Doing activities related to a theme is fun way for children to learn Spanish. They learn new words and hear them used naturally as they sing, do crafts and listen to stories. Below you’ll find a set of activities for a theme I call All About Ants. Try them with kids, and soon all of you will be talking and singing about hormigas.
Learning All About Ants in Spanish
- Choose words you want to focus on as you do the activities. For beginners, start with just a few words. You can add more when those are familiar. You can also download a printable All About Ants vocabulary list.
- Incorporate basic concepts like numbers and colors. It’s fun to count ants in Spanish!
- Short activities are usually better. Adapt the All About Ants activities to help kids understand and keep their interest.
- Spread the activities over several days, and come back to All About Ants at a later date. This will help kids remember what they learned.
Talking about photos helps kids learn new words. Point to these pictures of ants as you describe them. You can find more fabulous photos online because lots of people love ants!
I tell parents that music is language glue. It sticks language into kids’ heads.
Las Hormigas by Jorge Lan is perfect for this All About Ants theme. You can hear a clip of the song on iTunes. We learn the song and then play follow-the-leader as we march and sing:
Vamos marchando las hormigas.
Vamos marchando sin parar.
Vamos buscando comida y esta al hormiguero nos la vamos a llevar.
Using pictures cards and playing games helps children learn new words. These printable activities fit the All About Ants theme and are focused enough for beginning Spanish learners. Try the size sort, the pattern activities and roll-an-ant game in this packet: Free Printable Ant Activitites by A Teaching Mommy
Size sort. I add ant hills to this activity. We cut 3 ant hills out of construction paper – small, medium and large. We sort the hormigas pequeñas, medianas y grandes into the different ant hills. This gives kids practice using size words and the word hormiguero.
Pattern activities. Kids practice colors in Spanish as they copy the patterns. We also count the ants.
Roll-an-ant. Kids can learn the parts of the ant with this game. You can also use it with beginners to practice numbers.
This cute animated video has basic ant information and repeats key vocabulary. Beginners can tap the table each time they hear the word hormiga. They will be tapping a lot! Watching this video, kids will learn all about ants and learn Spanish too.
Start at 0:33 to skip the theme song. You may want to watch just part of the video with beginners.
Crafts are excellent language activities. Choose one that lets you repeat the words your child is learning.
Doing this simple craft from Muck Monsters you will use the words hormiguero and hormiga. (Of course, you won’t write A is for ant on the picture.)
There are lots of crafts for making ants online. These egg carton ants are Pink Stripey Socks. You can talk about the parts of an ant as you make them.
You can also talk about ants as you color. Coloring.WS from DLTK has ant coloring pages.
Kids can help make an ant snack. You can make traditional ants on a log, or search ant snacks on Pinterest. You will be amazed at the possibilities!
Picture books about ants will have more language than young Spanish learners can understand. With my students, I read the wonderful book Arriba, Abajo instead. The illustrations have plenty of ants. You can find them, count them and talk about them.
You may also want to tell a simple version of the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. In Spanish, the story is called La cigarra y la hormiga. You can tell the story in your own words pointing to illustrations to help kids understand.
Try sentences like these for beginners:
Hace sol. Es verano.
La hormiga trabaja mucho. Lleva comida al hormiguero.
La cigarra no trabaja. La cigarra juega. No le gusta jugar. etc.
There are 5 basic drawings for the story in this printable version of La cigarra y la hormiga on Web del Maestro. Click on the link DESCARGA AQUÍ Cuentos infantiles. La cigarra y la hormiga.
You can also act out the story with stick puppets, or with ants you made as a craft.
By the time you have done a few of these activities, there is a good chance you will ready to talk about a new topic! Choose a theme your kids will like and look for songs, activities, and crafts to do in Spanish.
Jennifer raised her three children speaking English and Spanish, and she has been teaching Spanish to other young world citizens for over twenty years. On her blog Spanish Playground, she shares resources for parents and teachers of Spanish language learners.