How to Teach your Kids Spanish at Home – Lessons from a Spanish Teacher
In this post: Learn tried and true tips and tricks from a Spanish teacher about how to teach your kids Spanish at home. From free Spanish resources, to online Spanish courses, this post has everything you need to raise bilingual children at home. *Post may contain affiliate links.
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After spending nearly a decade teaching Spanish to kids in classrooms throughout the United States, and raising my own bilingual children for the last four years, I have made it my mission to empower families to teach their children Spanish at home. Whether you are a native Spanish speaker, or you are learning the language right alongside your children, you can easily and effectively find fun ways to teach Spanish to kids at home.
Of course, your methods of Spanish learning for children will vary depending on the different ages of your little ones. Children who are six years or younger are still in the critical language development period and tend to pick up language learning easier than older kids. Don’t worry if you are just getting started with older children though! There are lots fun Spanish lessons for kids no matter what age your children are.
Learn Spanish at Home with Toddlers
Learning Spanish at home with young children can be easy and fun. Toddlers are often less resistant to language learning compared to older kids. They are also already still constantly decoding and learning language, both in their mother tongue and whatever additional languages you expose them to. Toddlers are experts at categorizing and cataloging languages, relying on body language, context clues and intonation to help them understand the language they are immersed in.
Let me share some of my favorite tips and tricks for teaching toddlers Spanish at home.
How to teach Toddlers Spanish at Home
Books, books, and more books.
Reading to your children in Spanish is one of the best tools you have for free language learning at home. Your little ones will be exposed to complex sentences, a wide variety of vocabulary, repetition, and engaging images to hep them connect language with pictures.
If you are a native Spanish speaker, you can share books from your childhood and help pass along your heritage with stories.
If you are a non-native Spanish speaker, stories are a great way to help expose your children to an authentic flow of the language and expand their vocabulary as you learn more alongside them. Check out some of my favorite Spanish children’s books!
Intentional Bilingual Play
Another amazing and free way to teach your toddlers Spanish at home is by being intentional with their play. This can look like playing Spanish games with them, like duck, duck, goose (or pato, pato, ganso en español), or red light, green light (luz roja, luz verde). The repetition of those Spanish games is a guaranteed way to get your toddlers to speak in Spanish as they play.
You can also create wonderful bilingual play experiences for them with sensory play set-ups, or imaginary play. When you create these bilingual activities for your toddlers, focus on a handful of words or phases you really want to practice with them. This will help you stay focused and intentional about the repetition of words you expose them to. Repetition is key with language learning in young children and play provides a wonderful opportunity to have fun while you practice.
Check out some of my favorite bilingual toddler activities here:
Take your learning outside
My absolute favorite way to teach my children and my students Spanish is by taking our learning outside. Whether it is a simple picnic outside with some of our favorite Spanish books, or a fun bilingual scavenger hunt in nature, there are so many ways to teach your toddlers Spanish outside!
Language learning is so effective in nature because it is hands-on learning at its best. Your children can touch, feel, and experience new Spanish words as they learn them. Learning about nature in Spanish is not only an amazing way to teach your toddlers Spanish at home, but also a great way to nurture a sense of connection and independence in nature.
If you want even more ideas on how to teach your toddler Spanish in nature, check out my nature based Spanish preschool course for kids 2-6, Con mi Familia. This is a hands-on and screen free Spanish curriculum for families wanting to learn Spanish right alongside their children.
Teach the ABCs in Spanish
Teaching your child to read in Spanish is an amazing way for kids to learn the language! Because Spanish is such a phonetic language, these early phonics skills will serve them as they learn to read in English as well. It doesn’t need to be a big daunting task either! I created a bilingual 200+ page workbook for children ages 4-7 learning how to read in Spanish. With detailed instructions in English and Spanish – anyone can learn how to read en español at home! Grab Reading Con mi Familia to start learning today.
Spanish Music for Kids
Spanish at Home for Elementary, Middle and High School
Teaching your older children Spanish at home can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be! So often we limit the language exposure of our older children to focus strictly on the grammar of the language, and I highly advise against that when learning Spanish at home. Grammar based language learning often leaves children feeling frustrated and overwhelmed as they struggle to conjugate verbs, and memorize vocabulary words.
Instead, I urge families to focus on hands-on Spanish lessons for children that are connected to the passions of each individual. The beauty of bilingual homeschooling is that you can incorporate language learning into any subject your child is most passionate about. Here are some of my favorite ways to get started.
How to Teach Older Children Spanish at Home
Cover some of the Basics
While I shy away from grammar based language lessons, it is nice for older students to have a grasp of the basics. You can find fun ways to teach them numbers, colors, shapes, and so on for your introductory lessons. Focus on growing their confidence with the language, you want your children to want to learn Spanish and the best way to do that is to make it fun.
You can play Spanish matching games, go on scavenger hunts, incorporate art and movement, or anything else your child might enjoy as they get started. The goal is to make them want to learn more.
Start Small & Be Consistent
Find a small way you can learn Spanish every week with your children, and be consistent. Maybe you will have Spanish poetry and tea time every Tuesday, or every day you will observe the weather in Spanish, or read one Spanish book together every day, or learn a fun Spanish song. Whatever your children enjoy most, or wherever you all find your flow with learning at home, bring Spanish into that.
So many people feel overwhelmed at the idea of teaching their children another language at home, and that prevents them from getting started. Keep your Spanish lessons joyful and simple in the beginning, and focus on consistency. Slowly, as your language skills grow, you can add more and more!
Let your Children Lead
It can be scary to put the learning into the hands of your child, but I promise it will be worth it. Ask them what they want to learn about, and find ways to bring Spanish into that lesson. When we give our children the courage and trust to take charge of their learning, amazing things happen. Their confidence grows, they feel more connected and empowered with their lessons, and it is more fun!
If your children have no idea, give them some support. Their Spanish learning can involve art, science, sports, literature, fashion, video games, design, literally the sky is the limit! You can find so many amazing language learning resources for older children online, all you need is a topic to guide you.
Spanish Lessons for Kids in Nature
If your family loves nature as much as mine do, definitely check out my Spanish Nature Study course for kids 5+ (even teens), Spanish in the Wild. This curriculum serves as an amazing year long Spanish guide that lets you learn all about nature with hands-on activities, literature and more.
I hope this post helps you feel empowered and ready to teach your child Spanish at home! No matter their age, and no matter your experience with the language, you can create fun and engaging Spanish lessons for kids at home. Make sure you check out other posts on my blog for more tips and tricks for raising bilingual children. Comment below with questions or concerns, or reach out if you need more support!