Families: looking for creative ways to practice Spanish together now that summer is here? Read on as Sacramento tutor Allison H. shares a few of her fun ideas…
Summer is here, the warm temperatures and sunshine tempting us outside to pools, concerts, and neighborhood barbecues. With so many fun things to do, it’s hard to buckle down and learn Spanish outside your daily activities.
But one of the keys to learning a language is practice, practice, and more practice. Whether you are worried about your student suffering summer loss, are gearing up for that vacation in Mexico, or just want some fun Spanish-language activities for the summer, here are a few ways to practice and learn Spanish that will get the whole family involved.
1. Listen to a song
Music is a window into other cultures and languages, plus it’s good for pronunciation and vocabulary expansion. Listening and singing along to music in another language is wonderful for your pronunciation. Even if you don’t have a clue what the song is about, just singing along will help your mouth start to form the sounds of the language. Listening to music will also get your ears used to the sounds of the language. You’ll be surprised how many words you start picking out once you get started. So pull up YouTube and watch a few music videos from Latin American and Spanish bands. (Here are some great Spanish musicians to start with!)
Extra credit: Write down 3-5 words you didn’t know and look them up!
Here is one of my favorite tunes:
2. Catch up on the news
Listening to the news provides a snapshot of everyday life in the country where it came from. Much like listening to music, listening to the news provides an excellent opportunity for comprehension practice and vocabulary expansion. Each time you listen, select 3-5 words to look up and add to your vocabulary practice. Check out News in Slow Spanish — not only does it provide a newscast in slow basic Spanish, but it also includes a transcript so you can practice your reading comprehension as well.
Extra credit: Discuss what you just heard, in Spanish, with a family member or study buddy!
For more ideas check out these three simple steps for adding Spanish to your summer fun!
3. Get cooking
Everyone loves to eat, so why not make it an opportunity to practice your Spanish? Visit Allrecipes Mexico to pick out a delicious recipe, all in Spanish. How much can you understand on your own and how many of the words do you have to look up? Add the words you had to look up to your vocabulary practice. Now prepare and enjoy.
Extra credit: Make your kitchen a Spanish-only zone while cooking the meal. Here’s a great guide to Spanish cooking vocabulary from FluentU!
4. Put a label on it
Make your house the classroom. Label your furniture and appliances in Spanish. The repetition of seeing those labels will help everyone in the family associate the words with the object. This can be helpful for students who struggle with connecting the words in a book to real life.
Extra credit: Only refer to labeled objects by their Spanish name!
5. Take a walk…. with flashcards
Now that you have all this new Spanish vocabulary, it’s time to practice it. My personal favorite vocab study technique, backed up by research, is flashcards. Research shows that flashcards help with memorization because they appeal to many learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), force active recall (you have to remember the word from scratch without any context to hint at the meaning), and allow for self-directed study (you choose what you need to work on). Walking while you study has also been shown to help with retention, plus it’s more fun than sitting at home. So make up your flashcards and go for a walk.
Extra credit: Take a study buddy and quiz each other!
Here’s a visual recap of these ideas for practicing Spanish this summer:
Readers, what other ways do you practice and learn Spanish with your families? Let us know in the comments!
Photo by Nestlé