Try speaking Spanish with your child by playing with the I Spy cards. The bright cards with their assortment of objects have a magical appeal. They are powerful language learning tools because the images are memorable and serve as a visual reference for vocabulary. When children associate a Spanish word with a striking image that they can recall in detail, they are much more likely to remember the word and its meaning. The I Spy cards present objects in intriguing settings and create an image that children can visualize later. In fact, a set of cards uses each object in four slightly different settings, so this visual impact is expanded and reinforced as a child associates each image with the new Spanish word. These various images work together to cement the meaning of the Spanish vocabulary.
Pairs of picture cards are useful for many language learning activities. Mix up the cards and sort them into pairs. Use them for relays and have children race to get the matching card. Hide a few cards and let children search for them using the matching cards as a reference. Sort the cards by categories, such as color, or animals or vehicles. Whatever activity you are doing, be sure to repeat the names of the objects in Spanish as you play with your child.
Play the guessing game Veo, veo using any of the I Spy card games. In Spanish, this game begins with a rhyme and then players try to guess an object that another player has chosen. You can read the rhyme and suggestions for playing Veo, veo here. Beginning Spanish learners have more fun with this game if they are working with a limited set of vocabulary, and the I Spy cards work really well for this. Choose 5-7 cards and decide if you are going to only use the principle images or any of the objects on the cards. Before you play, review the words your child knows by pointing to different things and talking about them in Spanish. This will make it easier for her to remember the words and enjoy playing.
You can use the I Spy cards to play other games in Spanish, too. The decks come with suggestions of games that children can play in any language. For example, the I Spy Snap Card Game involves calling out the names of objects on the cards when they see a match. You can also choose pairs of matching cards to play Memory (Concentration). You can find helpful phrases to play Memory in Spanish in this post.
My older students have fun with a cooperative activity where they work to put their cards in the same order. There are four cards of each image in a deck, so up to four players can be in a group. Each player has one card from each set, and they talk and agree on an order by describing the objects without showing the others the cards, or mentioning the name of the object. For example, one student might say Primero, pongamos el animal grande. The next student could say Y después un insecto amarillo y negro. The third student could say En tercer lugar está una cosa que usamos para hablar con otra persona. When they have used all the cards, they say the names of the objects as they show them and double-check that they have the same sequence – in this case el caballo, la abeja, el teléfono (horse, bee, telephone) would be the first three cards.
For other cooperative activities, the children can draw three cards and work together to list what the objects have in common. You can also draw three cards and work together to tell a simple story that uses all three objects.
Of course, children love finding objects listed in a riddle. Spread the cards face up on a table and look for the objects that are mentioned. You can make your own riddles in Spanish to go with any of the I Spy card games. For example, the I Spy Snap Card Game has the following central objects.
La abeja – bee
La bicicleta – bicycle
El caballo – horse
El esqueleto – skeleton
El helicóptero – helicopter
La llave – key
El pato- duck
El payaso – clown
La rana – frog
La silla – chair
El teléfono – telephone
La carreta (juguete) – toy wagon
There are lots of other images on the cards, of course. Here are a few riddles that you can use with your child. These use the central objects and other images on the cards too.
Veo un caballo, y un león,
Una silla, un pato y un crayón.
Veo una nota musical y una luna chiquita,
Un pato amarillo y una ranita.
Veo dos abejas y una bicicleta,
Dos sillas, y carreta con motocicleta.
Veo una araña, y una estrella de mar,
Una llave y también algo para llamar.
You can play games and make riddles with the I Spy Go Fish Card Game, too.