Hola Amigos
August 11, 2008 10:49 AM   Subscribe

What are some simple music, art and other activities I can do with a group of Spanish speaking kids with ages ranging from 5 to 10.

I am volunteering at a small school in the North of Argentina teaching music, art and other stuff 3 days a week. I don´t speak a large amount of Spanish yet and no one at the school speaks English so communicating complex ideas and games is a bit difficult.

Nevertheless, I would love to know some great simple art activities, music activities and just plain activities or games to do with the kids. The school has no money so try to think of things that don´t require dinero.
posted by cloeburner to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Do you want them to learn some English, or you're just saying whatever the activities are, they can't require English?
posted by olinerd at 11:04 AM on August 11, 2008

I spent some time in Ghana, where I learned that: (a) soccer is huge basically everywhere but the US, and (b) It's called "football" everywhere but America. If you have or can buy un futbol, I'm willing to bet no instructions would be necessary. (But we warned, I also learned that (c) 7-year-old Ghanaians can put this 22-year-old American's skills to shame!)

We didn't have a language barrier, but 'exchanging' culture was still a fun activity. Don't try to do serious lessons, perhaps, but maybe you could do a tit-for-tat with language: teach them a word, and they'll teach you a word. Do they know the Argentine National Anthem? They could teach it to you, or you could teach it to them, depending. (Uhh, definitely make sure they go for the 'short' version, which is a little more age-appropriate, as the linked page explains.)

I'm not sure the extent of them having no money, but if they have supplies for drawing/painting, that's usually a lot of fun with little kids, too, and, as I'm sure you know, a good way to communicate through the language barrier. (And if they don't have paper and paint/pens, you can always resort to drawing in the sand outside?)

Oh! No idea about Argentina, but in Ghana, the kids were obsessed with our digital cameras. When we were pooped but the kids still had boundless energy, we'd take our cameras out of hiding, and they'd pass an inordinate amount of time taking pictures of each other and showing everyone the results on the screen. (Obvious disclaimer: you're giving little kids an expensive camera. We didn't have any damage, other than one person having their memory card formatted, and lots of fingerprints on lenses.) Not only did they love it, but it was kind of an endearing way to get some photos of everyone taken.
posted by fogster at 11:29 AM on August 11, 2008

BTW, just for the sake of clarity... Are you already in Argentina, or are you heading there?
posted by fogster at 12:07 PM on August 11, 2008

Veggie Animal Batik!

I did this with a bunch of third graders, with very few spoken instructions.

You'll need:

- some paper
- some paint/ink
- some pens/markers
- some water
- some vegetables

1) Have students draw a big outline of their favorite animal on a large piece of paper. Any animal is fine, but if you want, perhaps you can show them animals that live where you do back home that they might not have down there: manatees, wolves, beavers...?

2) While (or before) they draw, cut up the vegetables into kid-hand-sized chunks. I'd suggest veggies like small potatoes, carrots, jicama, ginger...even onions would work. Whatever's cheap at the market that day. Leafy herbs might also work.

3) Pass out the paint/ink, veggies, and water and have the students dip the veggies into the paint and "fill in" their animal however they want.

And here's my horrific, non-native attempt at explaining this in uber-simple Spanish, so you can attempt explain this to fellow teachers/students.

1) Estudiantes dibujan un gran animál en una hoja de papel. (Students draw a big animal on a piece of paper.)
2) Profesores copan los vegetales para los manos pequeños de los estudiantes. (Teachers cut up the vegetables for the small hands of the students.)
3) Estudiantes ponen los vegetales en la pintura y hacen un diseño en sus animales. (Students put the vegetables in the paint and make a design on their animals.)
posted by mdonley at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2008

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