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So you want to help your kids (or maybe someone else’s) learn Spanish? Good choice!
Spanish has a special place in my heart. It’s the first foreign language that I ever learned fluently, and the language that started me down the road to being “the Irish polyglot”.
I’m not alone. Spanish is one of the most popular second languages for English speakers. That’s one of the many reasons Spanish is a great way to introduce children to another language.
What else makes Spanish a good choice for children? For one, phonetic spelling. This means that once you know how to sound out letters, you can pronounce any word. So it’s super easy for children to read the words they’re learning. For another, Spanish is a really widely-spoken language. So there are plenty of resources available online.
In this article, I’ve collected some of the best resources to help your kids learn Spanish.
Let’s get to it!
Editor's note: before we get started, if you’re looking for an online Spanish course, here’s the course I actually recommend: Spanish Uncovered – Learn Spanish Through the Power of Story, a course with a fascinating new method.
Spanish for Kids: Music
Spanish songs are one of the best ways to introduce children to the language. Whatever their age (even newborns), they can listen to music. There’s even evidence that babies begin assimilating language before birth.
Where can you find this Spanish music?
Spanish Music for Kids: Pandora
For free Spanish lullabies online, there aren’t many better choices than Pandora.
Simply type “canción de cuna” (“Lullaby” in Spanish) into Pandora’s search field, and a station will pop up in your search results containing dozens of child-friendly Spanish songs. To listen to the entire list of songs, you’ll need to create a free account with Pandora.
Spanish Music for Kids: AprenderEspanol.org Canciones Infantiles
AprenderEspanol.org Canciones Infantiles
features forty Spanish children’s songs, along with video and lyrics to follow along to. Some kids will be too young to appreciate the lyrics, but the videos are cute and engaging for kids of all ages.
Spanish Music for Kids: Rockalingua
I love the presentation of the songs on Rockalingua. Each song comes with illustrations, and lyrics to follow along to.
Nearly all of the songs are free for anyone to listen to. There’s a lot more content available on this site, including videos, games, and picture dictionaries, but you’ll need to create an account to access most of it.
Spanish for Kids: Cartoons
Watching TV can be a great way to learn a language, as long as you approach it the right way. For adults, that means taking notes, and watching scenes over and over.
Children’s cartoons are different. Unlike shows for grown-ups, shows for young kids are designed for people who don’t have full command of the language. They feature simple vocabulary that can easily be understood. Even if you don’t know every word, you can still follow the story.
If you’re learning Spanish at the same time as your little one, watching cartoons together is a useful way for both of you to get some listening practice and entertainment.
Which Spanish cartoons make for good watching?
Spanish Cartoon for Kids: Fisher Price Vídeos Para Bebés
Fisher Price Vídeos Para Bebés is for Spanish-speaking toddlers and pre-school-aged children. They’re perfect for listening practice whatever your age.
Each video tells a short, funny story, and introduces some new vocabulary. The new words are spelled out on-screen for older kids. The videos are addictive, too. I watched three of them just for fun before I remembered I had other work to do today!
Spanish Cartoon for Kids: Dora The Explorer
If you’re a parent, I hardly need to mention this TV show. It airs around the world in dozens of languages. It aims to teach kids a foreign language in a fun way. Most of the foreign language versions aim to teach English, but a few – including the English and Gaelic versions – teach Spanish!
Most of the show is in English, but throughout each episode, the characters take time to teach Spanish words and phrases. This is a great show for pre-school-aged children just starting to learn Spanish.
If you’re located in the US, you can visit Nickelodeon Jr. to watch more Dora videos and play some games.
Spanish Cartoon for Kids: Los Simpson
Fancy watching The Simpsons in Spanish? Here’s every episode: Los Simpson. Yep, that includes the early seasons. You’re welcome.
As you probably know, this show is a little too mature for younger children. Older kids and teenagers will almost certainly enjoy it.
Now you’ll be able to say Bart’s famous catch phrases in Spanish, such as “Eat my shorts”, “Don’t have a cow”, and “Ay, caramba!” Hang on. That last one is already in Spanish. Who says The Simpsons isn’t educational?
Spanish for Kids: Games
Games are great because they’re interactive. The instant feedback helps kids improve faster, and builds confidence.
Check these out:
Spanish Games: Juegos Arcoiris
If it’s short, addictive games your kids are into, then Juegos Arcoiris is the perfect website. Packed with a variety of puzzle games, short stories, and colouring activities, this website will keep your child entertained for hours.
Juegos Arcoiris isn’t designed to teach Spanish, but you can’t help but learn important words and phrases while playing the various games. The colouring games display the Spanish names for the objects to be coloured, and the puzzle games have all their instructions in Spanish. All the short stories are in Spanish.
Spanish Games: Spanish-Games.net
Spanish-Games.net features a variety of free tutorials and games for kids to learn the essentials of Spanish. Simply select the topic you want to study, and choose whether you want to do a tutorial, game or test.
The best part about this site is that you can switch between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish, so your kids can study the dialect that’s most useful to them.
Spanish Games: Online Free Spanish
I particularly enjoy Online Free Spanish for its emphasis on listening skills. Nearly every game includes an audio clip, to give kids practice listening to the words they’re learning in the game.
There’s way more than just games here. It also includes fun songs about various topics in Spanish, from the names of toys to adjectives and their opposites. The Mini Books section has an assortment of short stories, each one with bilingual text.
Spanish for Kids: Books
Video games, movies, and TV shows for kids are everywhere these days. But, to me, there’s still no better way to get caught up in a world of adventure than a good book.
Check out these resources (and more here) for tons of kid-friendly reading material.
Spanish Reading for Kids: Read Conmigo
Read Conmigo features an extensive library of bilingual children’s books. You need to subscribe in order to view the entire collection, but you can read one sample story without subscribing.
Click “Descargar” to view the available download formats for the book.
Spanish Reading for Kids: International Children’s Digital Library
The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is a free database of hundreds of public-domain children’s books.
More than 150 of these books are in Spanish, including some translated English classics such as Humpty Dumpty and Puss in Boots, as well as an assortment of original Spanish language stories.
Spanish for Kids: Classes and Lessons
italki is my favourite place to find Spanish teachers. Many have lots of experience teaching children Spanish.
This is a good option if your child doesn’t have very many opportunities to speak Spanish in real life.
italki is free to join, and it’s free to search for professional Spanish teachers and tutors.
Lessons do cost money, but prices are very reasonable, especially for a competitive language like Spanish. Contact the teachers before booking to see what kind of experience they have with kids.
Always be sure to attend lessons with your child. The italki support page has several helpful recommendations for parents using the website to find online tutors for their children.
Which resources do you use to help your children learn Spanish? Tell me about them in the comments.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.