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Tips for primary learners of Spanish

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Lots of primary schools around the UK now offer Spanish as part of the curriculum, recognising the global importance of the language and the opportunities it opens up for pupils, as well as the widely-documented benefits of language learning on the cognitive development of young children.

Whether your child’s school offers Spanish or not, learning does not have to be limited to the classroom!  There are plenty of ways in which you can support their learning and help them to engage with the language outside of the classroom setting.

It’s not necessary to take frequent trips to Spain, or to spend hours doing grammar exercises: these ideas for learning Spanish at primary level will boost your child’s enjoyment through fun and stimulating activities, while helping them to retain what they learn and put it into practice.

💡Join a sport group.

Practicing a sport or activity in Spanish is a powerful way for your child to embed their learning of the language.  Speaking and communicating in the language whilst focusing on a different activity will help their use of Spanish become second nature.

One way to do this is to join a specialist sports group or camp in Spanish.  The Hola Sport programme, for example, is a great way to combine Spanish with sports and games, with bilingual activities also including arts and crafts.

💡 Join an art class.

If you can’t make it to one of the Hola Sport days, there are fun online activities available for your child too.

For creatively-minded children, why not try an online art class in Spanish?

This course by Efecto Pincel is designed to boost children’s mood through expressive, hands-on drawing and painting activities, all taught in Spanish.

While it is of course helpful to have learned key vocabulary, such as colours, adjectives and important verbs, the visual nature of this type of session can reinforce the acquisition of the words, too.


 ⭐ Choose a session where you can attend or be present and perhaps offer to look up any unfamiliar vocabulary.

 ⭐ Contact the teacher beforehand to let them know your child is learning Spanish and make sure they are happy to include them in the lesson, such as by writing key words and instructions on a whiteboard.  Better still, choose a session specifically designed for learners of Spanish.

💡 Play board games in Spanish.

Monopoly is great fun when played in Spanish.  For younger children, even simple board games can be useful for learning Spanish numbers: try playing Snakes and Ladders or Bingo for counting practice.

Battleships is another game that works well for practicing numbers.  Make sure to have some appropriate vocabulary and phrases to hand so you can use Spanish throughout your game (Hit: Tocado, Miss: Agua, Sink: Hundido).

You can also browse YouTube for board game phrases in Spanish.

“Veo-veo” is another great game to learn the alphabet and new vocabulary, and it does not need any materials. You can play with your children following this dialogue:

– Veo, veo.

– ¿Qué ves?

– Una cosita.

-¿Y qué cosita es?

– Empieza por la letra… “G”.

– ¡Gato!

Finally, Story Cubes are brilliant fun for children who already have some vocabulary in Spanish.  Try writing stories together to practice sentence construction.

💡 Watch a film with Spanish subtitles.

Animated films, such as Pixar productions, are a great choice for this.  Rather than putting the soundtrack and subtitles into Spanish, try keeping the original audio in English to encourage children to look for familiar words in the Spanish-language subtitles.

You could write down words that you recognise, or have a “treasure hunt” of words to look out for.

💡 Try a new recipe from a Spanish-language cookbook.

You could choose one dish per week and learn the vocabulary together before following the recipe.

Better still, choose a recipe that has a corresponding YouTube video tutorial to watch.

If you’ve chosen a traditional Spanish recipe, you could find a video about the history and origins of the dish and the region of Spain where it comes from.

💡 Use YouTube as a learning tool.

For younger learners, SUPER SIMPLE ESPAÑOL is a great way to absorb the sounds of Spanish.  It presents engaging and funny songs, which are perfect for learning and practicing new vocabulary.

Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street) is also brilliant.  This fun and entertaining YouTube channel offers a mix of short clips, songs and theme-based episodes, all with subtitles available in Spanish.

💡 Take a tour in Spanish.

For older students, immersive and interactive experiences are a way to bring Spanish alive.

Why not take a guided museum tour in Spanish?  If you go to the National Gallery, for example, you can book a tour with a Spanish-speaking guide and ask them to focus on the Spanish or Latin American pieces of art.

Private tours are available to book in advance for all of the major London museums, including the Science Museum, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum.

TripAdvisor is a great place to look for foreign-language guided walks and tours.  You can find Spanish-speaking guides in lots of towns and cities around the UK.  Try searching for Spanish-language tour and guided walks near you.

💡 Join an extracurricular Spanish class.

For interaction in the language, joining a Spanish club near you is of course a great starting point.

This provides a structured approach and a supportive environment in which your child can learn and develop.

Even if your child’s school does not offer Spanish classes, you can find an extracurricular group for them to join!

To book your consultation, you can contact Mariposa Languages.

What are your favourite ways to practice Spanish with your child?  Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Kate Maria is a linguist and founder of Kate Maria Languages A Level Spanish Academic, where students can take Spanish at A level online from school or at home. 


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