Teaching your child a few basic verbs in Spanish will let her communicate many ideas. She may be familiar with some common verb forms from listening to stories or songs. Start with these two Spanish verbs and use them with the words that she knows.

A single word in Spanish often expresses two words in English –the person doing the action and the action.

Tengo – I have

Hay – There is/ There are

There are lots of ways to use these verbs everyday. You can comment on almost anything you are holding or anything you see using these verbs and numbers.

– Use tengo with any objects and numbers. For example, when you are putting on shoes say, Tengo dos. When you are putting plates on the table, say Tengo cuarto. Having crackers for a snack say Tengo tres.

– Play with toy animals and use sentences like  Tengo el caballo, or Tengo el perro.

– Learn just the first four lines of this song to sing together: Body parts – a song. Touch your head, mouth, eyes, nose, hair and ears as you sing.

– Use hay to comment on pictures in books. Hay un gato. Hay dos caballos.

– Use hay to point things out to your child as you walk or drive. Hay muchos pájaros. Hay vacas.

– Play a guessing game where your child hides a few objects under a dish towel and you try to guess how many objects there are.  “Hay tres,” you guess.  When your child uncovers the objects say “No hay tres. Hay cuatro.”  or “¡Sí, hay tres!”

¡Qué tengan un buen día!   Have a good day!


Spanish song for body parts - Con mi dedito
The Spanish verb "hay" in a beautiful picture book