Looking for ways to incorporate more basic Spanish words into your child’s everyday vocabulary? When it comes to introducing kids to Spanish, the key is to keep it simple and fun.
Although the best way to learn Spanish is with a tutor, there are certain things you can do at home to reinforce what your child is learning during Spanish lessons.
Use the following list of simple Spanish words to incorporate even more vocabulary into your daily activities.
19 Basic Spanish Words for Kids
These simple Spanish words are useful when you greet friends, or part ways with a neighbor or acquaintance. With repetition, these are easy words for kids to learn.
Por favor/Gracias (Please/Thank you)
All kids should learn how to say “please” and “thank you” since these words reinforce good manners. It’s easy to find ways to use these basic Spanish words in everyday situations.
For extra practice, try using these words during mealtimes. You can use por favor after a request, but you can also use it at the beginning of a sentence. For example, “Por favor, escúchame” (please listen to me).
There are also many different ways to use gracias. You can use it as a stand-alone “thank you,” or with more detail: “Gracias por la ayuda” (thanks for the help).
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Me gusta/No me gusta (I like/I don’t like)
These two Spanish phrases are extremely useful when it comes to vocabulary for kids. Me gusta(n) ___ literally means “___ is pleasing to me,” but in English it’s translated as, “I like.”
Because of the literal meaning, we must add the -n if the item you like is plural. Similarly, if you don’t like something, you can say, “No me gusta(n).” To help your son or daughter practice, ask him or her, “¿Te gusta(n) ___?” (do you like __?).
He or she can then reply, “Sí, me gusta(n) ___,” or “No, no me gusta(n).”
Lo siento (I’m sorry)
No vocabulary list is complete without the phrase “I’m sorry.” This expression is very useful for when kids are playing together, or if a child needs to show sympathy and apologize.
Necesito/Quiero (I need/want)
These basic Spanish words help kids express their needs and desires. Kids can use these words to communicate basic ideas like quiero jugo (I want juice) or no necesito ayuda (I don’t need help).
No basic vocabulary list would be complete without including some words to describe animals. To reinforce the meaning of these simple Spanish words, and you can ask questions like “¿Dónde está el gato?” (Where is the cat?) if you have a furry family pet.
Size is omnipresent in a child’s life, from a small bug they see in the garden to a big dog they see at the park. Use these Spanish adjectives to make your descriptions more specific: “¡Qué grande el perro!” (What a big dog!)
These adverbs come in handy to describe the way something happens. With kids, you can use both words to describe feelings: “Estoy bien” (I’m fine.)
These two simple Spanish words are great for a game of “red light, green light” in Spanish, or for getting kids’ attention on the street.
In Spanish culture, being polite is also very important, and the words alto and adelante can allow you to be courteous to others (ie. when stopping to allow someone else to go ahead).
SEE ALSO: 20 Spanish Traditions and Customs
Do your children learn better visually? For some extra practice, have them watch this quick tutorial and repeat the basic words after our Spanish teacher Rosita R.
Basic Spanish Words Infographic
Here is a fun image to remind you of the words we studied and practiced above. Save it on your phone to help you memorize all of these basic Spanish words in no time!
Try to use each of these basic Spanish words frequently so you can help your child commit them to memory.
Most of all, have fun introducing your child to Spanish! You can use this list of Spanish vocabulary for kids to have lively, descriptive conversations whenever you want.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. Joan aims to help students improve on tests and increase their conversational ability when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Learn more about Joan here!