What a year! With children being home and looking for things to do, gifts are extra special this year, and we can be sure the books and games we purchase will get lots of use! Spanish language gifts keep kids excited about learning and they are important tools as we expose children to as much Spanish as possible. This list has Spanish language gifts for children of different ages and levels, updated for 2020.
Spanish Language Gifts of Toys and Games
Canticos Puzzles and Stroller Cards
Canticos has a wonderful selection of toys and books for little language learners. If you’re looking for special gift, be sure to browse their store. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Bilingual Jumbo Puzzle: Letters A-Z
This Spanish alphabet floor puzzle is an excellent gift for preschoolers and beginning readers. The puzzle is two-sided with the English alphabet on the other side.
Consider this for Spanish learners or native speakers who are learning their letters. It’s also a fun way for children who already know the alphabet to learn vocabulary. You’ll be amazed how quickly kids learn the word associated with each letter.
Bilingual Puzzle Pairs – Numbers
This set of 10 bilingual number puzzles is the perfect way to get kids counting as they learn their numbers in Spanish. The color-coded puzzles have the Spanish word on one side and English on the other. This is an excellent choice for preschoolers.
Bilingual Stroller Cards – Colors and Shapes
Little ones love these bilingual stroller cards with bright colors, cut out shapes, and adorable characters. In addition, with Spanish on one side and English on the other, the cards offer parents the support they need to engage little ones with both languages. Use the cards to identify colors and shapes as you go for a stroll. ¿Ves algo azul? Vamos a buscar un triángulo.
I have purchased the BrainBox games in Spain and am thrilled to see that there are a couple of versions available on Amazon. My students love this game! There is a version specifically for learning Spanish and another designed for native speakers that can be used with Spanish learners.
To play BrainBox games, you draw a card and study the picture for 30 seconds. Then you roll a die and answer a corresponding question about the picture on the other side of the card. If you answer correctly, you keep the card. It’s simple to play and offers lots of visual support for language learners.
I use Spanish Bananagrams with kids of all ages. Playing the game with the original rules is too difficult for young Spanish learners, but the little tiles are fabulous for lots of fun activities at different levels because they have the right distribution of vowels to consonants. Here is my printable list of games and activities with Spanish Bananagrams. Of course, as kids acquire more language they can play with the original rules. This is also one of my favorite Spanish language gifts for native speakers.
Bilingual Baby Alive Sweet Tears Doll
Hasbro has a doll that says words and phrases in Spanish. The Baby Alive Sweet Tears was nominated as Doll of the Year a couple of years ago and is a fun way for young Spanish learners to hear the language in a natural context.
Themed Spanish Bingo Game
Spanish Bingo by Eeboo has clear pictures labeled in Spanish. Each of the cards has a theme, so children are listening for related rather than random words.
Spanish Placemats from Bebe Bilingual
These Spanish placemats are a super cute way to add more Spanish text and talk to the day. The fun illustrations set a happy tone for any meal and kids can also incorporate them into their play. Check out the Kids Spanish Ocean Friends placemat and the Kids Spanish Jungle Friends placemat and be sure to browse the Bebe Bilingual store. They also have darling items in French!
Spanish Language Apps for Kids
Canticos Bilingual Preschool App
The Canticos Bilingual Preschool App is hands-down my favorite use of screen time for kids 5 years and under. This app has it all – videos, games, music, and books – at the right level and with the visual support kids need to learn language.
Best of all, it’s all short and sweet, so you dip in and jump back out again, or settle down to spend some time on Spanish learning. It’s high quality engaging language and culture with no ads, and kids love it!
Gus on the Go Stories
Stories by Gus on the Go teaches key language for a favorite story, such as The Tortoise and the Hare or The Three Pigs. Then, children hear and play with an interactive version of the story. Kids also practice listening comprehension with what they have learned, again in the context of the story. Each step is fun, just the right length, and achievable! You can learn more about the app in our review here: Stories by Gus on the Go.
Books as Spanish Language Gifts
Books are an essential part of a child’s language journey, and in my opinion, the best Spanish language gifts you can give. Here you’ll find the year’s best Spanish language titles, books from Latin America and Spain, as well as language learning favorites you may want to add to your child’s collection. You can find more recommendations on our book list for Spanish learners.
Books from Latin America and Spain
Children’s literature from Latin America and Spain opens a window into another world. The books are often different linguistically, conceptually and artistically than titles published in this country.
Cinco Books and Syncretic Press bring beautiful books from Latin America and Spain to children in the United States, at home and at school.
If you are giving gifts to native speakers, be sure to take a look at these books. Of course, Spanish learners will fall in love with these books too!
Syncretic Press is an independent publisher and distributor of children’s books in Spanish. They partner with authors and illustrators from around the world, with special emphasis on works created by authors from Spanish-speaking countries.
I’m highlighting a few of my favorite books as gifts for Spanish learners and native speakers, but be sure to jump to the Syncretic Press website and explore!
“Nato vive en un departamento, en una calle de muchos edificios, de un barrio populoso de una gran ciudad.” Like most of us, Nato’s family uses technology, so when they go on a country vacation, Nato has to adjust to a new kind of experience. The story and illustrations are engaging, and the language in this book is at an excellent level for Spanish learners. An award recipient as one of the top picture books in Latin America in 2017, Tablet is entertaining and also an excellent way to start the important discussion about technology in our lives.
Mi gato Maravilla
Mi gato Maravilla is a wonderful description of a dearly loved pet. In direct language, a child points out her cat’s flaws “Mi gato Maravilla les tiene miedo a las hormigas…” and then goes on to describe his good points “Tiene muchos amigos ratones.” Children will relate to honest affection in this simple story and enjoy the fabulous art.
Teachers, if you do a unit on pets (as many of us do), Mi gato Maravilla is a fabulous addition to your lessons. It’s an easy jump to students describing animals they know using the same structure.
Diario de un Ogro
Diario de un Ogro is a perfect choice for readers intrigued by the (slightly) gross, (slightly) scary world of ogres, monsters and zombies. An ogre writes in his diary about the unfortunate state of ogres in the world: “Muchos se creen ogros sin tener estilo” and then describes his solution in short rhyming text. It’s a delightfully humorous story with detailed illustrations kids will love.
Cachorros del Fin de Mundo
This beautiful book introduces children to 20 animals of the Southern Cone of South America and describes how they care for their young. The art is amazing, and information is fascinating. Cachorros del Fin de Mundo is a wonderful non-fiction option young animals lovers.
Cinco Books consistently offers an amazing selection of new releases from the best publishers in Latin America and Spain. The titles I’m mentioning this year are no exception. For special books to give as gifts, check out my recommendations and then browse the rest of their collection.
No es hora de jugar and Pronto por la mañana
I love these two board books from Spain and more importantly, so does my granddaughter. The rhyme, the illustrations, the simple language and the engaging stories make them excellent choices for any preschooler.
In No es hora de jugar the family dog pulls a child and her dads into a romp around the house just at bedtime.
In Pronto por la mañana, a child wakes up to find his moms and sisters still asleep, so he and the cat get the day started on their own.
Cinco Books distributes Pippi Calzaslargas, the Spanish versions of the Pippi Longstockings series and one of the most delightful series of books ever written. If you have adventure-loving Spanish readers, these books are an excellent choice. Follow up the first book with Pippi se embarca and Pippi en los mares del sur.
Quijote and Lazarillo
These picture books introduce children to two of the most important characters in Spanish literature through simple language and amazing art.
The stories are concise adaptations of the most important elements of the classics, and also manage to retain the tone of the original works in accessible language. The illustrations are beyond beautiful.
Books in Spanish from the U.S.
Candlewick Press always publishes beautiful Spanish language books, but I have say that 2020 was an exceptional year. These titles make wonderful gifts.
Imagina, from Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, is the story of the author’s journey of becoming a poet and then United States Poet Laureate. The beautifully lyric text is also interactive as the author invites children to imagine his life and to imagine their own. The Spanish edition is new this year; the English edition Imagine is available too. All children should read this inspiring, empowering book.
Hogar by Carson Ellis explores the possibilities of “home” with simple language and detailed, captivating illustrations. The Spanish edition of Home, this is a book children will return to again and again.
Children will identify with Jabari as he works up his courage to make a big leap, and parents will appreciate the supportive, loving father. Author Gaia Cornwall deftly communicates the apprehension and excitement that comes with trying new things in a way that intrigues and reassures children. Be ready to read it over and over. Find Jabari salta on Amazon.
Kaia y las abejas
Kaia y las abejas is a charming story about bees and about being brave. The language is accessible to Spanish learners, so this is a great resource for learning about bees in Spanish at school or at home.
Merci Suárez se pone las pilas
For readers of chapter books, Merci Suárez se pone las pilas by Meg Medina is a fabulous choice. It’s the Spanish edition of Newbery Winner Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Kids will love Merci, a funny, insightful protagonist dealing with middle school and a close, complicated family.
Evelyn del Rey se muda
Meg Medina also wrote Evelyn del Rey se muda, a book about best friends on moving day. It’s a wonderful portrait of the special bond children have when they know each other so, so well. This is also a timely, reassuring story as children deal with the distance caused by Covid-19.
Barefoot books has an excellent selection of Spanish language and bilingual picture books. Here are a few of my favorites, and you’ll find more below in the Books with Music selection.
For Spanish learners, I love Mis primeras palabras and My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish & English Words. Both books have detailed illustrations with items labeled in two languages, but they also have a real story that gives context to the pictures.
Baby’s First Words / Mis primeras palabras
Mis primeras palabras follows a little girl through the day with her dads. Preschoolers will relate to the wonderful illustrations full of household items, activity and love. They’ll also learn lots of words!
My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish & English Words
My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish & English Words features a large, fun family and detailed scenes with labeled vocabulary. From the house and yard to city streets, from a construction site to country scenes these scenes are captivating and children will spend hours examining the illustrations. In addition, the story includes questions to engage readers with the pictures. This book is an excellent gift for elementary Spanish learners.
The Oso Series
The Oso books from Barefoot are another good option for younger learners. There are many books in the series, both Spanish language and bilingual. For example, Oso en bicicleta is a fun look at transportation while Oso bajo el sol introduces lots of weather vocabulary. If you don’t know this series, be sure to take a look.
Lee & Low Books
Los zombis no comen verduras
Mo is a vegetable-loving zombie, and he is sure his parents will love veggies too, if they just give them a chance. Los zombis no comen verduras is a funny book about loving your family and being true to yourself.
Rafi y Rosi ¡Música!
Lulu Delacre adds another book to her wonderful Rafi y Rosi series, with Rafi y Rosi ¡Música! Like the other titles in the series, this early reader introduces children to Puerto Rican culture. Through the adventures of sibings Rafi and Rosi, readers learn about traditional Puerto Rican musical forms as they develop their independent reading skills.
Sharuko by Monica Brown is the bilingual biography of indigenous Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello. Through clear text and beautiful art, the book follows Sharuko’s journey as he dedicates himself to uncovering and preserving Peru’s archeological treasures. In addition to documenting an important part of Peruvian history, the book speaks to dedication to a passion and pride in culture.
Malala Yousafzai: Guerrera con palabras
Malala Yousafzai: Guerrera con palabras is an inspiring biography of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient. When Malala was just 11 years old, the Taliban closed schools for girls in Pakistan, and Malala began to speak out about the right for all children to have an education. Although she was shot by a Taliban gunman, she continues to speak out for the millions of children worldwide who are not able to go to school.
Bilingual Firsts Collection
The new Bilingual Firsts collection from Canticos teaches basic concepts in Spanish and English. These sturdy board books featuring the Canticos characters are an excellent way to develop early literacy and math skills in two languages. The books are sold separately or as a set.
Language Together publishes fabulous sets of 10 little books that make wonderful read-alouds or first books for emerging readers. Perfect for little Spanish learners, they connect to themes like clothing, fruit, animals, family, shapes and toys. Most important, they use the vocabulary in stories kids will want to hear again and again. There is also audio available for the stories online and they are now available in iBooks.
Eric Carle Books as Spanish Language Gifts
These classic Eric Carle books in Spanish are at a perfect level for Spanish language learners. They teach basic concepts and important vocabulary, and most important, children love them. This is a wonderful gift for any home with young language learners.
Spanish Gifts of Books with Music
Spanish Language Gifts from Mister G
Mister G is a Latin Grammy Award winning musician, and he is also an author. His books build on his music, making a wonderful language learning experience for children.
Señorita Mariposa is a beautiful bilingual picture book about the extraordinary journey monarch butterflies take each year from Canada to Mexico.
A part of the text includes the lyrics of the Mister G song Señorita Mariposa. The song is a joyful celebration of butterflies, making it a wonderful complement to the book. Señorita Mariposa is a perfect way to introduce children to the amazing Monarch migration, and the book makes an excellent gift for little butterfly lovers!
Mister G also has darling little coloring books with the lyrics of two of his popular songs, Siete elefantes and Cocodrilo. Mister G’s music is on Spotify, YouTube and available to download everywhere.
Kids can use the book to sing along before, during and after coloring. This is a fun, low pressure way for beginning language learners to engage with text in Spanish, and I think these books make great stocking stuffers! Check out the Siete elefantes coloring book and the Cocodrilo coloring book.
Spanish Language Gifts from Lufi and Friends
Lufi & Friends Spanish song books have built-in music. Children can push a button on the page, listen to the song, and read along. The books are designed with language learning in mind. They make it super easy for little ones to learn songs in Spanish and for adults to read and sing with kids.
Barefoot Books Sing Along Books
Barefoot Books has wonderful sing along picture books in Spanish. Two of my favorites are Algarabía en la granja and El Mundo.
Whether you’re reading or singing, Algarabía en la granja is an excellent way to learn the verb form tengo, numbers, and farm animals in Spanish. It’s also a fun cumulative story that children love.
El mundo is a lovely version of the song The Whole World in His Hands. I love this book!
It has bright, beautiful illustrations and an important message about caring for the planet. It is also an excellent way to introduce children to natural world vocabulary at just the right level for young language learners.
Magazines as Spanish Language Gifts
Chop Chop is a wonderful cooking magazine for children, and a fabulous choice if your family cooks together and you have Spanish speakers or learners. It is published 4 times a year and is available in English and Spanish. There is an option to choose the language when you subscribe. It is one of my favorite gifts for kids learning Spanish.
High Five Bilingüe (2-6 years for native speakers. Appropriate for older Spanish learners too). All the charm of Highlights with Spanish language learning added!
Spanish Language Is a Gift
Teaching children a second language requires an investment of time, energy and resources. Spanish language gifts make sense as we choose how to spend our time and money.
Gifts in Spanish also show children that language learning is important to us and that we support their efforts. No matter which presents you choose for the children in your life, the most important gift is the opportunity to learn.
Do you have favorite Spanish products you give as gifts? We’d love to learn about them, so please share in comments.
Disclosure: Companies sent me sample products to be able to write this guide. All opinions are my own.