Second graders are at the age and stage where they can develop true fluency in a language. Interactive activities to learn the names of animals in Spanish could be one of your initial lessons, since most children love animals. Other initial lessons will revolve around colors and numbers. These can be included with the vocabulary for animals and used in simple sentences.
Following are two activities which you can use to teach animal vocabulary, after teaching students some of the common words.
1. Ask children to bring stuffed animals to class. After they have learned the names for these animals, play a game where the animals are gathered together in the center of a table, and children form a circle around them, either sitting or standing. Call out the name of the animal in Spanish and students reach to grab it. The first student to grab the correct animal gets a point. Track the points and give a small prize to the winner at the end of the game. Students can also take turns at naming the animals. This gives them even more practice in memorizing.
2. Another fun activity is to take students for a walk in a park. Encountering a large number of animals may be limited though, as they may only see birds (pájaros), squirrels (ardillas), and dogs (perros) being walked on a leash. A nature reserve is a great place to experience different animals. Also, take your students for a visit to the zoo and a farm. Here they will have an opportunity to see a vast variety of animals. They can also compare the animals in a park, at a farm, and at a zoo.
A Class Exercise
Following the walk or a farm or zoo visit, a class exercise is for students to write and translate into Spanish simple sentences like:
I went for walk in the zoo and I saw a parrot/some parrots.
I went for a walk in the park and I saw a squirrel/some squirrels.
In this exercise you may find repetition of animal names, which is good, because repetition helps memorization. Also, review colors and numbers, by asking students to include in their sentences the colors of the animals, and how many animals they saw. An exercise which gives more scope to naming animals is to assign a letter of the alphabet to each student, and each student names a different animal based on the letter the student has.
Some Animal Vocabulary
The following English-Spanish word lists contain a basic vocabulary of animals, including mammals, birds, fishes and insects which students may encounter on their walk through a park or visit to a zoo.
Alligator – el lagarto, el caimán, el cocodrilo
Ant – la hormiga
Bear – el oso
Bee – la abeja
Bird – el pájaro
Bull- el toro
Butterfly – la mariposa
Calf – el ternero
Cat – el gato
Chicken – el pollo
Cow –la vaca
Crayfish – el cangrejo
Crocodile – el cocodrilo
Deer – el ciervo, el venado
Dog – el perro
Dolfin- el delfín
Fish – el pez
Rabbit – el conejo
Squirrel – la ardilla
Turtle – la tortuga
Word List Resources and References
1. Spanish Class Online.com, Wild Animals of the USA
2. E-spanish, Basic Spanish Vocabulary – Animals
These can be quite fun exercises and activities for your second graders to learn how to say animal names in Spanish. Approaching teaching in such a light-hearted manner will make the experience of learning vocabulary an enjoyable one, so students will be excited to add to their Spanish vocabulary. Check out the reference links above for more animal vocabulary!