15 Essential Language Activities for Preschoolers Learning Spanish
Is your kid a preschooler who’s learning Spanish? Have you run out of ideas for language activities for kids in Spanish? Are you overwhelmed by Pinterest Spanish resources and just want a doable checklist?
Look no further!
In this blog post, I am sharing my all-time favorite activities for preschool language learning that you are sure to love.
Let’s check them out!
Teaching Spanish to Preschoolers
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Kids before the age of five learn fast. This is their opportunity window to learn a second language without even realizing it. Language activities for preschoolers are not done in textbooks. Little kids learn the second language the same way as their mother tongue—through playing, listening to stories, singing songs, and simply doing fun stuff.
Realistically speaking, your child’s exposure to their second language will likely be much smaller than to their first. Still, you can work on these major elements of language learning:
Keep in mind that, in the beginning, your preschooler will understand more than they will be able to produce. Stay strong and keep up your language routines!
By planning ahead, you can make space for Spanish time in your daily or weekly schedule.
Naturally weave these activities into your daily routine, utilizing real objects and lots of visuals. Inspire your child by incorporating plenty of movement and exciting games like playing dress up or traditional Hispanic games. Most of all, make sure your kid is having fun (and you too, mom or dad!)
The following list highlights 15 language activities for 3-5-year-olds you can do at home—without worksheets!
Each activity has been tested (and loved!) by my young daughters and I’m excited to share them with you!
15 Language Activities for Preschoolers
1. Read Spanish Books Aloud
Read to your child and encourage them to read to you as soon as they can recognize some basic Spanish words.
Reading develops language, literacy, and imagination as it enriches your child’s vocabulary in context. They will begin to understand things before they’ll be able to say them themselves.
I always read to my girls as part of their bedtime routine, and we sometimes use mealtime to listen to audiobooks or to read shorter texts.
2. Play La Loteria
I love Lotería. It’s like Mexican Bingo but with pictures. In the original game, a designated person sings the names on the cards while the players put a bean to mark the spot that matches the card.
While you don’t have to sing the words to have fun, you can teach your child how to play then take turns calling the cards.
They don’t need to be able to read—they will simply associate the picture with the new Spanish word!
3. Teach Spanish Numbers with Bingo
Bingo is a classic game that adapts to any language. It’s perfect to teach numbers in Spanish. You don’t have to play with one hundred numbers! I used to make one with numbers from one to ten for my girls when they were just beginning to learn them.
4. Act it Out
Role-plays are a fantastic way to use vocabulary in context. These enactments help your young one practice the language and their individual communication skills at the same time.
You can pre-teach some words before, then act it out with your child. Cherish the moment by saving it for future viewing and record your child’s act as a movie! You can also take pictures and make picture books to look back on the activity for review (and enjoyment!).
5. Play with Letters
This is one of my favorite language activities for preschoolers. Younger kids enjoy learning letters with strange materials. It helps them grasp something very abstract and they tend to learn faster. Use anything you have at home to build letters:
- cloth clips
- kitchen utensils
In the picture above, I put shaving cream on the table and my kids had to write the Spanish letters with their fingers as they pronounced them. It may be messy, but your kids will love it!
6. Make Your Own Recipes and Cook Together
My kids love cooking. As a bonus, it’s a great language activity for preschoolers to practice food vocabulary, comprehension, and giving instructions! You can choose a recipe from a Spanish-speaking country, or any recipe you like.
Make the dish first with your kids, then have them draw the completed foodstuff as they write down the ingredients and utensils used during its creation. You can even record a video with your kids explaining the process!
7. Play Dress Up and Learn About Cultural Heros
This activity is somewhat similar to acting it out, but it’s more specific in that you familiarize your child with a famous person in Hispanic culture. This experience gives your child a greater understanding and appreciation of the country whose language they’re learning.
With my girls, we watched videos about Frida Kahlo, read a couple of books about her, and copied some of her art pieces. Then, they dressed up as her and presented themselves in Spanish while they talked about their painting.
8. Write a Story that Your Child Narrates in Spanish
Kids love stories! Ask your child to invent a story by themselves and they’re likely to do it with ease. Depending on your child’s storytelling skills, they can make it from scratch or just fill in a ready-made story with some of their own words.
In the picture above, my 3-year-old invented the story and while I wrote down a good bit of text, I had her draw the pictures. As we read the story together, she would complete the sentences with Spanish words using her pictures as clues.
9. Design Your Own Piñata Together
Another language activity for preschoolers related to culture is making piñatas! We made the one above using birthday hats to make it look like a star.
We spoke about materials in Spanish, as they talked about the colors they wanted to use, and finally we sang The Piñata Song together before we smashed our creation to bits!
10. Explore Theme-Based Arts and Crafts
Have you ever met a child who doesn’t like arts and crafts? Impossible, right!
The essentials of choosing the right activity revolve around linking it to Spanish and (even better) to Spanish or Latin American culture. A great example is making masks for Day of the Dead like we did in the picture above.
Choose whichever topic fascinates you the most and simply watch Youtube tutorials in Spanish to get some insight on related crafts. Thanks to similar tutorials, we made Valentine Hearts and the girls knitted their first scarfs!
I love arts and crafts because you can easily inject tons of Spanish vocabulary and sentence structures into the activity—and your child won’t even realize they’re learning so much!
11. Draw Your Topic and Label New Spanish Words
This is a perfect language activity for little kids who are just starting to learn Spanish. As you teach new words, you draw a picture of your topic and label it in Spanish. After you teach the vocabulary, you can explore question-and-answer structures with your child by asking:
- ¿Qué es esto? (What’s this?)
- Quién es? (Who is it?)
- ¿Dónde están? (Where are they?)
12. Play the Game ‘Veo, Veo’
Veo, veo is “I Spy (with my little eyes).” I love this activity because you can use it everywhere! Are your kids bored in the car, asking “are we there yet?” or complaining about walking so much? Time for Veo, veo!
How to play: One person says, for example, “Veo, veo una cosa de color verde” (I see a green thing) and everyone must shout out possibilities until the winner comes out on top by guessing the correct object. Then it’s the winner’s turn to say veo, veo.
Kids really do go crazy over this game! Just give it a try and you’ll see.
13. Put Your Child to the Test with a Fun Memory Game
My favorite memory games are the ones we make ourselves. They work great as language activities for little kids and provide lots of fun as well as a sense of accomplishment. You can simply draw pictures with vocabulary you’re teaching, or you can match it with written words.
In the picture above, my 5-year old wrote the verbs and illustrated them with simple drawings.
14. Play the Game ‘Color, Color’ in Spanish
This simple language activity for preschoolers helps them to learn colors.
Shout a color as your child runs to touch any nearby object of this color.
For a more advanced game, you can give a list of colors (written or drawn), and have your child take a picture with your phone of these same-colored objects in your house.
15. Make Puppets of Your Favorite Spanish Cartoon Characters
Do you know these little guys? Storybots, viven en tu computadora… (Storybots. Living inside computer parts…) We watch this cartoon in Spanish and love it!
We made puppets together so my girls could play out the adventures of their favorite characters.
For extra grammar instruction, throw in some descriptive Spanish adjectives while creating the puppets. Basic options include:
- alto (tall)
- bajo (short)
- flaco (thin)
- gordo (fat)
It’s Time to Enjoy Spanish with Your Child!
If you’re a very busy homeschooling parent or you don’t feel strong enough in Spanish to do any of the language activities, you can sign your child up for a free Spanish class with our kid-friendly, certified teachers who provide 1-on-1, fun Spanish instruction in real-time.
Our programs cover all K-12 Spanish curricula and it’s a proven way to invest in the success of your child’s future!
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