Are you a parent interested in teaching Spanish to your kids? You’ve made a big — but fantastic — decision!
Studies have shown the benefits of being bilingual in today’s society; not only will you be making an impact on your child’s communication skills and cognitive abilities, raising your child bilingual will help set him or her up for success later on in life.
Teaching Spanish to kids can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language yourself.
With most modern Spanish lessons, you don’t even have to leave the house!
Hiring a tutor isn’t your only option, though. There are plenty of other resources that can help you learn how to teach your kids Spanish at home.
If you’re asking yourself, “how to teach my kids Spanish?” you’ll want to consider these helpful tips!
How Can I Teach My Kids Spanish at Home for Free?
Here are some of the best tools for teaching Spanish to kids:
- Free websites for learning Spanish
- Spanish learning apps
- YouTube videos
- Spanish games
- Books written in Spanish (or for Spanish language learners)
Of course, you can always sign your child up for Spanish lessons with a tutor, too. Just make sure whatever resources you use for teaching Spanish to kids follow these best practices:
Best Way to Teach Kids Spanish: Digital Resources
Teaching Spanish to kids is easy if you speak the language yourself, but where do you start if you don’t already speak it? It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn Spanish at the same time as your kids (benefiting you both), but you’ll need to find the right resources to do so. And if you’re on a budget? You might think it will be even harder — after all, Spanish-learning software can be expensive… and weekly tutoring lessons might be too much of a commitment if you’re not sure you’ll stick with it.
Luckily, thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to teach a new language to your kids and yourself at the same time. To get a jump on bilingualism, hone your language skills with the following websites and apps to teach kids Spanish.
1. Spanish Learning Apps
There are so many apps to learn Spanish available these days — and many of them are completely free. These apps can provide a great introduction to the language, and many of them have games that are fun for kids and adults alike. Here are some of our favorites:
If you don’t have the money for Spanish textbooks, phrase books, and flashcards, don’t worry. All of the same instructional benefits are available for free from Wikibooks, an open-source Wikimedia project designed to extend educational material to anyone willing to learn it. The website’s Spanish section starts off with basic conversation and grammar lessons, which gradually increase in complexity over time. Spend an hour a day on Wikibooks lessons and you and your child will master basic Spanish conversations in no time.
3. Spanish Learning Websites
There are tons of fantastic websites that offer easy-to-follow lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and more. FluentU is perhaps the best app to teach kids Spanish; with your free account, you’ll get limited access to Spanish videos and clips, along with subtitles to help you learn how vocabulary and phrases come together in real-world contexts. Paid accounts for unlimited watching and listening start at $8/month.
SpanishDict is another great website for teaching Spanish to kids, with more of a focus on vocabulary and grammar. The interactive flashcards make it fun to learn the words for colors, clothing, numbers, and more!
Finally, Spanish Playground is fantastic for kids who want a variety of activities — here you can find ideas for games and crafts, plus printable worksheets, videos, jokes, and much more!
4. Online Spanish Learning Games
After you’ve done some studying, it’s time to take a break and play some games! Educational games and activities are wonderful for reiterating and reviewing what you’ve learned. An awesome website to bookmark is Digital Dialects, which is full of fun, easy-to-play games that teach Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills. The games cover a wide range of topics, including greetings, colors, numbers, foods, units of time, animals, and clothing. The website also offers vocab lists and conjugation breakdowns to help children without prior Spanish experience.
For a fun activity, hold contests with your kids to see who can win the most games. The more fun you have, the less of a chore studying will be and the quicker you’ll pick up the language!
5. ¡Hola Viajeros!
When you’ve gotten the hang of reading Spanish, it’s time to start learning how to recognize the spoken language. ¡Hola Viajeros! provides a series of free audiobooks in slow Spanish along with transcripts. By listening to the audio while reading the transcripts, you and your children will quickly learn Spanish pronunciations, inflections, and other nuances. Best of all, these audiobooks are mostly devoted to describing Spanish-speaking countries, customs, and books, allowing you to learn about Spanish-speaking cultures as you learn the language.
Once you’ve listened to all of ¡Hola Viajeros!’s audiobooks, it’s time to move on to faster-paced Spanish audio. YouTube is great for this, providing a wide range of music videos, TV shows, and movies from Spanish-speaking countries. By watching YouTube videos in Spanish, you’ll get a sense of how the language is spoken in practice. You can also find a ton of fun, silly songs for teaching Spanish that kids love!
Another great idea is to find songs from the Spanish-language versions of Disney musicals. Your kids likely know the English lyrics to many of these songs by heart, so they’ll already understand the gist of what the characters are singing about; this will make it easier to break down the meanings of the Spanish lyrics. As an example, here’s the Spanish version of “Let it Go” from Frozen:
Once your kids can understand Spanish-language Disney songs without too much trouble, move on to watching films, TV shows, and vloggers. You should have no trouble finding age-appropriate videos for teaching Spanish to kids.
Here are some more Spanish YouTube videos for kids.
Games to Teach Kids Spanish
There are all kinds of fun games that are perfect for teaching Spanish to kids. Some good options include:
- The card game KLOO
- Spanish Scrabble
- Spanish Powerpoint Games with Gustar
- Juguemos en el bosque
- Rock Paper Scissors in Spanish
Here are 15+ more fun Spanish games for kids!
Books to Teach Kids Spanish
If you’re more old school, you can also rely on books to teach Spanish to kids. Some of the best books for teaching Spanish to kids include:
- Nacho: Libro Inicial de Lectura
- Carson Dellosa Complete Book of Starter Spanish Workbook for Kids
- My First Bilingual Little Readers: Level A: 25 Reproducible Mini-Books in English and Spanish That Give Kids a Great Start in Reading
- Lil’ Libros Series by Patty Rodriguez
- El Monstruo de Colores by Ana Llenas
- Simple: an Interactive Spanish Book for Preschoolers (Homeschool Spanish Academy – 2020)
- First 100 Words Bilingual: Primeras 100 palabras – Spanish-English Bilingual
Here are a few more excellent books for teaching Spanish to kids.
More Tips for Teaching Spanish to Kids
Here are a few more tips for how to teach Spanish to kids – you should be able to put them in place immediately!
1. Speak it at Home
If you can, learn how to speak Spanish yourself! Incorporating some Spanish words into every aspect of your day. This is the easiest and most low-pressure way for you to start teaching your child a new language.
Plus, if you take the time to learn Spanish together, you’ll likely find that you really enjoy the process. Your child can help you learn Spanish just as much as you can help them! And not to mention – it’s something fun that you all can do together.
2. Watch Spanish Cartoons
You might not be overly fond of letting your child watch cartoons, but if they’re learning a new language in the process, why not? Put on some Spanish cartoons (with subtitles, if necessary) and let your kids loose.
3. Use Labels
Try putting some Spanish labels on common items around your home – like a chair, box of pencils, or a clock. This will help your child begin to associate Spanish words with the items they are labeled to.
4. Find Native Speakers
If possible, help your child connect 1:1 with a native Spanish speaker. Conversing with a native speaker who is fluent in the Spanish language is a great way to give your child some authentic practice!
Even finding a Spanish pen pal for your child to write back and forth with is a great way to practice the language.
5. Emphasize Culture
Make an effort to incorporate cultural lessons into your daily Spanish instruction. Cook Spanish food, plan a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, and listen to Spanish music. Feeling connected with the culture is a great way to start picking up the language!
6. Try Classic Flashcards
They might not be the most glamorous, but flashcards offer your child a wonderful way to learn the language. You can make your own flashcards or buy Spanish flashcards online.
7. Sing Spanish Songs
Download a few Spanish songs to your iPod or add them to your Spotify playlist. You can learn Spanish by belting along as you drive down the road!
8. Watch Movies with Subtitles
The next time your child is begging you to put on a movie or television show, go ahead and give in – but not without putting on Spanish subtitles first!
When Should I Start Teaching My Child Spanish?
It’s often said that you should start teaching Spanish to kids (or other languages, for that matter) when they are young – still babies, if possible.
However, for most parents, this goal can be daunting. It’s true that somewhere between 10 months and one year is when kids learn language the best. If a child grows up hearing multiple languages, they’ll be able to learn them more instinctively.
That said, if you don’t speak Spanish yourself, teaching a second language to a toddler is going to be challenging! Start teaching Spanish whenever you feel comfortable doing so. It’s never too late to start!
When you are ready to invest in your or your child’s language mastery, make sure you’re spending your money wisely — by hiring a qualified Spanish tutor! As effective as these resources can be, there’s no substitute for working one-on-one with a teacher who can cater lessons to your specific learning style, and catch pronunciation mistakes that you might be overlooking. After all, these apps and website are all missing one crucial element: actual communication with other Spanish speakers!
If you’re serious about guiding your child toward bilingualism — or securing your own fluency — a tutor will help you get there. The money you spend on Spanish lessons is well worth the cost, as most experienced polyglots agree. And in between your lessons? Take advantage of all these free resources for teaching Spanish to kids, and everybody wins — that’s what they’re there for!
Ready to get started? Search for a tutor here!
Photo by Jessica Lucia