spanish vocabulary for kids

Kids can learn lots of Spanish by measuring. I use measuring as an at-home activity with my students to practice vocabulary and numbers. In addition to the names of the objects they measure and the tools they use, kids learn words like ancho (width), largo (length), alto (height) and the verb medir (to measure). There are lots of online activities in Spanish to teach measuring that work well with children learning Spanish.

This is a great Spanish language activity for learning linear measure. It is from the Instituto de Technologías Educativas. The direct link to the activity is below. Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of doing it with your Spanish language learners.

Vamos a medir (Let’s measure) teaches kids to measure una mesa (table) and then una alfombra (rug). Click on the table to begin. The graphics make the meaning of the words el largo (length), el ancho (width) and el alto (height) clear. Be sure to say the words out loud with your child.

The next screen explains that you are going to measure the table twice, with palmos (handspans) and un metro (a tape measure). It shows la tabla (the table) where you will write your measurements. Read this screen with your child. Look at the table where you will put the measurements you take.  It is a good summary of the rest of the activity. When your child understands what she will be doing, click seguir .

Next, you choose what you want to measure with first, palmos or el metro, and then you measure the table. When you click on the measurement you are going to take, el largo, el ancho or el alto, tools appear on the right side of the screen.

The tools are very easy to use. Kids see the words poner (to add another handspan) and quitar (remove a handspan) for measuring with palmos. They see the verbs estirar (to stretch, extend, the tape measure) and encoger (to make the tape measure shorter) for measuring with el metro. There is a zoom so you can read the numbers on the tape measure.

Click here to do the online measuring activity with Spanish vocabulary and numbers. Be sure to talk to your child using the vocabulary. You can use sentences like these:

Vamos (Vas) a medir con palmos. – We are (you are) going to measure with hands.
Vamos (Vas) a medir con el metro. – We are (you are) going to measure with the tape measure.
Vas a medir el largo. – You’re going to measure the length.
Pon otro palmo. – Add another hand.
Quita un palmo. – Take off a hand.
¿Cuántos palmos mide? – How many hands does it measure?
Anótalo en la tabla. – Write it in the table.
Ahora mide el ancho. – Now measure the width.
Estira el metro un poco más. – Extend the tape measure a little more.
Encoge el metro un poco. – Shorten the tape measure a little.
¿Cuántos centímetros mide de ancho? – How many centimeters wide is it?

Click Ya está (Done) to go to the next screen.

When your child has measured the table with palmos and with el metro, she can go back and measure the rug. She will use pies (feet) and el metro.

On the first screen where you choose to measure the table or rug, there is a section called Práctica. The first three activities have to do with converting units in the metric system, for example from centimeters to meters. The last exercise, Insectos, involves guessing how long a bug is, and then dragging a ruler to measure it. It works really well and is fun, especially if you like bugs! The insects that you measure are:

la mosca de carne – blue bottle fly
la avispa – wasp
la pulga -flea
el saltamontes – grasshopper
el piojo – louse (lice in the plural)

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