Savenger hunts and ‘I spy’ games are among our favourite ways to teach new words to a child while having fun.
It is easy to put organise it just requires a little bit of time.
For our first session of this term we went to Naturescape in Kings Park for a scavenger hunt. I went a few days prior to take pictures and see what the children could collect.
It is the same principle with the “I spy” activity, take a few pictures and add a fun and short comment to make it easy for the children to memorise. You can either do a monolingual version or a bilingual. Since not all the parents do not speak French or Spanish, I tend to produce bilingual worksheets.
Once the pictures are taken, paste them onto a word document and add a comment or in this case I just wrote the names in Spanish next to the pictures.
Then you give the children each a bag and explain that they are little explorers on a mission, they have to find all the items of the list and put them inside the bag.
I like collaborative games rather than competitive, so I encourage them to help each other. You can give them a prize but it is not necessary, they are so happy going on a hunt!
Be mindful of always keeping safety in mind first and do not produce a list too long, you do not want them to lose interest half way through the game.
You can always ask questions about what they have found when you all get together and give them a chance to practise the language they are learning.
Questions such as:
Where did you find this? What is it? Is it heavy or light? Is it big or small? Where does it come from? (a feather from a bird, a leaf from a tree)…. Can you tell me about the colours or the shape? etc…
Click here for a sample of our worksheet so you can get some inspiration and make your own.
Below are the items collected by one of our little explorers.
Never forget that children learn best when they have fun. You can organise and ‘I spy” at home, in your backyard, in your child’s bedroom or toy room. No need to make it really hard.
Children get tired quickly, so keep it short and interesting.
Our language workshops are designed for children 3 to 6.
We learn the language through songs, games and craft activities.
We use different themes and cultural events to teach Spanish, it is not just about the language but also about appreciating other cultures while having fun.
Last term we did activities on Africa, Halloween, for science week, Christmas, treasure hunting…
While it is warm workshops are ran in playgrounds across Perth (South Perth, Hyde Park….)
Saturdays at 8:30am. For 1 hour including breaks and packing time.
A$20 per session per child (discount if more than one child from the same family is enrolled). All craft supplies are included.
Trial class is FREE.
Term 1 to start on Saturday 28th January.
PM us for more info or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Children learn better through play. They are having fun and they even do not realise they are assimilating facts and knowledge.
At Le Toboggan’s workshops we encourage play and since a few weeks we are trialling “French/Spanish in the Park”. We hold our workshops outdoors at playgrounds across Perth. We alternate study, play, activity such as craft or a game related to the day’s lesson, play and so on… Everyone enjoys the experience. I get more of the children’s concentration by allowing them short breaks on the slide or in the sandpit. After all a 3-year-old’s attention span does not run for 45 minutes in a row.
I am often asked where and how I find all the ideas for the activities we run in our language workshops. Well, I get my inspiration from several sources, games I used to play when I was a child at school or at home, the internet is full of great ideas for lessons and craft activities adapted to all ages, children’s books are a great source of information, songs, rhymes, short stories, activity books…. and also from other carers. What do they do to keep their children busy? I also check what they do at the childcare my children go to. Ideas are everywhere, time is a more finite resource.
When I start with an idea, I usually get a second then a third. It is almost as ideas snowball so does the enthusiasm.
I am passionate about multiculturalism and I already mentioned in previous posts that I am raising my 2 toddlers trilingual French, Spanish and English.
As soon as they will start their schooling it will become harder and harder to keep up with languages other then English, hence the huge emphasis we place on French and Spanish now. I use the same tools with them as in the workshops and today I am going to describe how I make language flashcards.
Children like flashcards. It is fun, there are colourful and attractive pictures. The issue with language flashcards is they often come by theme, i.e. the home, animals, etc… I wanted to make my own so we would get a variety of themes but I was free to add a short sentence describing and action or the image.
First, I chose the themes, i.e. home, farm animals, wild animals, clothing, food, bedroom. You can also choose family, colours, shapes, a celebration such as Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter.
Then I browsed the internet and found free pictures that I could download. I copied and pasted them on a table that I made on MS Word. If you are graphic design savvy, you might want to choose another software. I made sure that all the cell with the pictures had identical dimensions.
Printed it all off and cut out the flashcards. Then I laminated the cards so they are more durable. If you do not own a laminator you might want to print on thicker paper.
Memory cards are a variation of flashcards. You can choose a specific theme such as the ones I did for Halloween, but it could also be your family pictures, children’s own drawings or colouring in that you could photocopy. You will need 2 of each card. Then you know how it works.
Next time we will be describing how to keep your children’s full attention by sending them on a mission: explore the museum, the art gallery or the aquarium.
Today our little explorers were given the mission to find all the animals that were on a list I had given them. We played ‘eye spy’ and before we knew it was time to leave.
A visit at the museum is always a good activity with my children. They love running around and pointing at things asking questions or just showing off their knowledge. It is good fun!
This is how I came up with the ‘eye spy’ idea to get the children’s full attention for the whole session or most of it. Without realising it, they played this game for an hour in Spanish! It worked because they were interested, stimulated and more importantly they were free to move about.
I created cards with pictures I had previously taken of items I wanted them to find, then I wrote a short description, such as “butterflies have 4 wings”. Just a short fact which is easy to repeat and remember. All the information was in both languages Spanish and English.
I then laminated the cards so the parents could go back with their children and play again.
Through this activity we learned how to say several animal names, a fun fact about them, where they lived, what they ate and so on. We also touched on the dinosaurs and fossils.
I am not expecting them to remember everything, this is not the objective. I wanted them to have fun learning and I am sure they will take something out of today. To reinforce what they have learned, we will take advantage of this visit at the museum to review what we saw. Through activities we will learn more about animals, dinosaurs, etc… and all this in Spanish.
Enclosed some pictures of the cards and of the little explorers having a good time.