Help my kid learn Spanish
December 9, 2008 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to a love affair with Dora the Explorer, my six-year-old daughter is fascinated by Spanish. She's too old for Dora now and has moved onto Strawberry Shortcake, but not a day goes by without her demanding to know how to say various things in Spanish. My husband and I are happy to help with this, and will look up translations on our phones, but her questions are rapidly surpassing my intro-level Spanish skills. I'd like to find some child-oriented websites that will help her learn Spanish.

The catch, of course, is that like most six year olds, she can read dog and cat and ball, but anything longer is probably not going to happen. Verb conjugation (and verbs in general, honestly) are less important to her than nouns, and she seems to learn best when she hears things spoken.

Are there any sites aimed at children in this age group? What about something where--I don't know, kids can click on an object and hear the name in both English and Spanish?

Worth mentioning is that I'm specifically looking for websites and other online resources, with a heavy emphasis on things that she can do herself. While we're obviously happy to help her learn, we're currently doing a ton of this offline, and her ability to ask "how do you say [whatever] in Spanish?" is unsurpassed--she can happily do this for an hour at a stretch. I'm hoping to find something that will take the heat off of us a little bit--trying to translate how I'm making supper into Spanish often results in burnt supper and frustrated mommy.

Also worth mentioning is that this is something that she's decided she's interested in--there's no parental pressure to learn another language or anything like that. Some kids love dinosaurs, my kid loves Spanish. I'm just going with it.
posted by meghanmiller to Education (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My 3-year-old goes to Montessori preschool and they are learning Spanish at an incredible rate. You can buy the Montessori materials on your own - here's a site that has them.

I know some homeschooling families that use the Muzzy curriculum and they seem to have success with it.

Last, it would also be beneficial if you could arrange some playdates for your daughter with bilingual children. My daughter's best friend is from Peru; and she learns so much from her. It's just a great cultural and learning opportunity. And yes, my daughter peppers her with many, many "How do you say ______ in Spanish?" questions.
posted by Ostara at 11:52 AM on December 9, 2008

Best answer: Sorry, forgot to include one more link: this interactive website has some good, basic Spanish lessions for kids.
posted by Ostara at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2008

Sounds like my daughter. She solved this problem herself by figuring out that her Strawberry Shortcake DVDs have a Spanish language option. She enjoys listening to it in Spanish, even if she doesn't know exactly what it means, she figures some things out by knowing what the dialogue is in English.
posted by Ruki at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2008

Although it's not aimed specifically at six-year-olds, you might check out the great podcast Coffee Break Spanish [iTunes podcast link].
posted by blueberry at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Though not websites, I would recommend music for the simple reason you can pretty much fit it in anywhere. In particular, music by José Luis Orozco. There's tons of CD's of his which you can probably even find in your local library. My kids (8 & 3) love his music. Good beats, easy to understand, harmless lyrics.
Another recent favorite at home is Dan Zanes' Nueva York!, a modern reworking of traditional favorites in Spanish but geared towards kids and done very well.
posted by subajestad at 12:47 PM on December 9, 2008

Maybe the Jump Start Spanish CD-ROM?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:58 PM on December 9, 2008

Language Guide has a pictorial dictionary that speaks the words on mouseover.
posted by TimTypeZed at 1:45 PM on December 9, 2008

Hey, we saw Strawberry Shortcake in Panama! There she was called Rosita Fresita. At any rate, Googling strawberry shortcake spanish turns up some DVDs en espanol. Might also try Rosita Fresita.

On preview, go Ruki!
posted by attercoppe at 5:20 PM on December 9, 2008

My spanish coach + DS = hours of entertainment.
posted by santojulieta at 9:23 PM on December 9, 2008

The 5 yr. old I work with LOVES Muzzy. LOVES it. She could watch Muzzy all day long. There's a set of computer activities CD-ROMs that come with the DVDs - perhaps your library has them.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:30 AM on December 10, 2008

Best answer: My coworker Lydia (who manages Colorín Colorado, so she knows quite a bit about bilingualism) had the following recommendations:

Try this site for learning vocabulary -- it's great because it includes a picture and sound for pronunciation.

Try these for games and activities in Spanish -- some are available in English and Spanish. "Juegos" are games.

You can also use bilingual books from the library, the Spanish language tracks of DVDs, and Spanish-language music such as Jose Luis Orozco to encourage your daughter's interest!
posted by sa3z at 7:57 AM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

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