Where do all those catalogs come from? Fortunately, you can put them to use when you speak Spanish with your child. Activities with pictures are a good way to practice Spanish vocabulary, and catalogs and magazines have lots of pictures that can be used to teach children the Spanish words for clothes.
In my family, we simply cut out pictures and glued them to 3×5 index cards. A few catalogs (or magazines or advertising inserts), cards, scissors and a glue stick are all you need. Once you have a set of cards, there are lots of different activities you can do, and you can always add new pictures as your child acquires more vocabulary.
Choose 6 – 10 Spanish clothing words that your child knows or is learning. Look for pictures of those clothes, choosing two or more of each item in different colors and styles.
Cut and glue
Cutting out the pictures and gluing them to cards are excellent language-learning activities. Be sure to use as much Spanish as possible as you make your picture cards. Talk about what you are doing using the Spanish vocabulary and repeat as much as possible. Use phrases like these:
Aquí hay una camiseta roja. (Here is a red t-shirt.)
Me gusta la camiseta roja. (I like the red t-shirt.)
La camiseta es bonita. (The t-shirt is pretty.)
Voy a recortar la camiseta. (I’m going to cut out the t-shirt.)
Voy a poner la camiseta en la tarjeta. (I’m going to put the t-shirt on the card.)
Point to the pictures that your child has and talk about them in Spanish. Use phrases like these:
Hay unos zapatos. (There are some shoes.)
Recorta los zapatos. (Cut out the shoes.)
Los zapatos son blancos. (The shoes are white.)
Pon los zapatos en la tarjeta. (Put the shoes on the card.)
!Bien hecho! (Well done!)
Remember that children need to hear a Spanish word used many times in order to learn it. It is fine if your child does not say the Spanish words. She is learning by listening and seeing the pictures. So keep repeating (even if you feel silly and are driving other adults crazy) and be confident that your child is learning Spanish.
When you have a set of cards, try these activities:
Sort the pictures of clothing by color:
Before you start, mark where the different piles will be with an object of that color. This will give you a chance to review the color words with your child.
Aquí vamos a poner rojo, aquí azul y aquí blanco. (Here we’ll put red, here blue, and here white.)
As you sort the cards use phrases like these:
Unos zapatos blancos. ¿Dónde vamos a poner los zapatos?
Una chamarra negra. ¿Dónde vamos a poner la chamarra negra?
Sort the pictures by what you wear when it is hot and when it is cold:
Mark a place for one pile with a picture of winter and Hace frío (It’s cold.) and another with a picture of summer and Hace calor (It’s hot.). As you sort the cards, use phrases like these:
Una camiseta. Me pongo una camiseta cuando hace calor. (A t-shirt. I put on a t-shirt when it’s hot.)
Un abrigo. Me pongo un abrigo cuando hace frío. (A coat. I put on a coat when it’s cold.)
Play memory (concentration):
Choose several pairs of cards. The pairs won’t be identical, but rather are pictures of the same type of clothing. Put the cards face down and try to find the matching pairs. Use phrases like these:
Es el abrigo. ¿Dónde está el otro abrigo? (It’s the coat. Where is the other coat?)
¿Aquí? No, no es el abrigo. Es la sudadera. (Here? No, that’s not the coat. It’s the sweatshirt.)
¿Aquí? ¡Sí, es el abrigo! ( Here? Yes, it’s the coat!)
Te toca a ti. – It’s your turn.
Me toca a mí. – It’s my turn.
You can add to your collection of picture cards and use them for many different activities. Pictures provide a context for Spanish words so that your child will understand what she is hearing. The pictures make the meaning of the language clear, and that is how she will learn Spanish.