We like to think of summer as a time to slow down, but families are busy all year long. Summer days are full of swimming lessons and soccer, play practice and piano lessons. Whatever activities your kids are fortunate enough to enjoy, you want them to develop their Spanish skills up as well. Try these low-pressure ways to make summer Spanish a success.
Summer Spanish does not have to be stressful. The difference between doing something and nothing is huge. With a little Spanish spread throughout the summer, kids will retain what they have learned and start school more confident of their abilities.
The key to keeping up Spanish during the summer is finding activities that fit your family schedule and are not too complicated. Draw from this list, combining and adapting to make Spanish a part of your summer.
Summer Spanish Strategies
Review What They Know
If you child is in a Spanish program at school, she probably brought home activities, art projects, or vocabulary lists. Pull these together and put them where you can talk about them at snack or lunch time. If you don’t have material from school, collect a few picture books, family pictures and Spanish picture cards. Find a list of 13 sets of free Spanish picture cards here. A quick game of memory or talking about family members in a picture is an easy way to keep basic vocabulary fresh.
Spanish Summer Read and Play Program
Reading, or being read to, is one of the best ways to strengthen language skills. Throw in some easy and fun speaking activities, and kids Spanish skills stay strong all summer. Sign-up for our free Summer Read and Play Program to encourage kids to read this summer. The program is free, flexible and has fun activities like these play challenges with easy speaking activities.
Family Game Time
A game after lunch or before bed keeps kids engaged with Spanish. Whether it is once a day or once a week, over the course of the summer it will make a difference. Try simple games like tic-tac-toe for preschoolers or classics like Uno for kids who are a little older. Encuentra los animales is a printable game based on Go Fish. There is a version of Spot-it in Spanish for beginners, and for kids who have more language, try Spanish Bananagrams (See variations for language learners here). Turista Mundial is the Mexican version of Monopoly and my kids played for hours when they were growing up.
Listening to songs in Spanish and singing along is another way to add Spanish to your summer. You can listen in the car or while you are making dinner. For young learners, try the YouTube channel by Leoncito Alado, or the new CD ¡Come bien! Eat Right! by José-Luís Orozco. Kids love songs by Rockalingua and they are excellent reinforcement for what kids are learning in school. You can listen to them free on the Rockalingua website. Are you looking for music that appeals to different ages? Try songs from Sonia De Los Santos or Lucky Díaz and the Family Jam Band. 123 Andrés is also a great choice.
With reasonable limits, movies, TV shows and short online videos can be useful to expose kids to Spanish during the summer months. Series on YouTube like Pocoyo and Peppa Pig are entertaining and full of new language. The short videos on Semillitas TV are also good exposure for younger kids. Kids also love the Youtuber-style of the Habla Jorge videos – short, fun videos that expose kids to high frequency vocabulary. All the Disney films can be watched in Spanish, of course, and have the advantage of being familiar to many kids. So, pop some popcorn, snuggle up and get in some Spanish time.
Websites and Apps
Websites are another option for online summer Spanish practice. Mi mundo en palabras is designed for Spanish learners and is very well done. This post about Mi mundo en palabras lists the topics in each lesson and gives helpful information for parents who do not speak the language.
OnlineFreeSpanish has lots of games to practice a wide range of vocabulary. They also have mini books and printables.
TuDiscoveryKids has tons of videos and games with favorite characters like Pocoyo, Peppa and Cailou. It is designed for native speakers but has activities that work with Spanish language learners.
You can also explore Apps in Spanish for more practice. These 5 reading apps are at different levels and all help keep up Spanish skills.
Online Video Conversation Classes
Technology makes it possible for children to talk to supportive, fun native-speaker tutors over video. Companies like 121 Spanish and PandaTree offer conversation-based instruction for children.
Remember to keep summer Spanish fun. Look for activities that fit your schedule and are not overly complicated. With a little practice, kids will continue to develop their language skills and their love and appreciation for Spanish!