3 Tips to Engage Your Kids in Learning Spanish with You that work at home!

3 Tips so that you can engage your kids in learning Spanish at home.

Did you know that you can use 3 'tried and true' teaching methods that teachers have used for years right at home!  Do you want to engage you  child so that your kids can actually start to speak Spanish?  In this post I will show you how to use role play, TPR and games!

3 Tips to Engage your kids at home so that they can learn Spanish

But first, let's take a look at 3 Issues that parents could encounter at home:

1- 'My kids are tired'.   Kids--and all of us-- get tired.  This is part of being human.  So give them-and yourself- a break.  Breath some fresh air outside.  Let them play.  Go for a walk.  Blow some bubbles!  Have a healthy snack.  You know your kids, so do what's best for them as far as a break.

2- 'I can't get their attention.'  Again, they may need a break, but if you just took a break, then you really need to read about these tips.  Then put them into practice because your kids need to keep moving, and movement will keep them focused as well.

3- 'I don't know how to get them interested'.  So, try the first 2 mini-tips.  Then, you as the adult, or adults,  at home can start to talk about how Spanish is so important, how we really need it as we grow, and how you really believe that biliteracy will help your kiddos!  I know that you have a lot of reasons for why you want your kids to learn Spanish, so you will need to share those reasons with them so that they see the importance of learning Spanish.  Then, lean into the fact that you really can help them learn Spanish at home!

So, let's take a look at how these tips can help you right away:

Tip 1:  Use Role Play to engage your kids in learning Spanish at home.

Role Play at home and learn Spanish!

Role play is simply picking a role, and start to play1

Role play is fun, and it gets you involved with your kids' learning.  Role play also builds confidence, creativity, and problem solving skills.  It's about playing, having fun and getting creative!

When you start to role play with your child, you know them best, so you know what kind of role play will work best for them.  There are so many different kinds and types, but let's think about just a few categories and examples:  face-to-face, text-based, or table (or floor!) top.

Face-to-face role play would be like dressing up and playing 'neighbors', or pretend that you are shopping and paying for the items, or pretend that you are neighbors getting together for coffee.  This is great in Spanish because right away you can get creative with so many different opportunities right in the neighborhood to start up dialogue, in Spanish, with your kids.  In fact, you can just go right through the house, in your routine as you role-play!  The sky is the limit here!

You could include in this category puppets as well.  Puppets are in between face-to-face and text- based!  You can 'add-lib' quite a bit with puppets!  It may be easier to follow a script for direction.

Another simple way to role-play that is less involved is to use a text that has quotation marks easily seen dialogue, that both of you can read easily.  Then, choose roles, and use the voice that you think that person would have as you read.  It's something similar to 'reader's theater'--but this is a slightly new topic!

The last type that I am presenting is what I am calling 'table top', or 'floor top' for that matter!  You might want to sit on the floor!

I use this quite a bit in Spanish Just in Time.  After you have become familiar with and have the dialogue ready, you can use my 'Mi Familia' cards and place popsicle sticks on them, or just hold the cards in your hand as you speak through the family characters.  The 'Mi Familia' chapter is set up so that you can easily take the character cards and start reading any of the dialogue to start your role play.

Another 'table top' example is paper dolls and even finger puppets.  

Tip 2: Use TPR to engage you kids in learning Spanish with you at home.

TPR will engage your kids so that they can learn Spanish with you.

What is TPR anyway??  TPR stands for 'Total Physical Response'.  It involves movement and activity usually hand or body movements.  These actions symbolize the meaning of words or phrases.

TPR is great to get kids engaged in the learning process because they have to move so that they can use TPR.  Once kids, or anyone, moves, then the blood flow starts up, and our brains are refreshed!

Not only does TPR get our brains active from movement and blood-flow, but TPR creates meaning in the stronger language for language learners.  Use something that is quick and easy to spark meaning in the stronger language.

For example, if you want your kids to learn 'alto' and 'bajo' in Spanish, then have them stretch up as high as they can to show 'alto', or 'tall' in English.  In the same way, they can show 'bajo' by pointing and reaching way down to the floor symbolizing 'short' in both languages.

You can start to make games out of this even using role play!  

A quick example of a 'game' could be with 2 partners.  Partner A does the hand movement, and Partner B does the action and says the word.  Then switch roles.  Go through a list of words like this.  

Tip 3: Games are a great way to engage your kids at home so that they can learn Spanish!

Games will increase engagement so that you can learn Spanish with your kids at home

Games are great, but they don't come out of thin air!  Well, true.  You will need a list of words, or vocabulary cards, or phrases, or even sentences.

Some games you can play with a set of cards: 

Memory is great for any age because we all need to practice visual memory and recall.  To play, print up 2 of each vocabulary card, and shuffle them.  Then place them face down, one at a time on a flat surface.  Player A picks up a card and says the word, or phrase.  Then that player uncovers another card, says the word, trying to find the match.  If the second card is not the match, then the player needs to put both cards back in exactly the same spot.  Then Player B goes.  Once a player gets a match, then they keep the 2 cards, and can take another turn.  Continue to take turns.  Anywhere from 2- 4 players is best.

Go Fish is another fun one!  Uno for colors and numbers is great as well!

If you need vocabulary cards, check out this link to my course for parents and your kids so that you can start speaking Spanish right away.

Also, if you are looking for vocabulary cards, check out this set of bilingual cards on the family.  

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