoo animal cards
I made these printable zoo animal cards with Spanish text to use in all kinds of activities, including matching, board games, relays and hiding games. There are 24 animals on the cards. You can find a list of ideas for using cards in this post about farm animal card activities.
Story – Los leones no comen banana
This story by Ruth Kaufman is about a little boy who helps his father feed the zoo animals. It is very short and perfect for beginning language learners because it uses simple sentences like these:
¡No, Pedro, no! a los elefantes no les gusta la carne.
– A comer
– ¡No Pedro, no! Los osos no comen pasto.
This story is included in a PDF made available online as part of the Plan Lectura Nacional de Argentina. It begins on page 24 of the El libro de lectura de bicentenario: Inicial (the third publication on the page). The story uses the pronoun vos twice, but you can easily use the tú form as you read.
Zoo animal yoga sequence
Kids Yoga Stories has a fun yoga sequence to go with a zoo picture book. As you do the sequence, say the words in Spanish. Movement has been shown to enhance language learning and kids love it! In the sequence, you will use this vocabulary:
elephant – el elefante
crocodile – el cocodrilo
bear – el oso
tiger – el tigre
hippo – el hipopótamo
Spanish zoo songs
There are lots of songs in Spanish about going to the zoo. Some are based on English songs that kids may already know. Here are a couple that work well with kids learning Spanish.
Vamos al zoológico by Jorge Embon is very fun to sing and the words are on the screen.
En el zoo also has the lyrics on the screen. Kids act out the animals as they sing.
Zoo websites – Virtual tours and other resources
The zoo in Barranquilla, Colombia has a website that includes a virtual visit at Fundación Botánica y Zoológico de Barranquilla. Select Visita Virtual (under Animales), and then use the icons on the left to select Visita Virtual again and choose the ecosystem you would like to visit.
The Barranquilla zoo also has a publication called PlanetaZOO. The current issue and all of the archives are available free of cost to read online, on tablet or to download. There are lots of photos, articles and word puzzles that are suitable for different activities with Spanish language learners.
WAZA, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, has a large Spanish language website. Select a region, animal group or a photo from the gallery to begin exploring.
Spanish zoo lesson
Discovering the World Through my Son’s Eyes has a fun lesson for taking kids to the zoo.
Visit Kids Yoga Stories for yoga sequences for other themes.
Join us next month for more kids yoga, Spanish, and stories. Check out our schedule for the year:
2013-2014 Spanish and Kids Yoga Monthly Book Themes
August: Bill Martin Jr.
September: Latin America