Our Spanish program for kids - a guide for families
Hola amig@s! We know for many (us included) it’s been a crazy start to a new school year and we hope that even with all of the changes you’ve found ways to adapt and get your kids excited about learning Spanish. Today’s blog post is written specifically with families in mind, but can be used by anyone who is teaching Spanish to kids ;)
So, you’ve signed up for the family plan, you and your kids are excited to learn Spanish, but the million dollar question is: where do we start? The best thing about Rockalingua is that you don’t have to start anywhere! The resources are created so that kids can learn in a natural and fun way through music and play. The wide range of topics is designed to teach important vocabulary and frequently used grammar structures, but also so that each kid will have videos and songs that they love based on their own interests! To start we'd exploring some of the songs and videos we have and getting your kids excited about using the program. Once they’ve had that first contact you can take advantage of our Spanish resources for kids in the following ways:
Each topic has a song and it’s the best way to introduce that topic. Songs practice pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar structures in a non-stressful and natural way. You should have your kids listen to the song (you can listen and watch the video or listen and look at the lyrics page) 2 or 3 times before starting the topic. We’d recommend starting with some of our Spanish songs for kids that cover the basics like numbers, colors, colors and numbers, what’s your name, seasons, vowels, days of the week, and feelings before moving onto songs that are directly related to a specific topic: farm animals, the city, school supplies and subjects, my house (which has an easy and difficult version), and many more!
-After you’ve introduced the song, you can print out the lyrics worksheet and have your kids color itwhile listening and singing along to the song. If you don’t want to print it, you can have them color it in the application Paint or you can use this application to edit PDFs online (there’s even a guide for parents on how to use it!).
-Remember that when you’re watching/listening to a song all of the related materials will be on the right side of your screen. Once you’ve introduced the topic with the song you can move on to the video and other related resources.
-Your kids are learning a new language so it’s completely normal that they don’t understand or interact with the song the first time they hear it. That’s why repetition is key! You also may need to play a larger role in your kids’ learning process in the beginning until they’ve used Rockalingua for a little while and are familiar with the program, and then you can slowly step back and let them take control.
-You can listen to the songs just like you would music in your own language. Put it on while your kids are doing an art project or while you’re cooking dinner so that they don’t only associated Spanish with “Spanish class”.
-This directions song is a great one to get kids up and dancing along!
This is our collection of music videos that go with our songs. You can alternate between watching the video and listening to the song depending on how much screen time your kids have already had that day ;) The videos are great because they are very visual, include the lyrics and are designed so that children can deduce the meaning of the song lyrics through the context of the video. Remember that you can slow down the speed of the video, which is a great idea for younger learners or beginners.
These weekly Spanish classes are designed to help families get the most out of the program. Each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays we’ll publish pre-recorded classes on the website in the tutorials section. Each class will have tips on how to prepare your kids in the description of that class and the 2 classes will build on each other. Please make sure that your kids watch the related songs/videos before attending the class and remember that they can watch the class more than once or rewind if they need something clarified. The reason we pre-record these classes is to make sure that we can offer the best quality possible and to give families and users the flexibility to use these classes when it works best for them. During the classes your kids will explore the topic, cover vocabulary and meaning, practice pronunciation, see frequently used grammar structures and will be lead through the related worksheets and online games so that they understand how to use them and can either complete them during the class or after the class has finished. The classes are fun and throughout the class they will be asked to participate in different ways.
Each topic has a related worksheet that should be completed after the kids have listened to the song, watched the video, and are familiar with the topic. The worksheets start out with easier activities and slowly progress to be more complex. We’ve designed them this way so that there are activities for everyone! If this is the first time your child is learning Spanish don’t worry if they can’t complete the entire worksheet, in fact we’d recommend that they start with the simpler exercises (matching, coloring, alphabet soup, filling in the blank) but save the other activities for a later date. Remember that we also have games that vary in difficulty and are accesible to a wide range of levels (we’ll talk more about games below). A question that we get a lot is if we have translations of the worksheets. We do not, but there are some great resources like DeepL that you can use to help translate. We know that for some parents it’s overwhelming to do the worksheets, but remember that you can color the lyrics pages, get context from the videos and a lot of the activities are “easy” and would only require you to look up a few words - which is a great skill you can teach your kids! Even if you don’t take full advantage of the worksheets, don’t worry because the songs, videos and games are already an amazing way to get your kids listening to and speaking (singing) in Spanish and enjoying it - which is the most important part!
Kids learn through play and our games are designed with the goal of using the vocabulary and structures in a memorable way that makes them forget that they are learning. When we learn language in the context of play we enjoy it and are way more likely to remember it! Like the worksheets the games have different levels of difficulty to reach a wide range of users and to allow kids to start out with an easier version and progress to the most difficult version. Most of our themes have games that offer options for those who can’t yet read or write (memory), for those who are learning to read and write (drag and match) and for those who read and write (concept race).
You can practice listening and identifying words with our Bubbles/Burbujas game (kids love popping the bubbles!)
Crafts are a fantastic way to get your kids practicing Spanish because it takes the pressure off of learning the language and includes the language in a fun activity where they are creating something so they’re engaged and paying attention. We have crafts that cover a wide range of topics including themes from our program as well as different holidays! Some great crafts to start with are:
Date, weather, time craft: This tactile craft practices and reviews simple vocabulary about the date, weather and time. Once created you can put this craft on the refrigerator and have your kids update it every morning as a way of making Spanish part of your life and not just “another school subject”.
Comecocos/fortune teller: This craft is a little more advanced and practices asking and answering questions. It’s fun to make and can be used to practice speaking through play.
Picture dictionaries are a great way to keep a record of vocabulary words you are learning and know, without having to make a list. We can’t stress enough that in order for your kids to learn a language it needs to be something they enjoy and while we know it’s important for them to remember vocabulary, it’s so much more fun to practice by coloring a picture dictionary or looking at picture dictionary than reviewing a list of words ;) The flashcards can be printed and colored, used to play Go Fish, put up around the house to practice, or used to review vocabulary.
Short stories combine vocabulary and grammar in a way that’s fun to follow along with! You can practice reading, listening to the short story and there are related comprehension and sequencing activities. Some of our themes have related short stories. Since it’s fall, Timbo y el otoño is a great story to start with ;) You can start by watching the story and then moving on to the activities.
Things to remember:
The best thing that you can do to help your kids learn Spanish is to make this an enjoyable activity that they like to do! Remember that they are out of their comfort zone (and you might be too!) and they don't have to learn everything immediately. The best way you can set them up for success is to get them to actually like learning the language.
There are a lot of topics, if your kid isn’t into one of the videos or doesn’t like one of the songs, that’s okay - there are plenty more!
Repetition is the best way to learn! If your kids have a song/topic they like, repeat it as many times as you’d like. The more they repeat it, the more likely they are to learn the words and practice pronunciation while they sing along.
We love helping kids learn Spanish and we are always looking for ways to make our users lives easier. So, if you need anything, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help :)
Best of luck and we look forward to practicing Spanish with you!
-The Rockalingua Team