Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Toys for Language Learning

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For young kids (and even some older ones), there is incredible value in having items that they can manipulate as they learn. My students eyes light up when I bring out any type of item that is toy-like to help them acquire Spanish. That's why this list of building sets could be incredibly valuable when you are teaching another language to kids.

These LEGO® sets would work really well if you are teaching young kids a foreign language...

The first one that caught my eye was the Build Me Emotions set. For years I have struggled to come up with ideas for teaching emotions so I am always on the lookout for new ideas. I see so much potential for this set like...

  • Telling students "Edifica triste" or "Edifica contento" then having kids build a character with that emotion.
  • Calling out an action in the target language and having them make a person with an appropriate emotion on its face. For example, the teacher says "Yo como el chocolate" and a happy person is built.
  • Describing a person (what they are wearing) and what they are doing then having kids make that person with the correct colored clothing and a facial expression for the action.

The Animal Bingo set is a like a bingo game in which kids pick a building card that allows them to create an animal as they collect the pieces for it. With this game, there is the opportunity to learn animal names, colors, and shapes.

The World People Set are great props for physical description of people and clothing. The vocabulary for family members would work well with these also. I would use this set by displaying all the figures and then describing in Spanish one of the people to see if my students can guess who I am talking about. Students can also describe the people in the target language. Another idea is to categorize the people into groups by calling out a characteristic like "pelo moreno" or "lleva azul" and have your students separate out those that fit into that category.

Community Minifigures - a great set for discussing occupations and descriptions of people.

Time Teacher with Constructible Clock- A clock that kids can build and that you can use with them to teach them to tell time!

Family and House Kit- Build this house and then there are opportunities to talk about the rooms of the house and what they contain. This set would be great to work with prepositions. Students could describe where things are located in the target language or the teacher could tell students where to put certain items.

This Food Set has a plethora of pieces so that kids can "build" different foods. This is definitely on my wish list as I know my younger students would adore it! There are opportunities to discuss the colors of the foods, learn new food words, and even do categories of foods (like fruits, veggies, meats, etc.)

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