Beginners Spanish for kids
When it comes to introducing kids to Spanish, the key is to keep it simple and fun. Although the best way to learn Spanish is with a tutor, there are certain things you can do at home to reinforce what your child is learning during Spanish lessons. Use the following words to incorporate Spanish vocabulary in your daily activities.
These words are useful when you greet friends or part ways with a neighbor or acquaintance. With repetition, these are easy words for kids to learn.
Por favor/Gracias (Please/Thank you)
Kids should learn please and thank you in any language, since these words reinforce good manners. It’s easy to find ways to use the Spanish words in everyday situations. For extra practice, try using these words during mealtimes. You can use por favor after a request, but you can also use it at the beginning of a sentence: “Por favor, escúchame” (please listen to me). There are also many different ways to use gracias. You can use it as a stand-alone thank you, or with more detail: “Gracias por la ayuda” (thanks for the help).
Me gusta(n)/No me gusta(n) (I like/I don’t like)
These two phrases are extremely useful when it comes to Spanish vocabulary for kids. Me gusta(n) ___ literally means ___ is pleasing to me, but in English it’s translated as “I like.” Because of the literal meaning, we must add the -n if the item is plural. Similarly, if you don’t like something, you can say, “No me gusta(n).” To help your son or daughter practice, ask him or her, “¿Te gusta(n) ___?” (do you like __?). He or she can reply, “Sí, me gusta(n) ___, ” or “No, no me gusta(n).” (“Sí” means “yes” and “no” means “no” in Spanish; those are two other necessary vocabulary words!)
Lo siento (I’m sorry)
No vocabulary list is complete without the phrase “I’m sorry.” This expression is very useful for kids playing together, or if a child needs to show sympathy or apologize.
Necesito/quiero/ No necesito/quiero (I need/want/ I don’t need/want)
These words help kids express their needs and desires. Kids can use these words to communicate basic ideas like quiero jugo (I want juice) or no necesito ayuda (I don’t need help).
No basic vocabulary list would be complete without including some words to describe kids’ favorite members of the family. You can use the sounds cats and dogs make to reinforce the meaning of the Spanish words, and you can ask questions like “¿Dónde está el gato?” (Where is the cat?). Aside from pets, other essential Spanish family words include madre (mother), padre (father), hermano (brother), and hermana (sister). Practice using these words with questions like “¿Cómo se llama tu hermana?” (What is your sister’s name?).
Size is omnipresent in a child’s life, from a small bug they see in the garden to a big hug they want after taking a fall. Use pequeño and grande to make your descriptions more specific: “¡Qué grande el perro!” (What a big dog!)
These adverbs come in handy to describe the way that something happens. With kids, you could use them to describe feelings: “Estoy bien” (I’m fine.)
These two are great for a game of “red light, green light” in Spanish, or for getting kids’ attention on the street. Alto and adelante are frequently used in Spanish, and can allow you to be courteous (stopping to allow someone else to go ahead, or inviting someone else to go ahead).