Parts of the body in Spanish
Introduction: The parts of the body (las partes del cuerpo)
One of the reasons The parts of the body in Spanish is one of our favorite topics is because it’s so easy to make it active and connect it to something the students are familiar with - their own bodies! Whether you have young learners or older students it can be applied to a wide range of topics and allows for many total physical response (TPR) activities. For very young learners or low level students you can warm-up with TPR by asking students to stand up and copy your movements. You can go through the parts of the body in Spanish making sure to pronounce the words clearly while simultaneously touching the parts of the body. Even if students don’t know any of the words in Spanish they will mimic you and already be forming a connection between the words they are hearing and the parts of their body that they correspond to (while they physically touch that part). By pausing a moment between the word and the physical action you’ll be able to see which of your students are having no trouble remembering the words and which might need a bit more time or additional help.
If you prefer to start your classes in a different way you can save this activity for later in the class, use it as a review during the following classes, or use it during a transition period. You can speed up the tempo or slow it down, and as time goes on you can stop giving them the visual aspect and instead only say the words out loud.
Whether you've started with the TPR activity or not, this catchy and interactive song is the perfect way to get students to continue to practice the parts of the body vocabulary while working pronunciation. Our Spanish body parts video has over 1 million views on youtube!
Interactive songs and activities:
Once you’ve introduced the core vocabulary it’s time to enjoy the language. With young learners this can be done in a variety of ways. We recommend traditional games like Simon Says o “Simon dice…” making sure that as time progresses you allow the students to take the reins and become Simon. If you like to dance, here’s a video that combines the parts of the body with rhyming words in Spanish and an upbeat tempo. Another popular dance that students will most likely already be familiar with is the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes". Changing it to Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y Pies should be a fairly smooth transition and one that students can easily connect to. You can also do the same with a classic like the Hokey Pokey!
For older learners you can find ways to make Simon Says (and the Hokey Pokey) fun by adding elements that transform these childhood games into a newer fresher version. You could do this by adding a costume that Simon has to wear (crazy glasses, a tie, a crazy colored shirt…), by giving the student in a charge a ‘microphone’ that you’ve either made out of arts and crafts materials or bought at a local store, or by giving the winner a reward as motivation to participate. You can give the students the freedom to speed up or slow down the tempo and even allow pairs to work as a team when giving orders so that students feel more confident.
If you’ve already practiced the body parts and you’re looking for a little something extra to liven up the class this song by Chayanne, Madre Tierra (Oye), is a fun and positive way to get students interacting with the language and also uses the verbs (mirar y oír) in the command form.
Worksheets and writing:
We offer these worksheets that range from simple activities like matching the words with the parts of the body to full sentence formation. The exotic characters will capture your students interest and make the activity feel more like a game then a worksheet. We also offere a free downloadable picture dictionary.
After the initial lesson it’s time to expand on the topic by working descriptive adjectives for the body. Our picture dictionary is a visual way to practice opposites. Having the students color the images helps to reinforce the language and makes the activity memorable.
Mr. Potato Head/Señor Patata: Give the Mr. Potato Head pieces to the students. Ask them, ¿Quién tiene una oreja? “Who has an ear?”. The student who has the body part you are asking for can come to the front of the room and attach it to Señor Patata.
Create a monster: You can begin this activity by creating a class monster together on the white board. Draw the general shape and then ask the class questions like ¿Cuántos ojos? How many eyes? Create an image using the responses from the students. After you’ve completed the class monster, you can ask the students to create and present their own monsters.
Drawing race: This activity can be done in a many different ways, some more active than others. For the most active version do it as a board race (creating teams and having them stand behind a line with a marker until you say go) or seated with small white boards for each pair/small group. Divide the class into teams (for the board race) or groups/pairs. Create a description of a person using the vocabulary you have practiced in class. Tell the class that you will give a description and that you will repeat it once. Students must have their markers down while you are speaking. When you say go they have to complete a drawing with the description you have given. The first team to finish an accurate drawing is awarded a point. Play the first few rounds with the teacher giving the description and awarding points. After the students have the hang of the game ask them to create descriptions that they will tell the class and continue the game with the students acting as the teacher.
1. Mummy game: If you’re planning to teach this lesson around halloween you could use it as an opportunity to make a class mummy labelling the different parts of the body. If you have a manageable class size you can bring toilet paper and have students turn each other into mummies by wrapping toilet paper around their different body parts. You can do this in pairs or in small groups by designating one student as the mummy and the other/s as the mummy wrapper/s. You could put the order of the body parts you’d like wrapped on the board before beginning the process or complete it as a listening activity having students wrap one part of the body and then waiting until you tell them the next part they must wrap.
2. Create a class monster that can be labeled and hung on the wall.
Thanks for reading and if you've used these activities or your own version of the activity we'd love to hear about it in our comments section! Have a great weekend!