For the new or experienced teacher, it can be difficult to think of activities and ideas for teaching Spanish to kindergarten students. However, activities and even crafts can be created out of anything related to the vocabulary. Students often learn better and enjoy their learning more if they get to make something that helps bring the learning to life. This is especially true among kindergarteners.
Teaching Spanish Through Body Parts
An example of an activity to use when you are teaching Spanish to kindergarten students could be done with el cuerpo body vocabulary. Students can play Twister using the body vocabulary. This can be modified to be a student-centered activity if you have a student call out the body parts and colors.
Using Songs in the Classroom
Another activity for teaching Spanish to kindergarten students is to bring songs into the classroom. Younger children have a difficult time sitting still and songs help them to get rid of this energy. Songs are also an invaluable tool to teach pronunciation and intonation. When learning a first language, children often learn to pick up the correct intonation of words by listening to songs and nursery rhymes. It is the same when learning a second language as well. Some of the best songs for practicing Spanish are sung with color words or the alphabet. For the alphabet, sing the Spanish ABC’s to the same tune as you would in English. A great song to teach the color words is De Colores.
Teaching Spanish Using Food Vocabulary
For food-themed days, bring in whatever food you are talking about at the time. Make Spanish vocabulary tactile and they will be unable to forget their food words. One craft involves using different pieces of fruit to make pretend faces. Segments of an orange, for example, can be shaped into a nose, a banana for a mouth, and cherries for the eyes. Students can get creative and make crazy faces out of fruit while actively using fruit vocabulary words. You could then take photos of their fruit faces and display them on a bulletin board with their vocabulary words written next to them.
Using Crafts and Show and Tell Time
Kindergarteners also love to show off their toys. Let students bring in toys related to the unit you are working on, and they will have a clear mental image of what they are learning. Students also benefit by bringing things from home because it gives them a chance to ask about vocabulary relevant to everyday life. An example of this would be, if a kindergarten student brought her sweater in to show her teacher because she did not know the word sequins. Learning the word took her no effort because she had something in front of her that was directly tied to the vocabulary word in her mind. It also gave her a word to help her describe all of her favorite princess clothes when she was at home.
Activities and ideas for teaching Spanish to kindergarten students tend to revolve around bringing the language to life. Create an art project to show the new vocabulary, track weather and days of the week on a calendar, or make-up hand motions to accompany the vocabulary and the students will be able to learn more quickly and effectively. For example, for a house themed unit, create shoebox houses.
To introduce household objects and rooms vocabulary. This activity can also be used to teach fine motor skills.
- Construction paper
Each student can create a different room in the house. Using construction paper and clay, they can try to shape the different pieces of furniture within the house. They can also color the walls to look like wood and the ground to look like a carpet. Let them get creative with it! When everyone is done, have them show each other the different parts of the house using their Spanish vocabulary.
- Bring in theme-related show and tell objects. For a transportation unit, they can bring in toy cars and airplanes. For a unit on clothing, they can bring in their favorite outfits and costumes to play dress up. In order to use each toy or outfit, they must speak entirely in Spanish and use the correlating vocabulary words.
- Use a calendar to track the weather and days of the week. This activity can be used to reinforce weather vocabulary that they already know, or to gradually introduce new words every week.
- During a unit on family, have them bring in pictures of their families and label it using sticky notes with the Spanish words for each family member. To extend this activity, you can also have them color a picture of their family members.
Teaching Spanish to kindergarten classes can be a rewarding part of your life. By bringing new activities and ideas into the classroom, you can keep your students engaged and you can teach more effectively.
- De Colores Lyrics and Song Clip; http://www.songsforteaching.com/spanish/decolores.htm