In this online Spanish game for kids, children hear a phrase in Spanish and are given the words to that phrase out of order. They drag and drop the words to make the Spanish sentence that they heard. If the child makes a mistake, the word will not go into place and the sentence is repeated. There are images of each sentence behind the words, so even if all of the Spanish vocabulary is not familiar, the pictures help children understand the meaning of the sentence.
This game has been moved since I wrote this post. I’ll update the link if I can locate it.
This is a great activity for children who are learning to read in Spanish. As they match the sounds to the text, they become aware of how sounds in Spanish link words in a way that does not happen in English. In English, it is possible for a child to count the number of words in a sentence by listening. In fact, children who are learning to read in English are often given the task of making a mark for each word they hear. In Spanish, the same activity would be impossible and confusing. Instead, this online activity gives children the words they will include in the sentence. Although they will not hear them as individual words, they will have to use them all. This increases a child’s awareness of the structure of the Spanish language, and also of the linking of sounds in correct Spanish pronunciation.
Here are a couple of simple examples using phrases from the activity:
El bebé duerme en la cuna. (The baby sleeps in the crib). When this sentence it pronounced correctly, as it is in the activity, the words duerme and en combine completely to make one two-syllable word. They are pronounced exactly like the verb form duermen (they sleep).
Las ovejas comen hierba en la pradera. (The sheep eat grass in the field). When one word in Spanish ends in a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel, the letters combine to form a syllable. This happens in this sentence between las and ovejas. It will be pronounced lasovejas, as if it were one word. The same thing is true for comen hierba en. The n of comen will combine with the ie of hierba (the h is silent), and the ba of hierba will combine with the word en. The three words comen hierba en combine to be pronounced comenierbaen.
In this activity, the audio is slower than normal speech, so it makes it easier for children to remember and separate the sounds they hear into the words they are given for the sentence. Although the speech is not as fast as normal conversation in Spanish, the activity is excellent listening and Spanish pronunciation practice.
Click the link for an online activity to teach reading, listening, and pronunciation in Spanish. Click Español in the list of languages at the top.
As you do this activity:
Remind your child that the sentence will start with a capital letter.
Encourage her to look at the picture, identify words she knows, and listen for those words.
If you need to hear the sentence again, simply put any word in the blank. If it is not correct, it will return to the space above the sentence and you will hear the sentence again.
When you have put the sentence in order, you will seen the correct text and hear it again. Be sure to repeat the whole sentence one more time.
This activity can also be used with children who do not read. You can talk about the picture and then listen for familiar words. For example, you will hear Bebo un vaso de leche antes de acostarme (I drink a glass of milk before I go to bed). The picture shows someone drinking a glass of milk and a milk carton. Point out the milk to your child, and tell her that you are going to listen for the word leche.
Es leche, ¿verdad? Vamos a ver si podemos escuchar leche.
Then make the audio play again by putting the wrong word in the sentence.
You will have to put in all the words to move on to a new sentence.