Learning Spanish is Child's Play:
Easy ways to introduce Spanish to
Introducing Spanish to your child can be a
rewarding experience. It is important to allow children to learn at their
own pace. It is never too early to expose your child to a second or
foreign language. It will not confuse your child. In the long run studies
show that children who learn foreign languages perform very well on
aptitude tests and college entrance exams. Whatever your goals for your
child are, making Spanish fun and a small part of daily activities is all
you need to get started.
Children acquire language skills in phases. The
first phase is the imitation of sounds. Once the sounds are mastered they
can effectively string together sounds to make words. Next, simple
sentences are formed. Spending time immersing your child in the language
will allow for the development of these skills.
The following are 5 simple ways to foster
language development in Spanish:
- Use simple nursery rhymes in Spanish to
introduce the rhythm and flow of the language. Repetitive rhymes will
engage children and allow them to practice the pronunciation.
Focus on the repetition primarily. It is important to explain what
the rhymes mean eventually. Showing rather than telling the English
words can speed vocabulary acquisition, but each child will respond
differently to different methods.
- Sing simple songs and use call and response
activities. Music helps children feel surrounded by the language. They
can confidently use the vocabulary and have fun. Basic vocabulary
and conversational phrases may be introduced by singing. There are many
sing-a-long cassettes and compact discs available with songbooks with
- Use body language in songs, stories, and in
everyday activities. Finger plays, skits, demonstrative games, and
simple choreography to songs taps into the kinetic learning style.
"Simon Says", "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes", and "Where is Thumbkin"
are all translated and used in elementary Spanish classes.
- Name objects. Have children name common
objects and describe their attributes. Identify body parts through
touching in active songs, rhymes, and games. Cut out and label pictures
of objects from magazines. Create theme boxes according to vocabulary.
- Vary the ways you introduce new vocabulary.
Read bilingual stories. Take field trips. Make flashcards and posters.
Create lotto games. Utilize various sites on the Internet. Invest in
software or audiocassettes.
The following resources will help you introduce
Spanish to your child through songs and play:
- Jumpstart Languages -Knowledge Adventure
- Musical Spanish (includes CD-ROM)- Stacey
- Colección del Recuerdo Infantil- Cri-Cri y
Compañia Infantil Televicentro
- Diez Deditos- José Luis Orozco
- De Colores- José Luis Orozco
- Los Pollitos Dicen -Nancy Abraham Hall and
- Let's Learn Spanish Picture Dictionary-
Spanish proficiency is not necessary to expose
your children to the language. Learning along with your child can enhance
the learning process and provide quality time together. The time you spend
practicing Spanish with your child will vary according to your
availability. Even ten minutes a day will provide a wealth of exposure.
Children absorb information easily and will learn quickly. Do not become
frustrated if your child does not catch on all the time. Patience, fun,
and resources will be the three keys to learning success in Spanish.
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