Monday, June 3, 2013

Learning Spanish at the Zoo: Animals (Animales)

Learning your animals in Spanish is fun especially when you learn them at the zoo! Little one, his best bud, and I met with a new found friend & her mom from little one's Spanish immersion language class at the zoo.

What is funny about this play date is that one of my son's friends knows Spanish, and the other one doesn't.  So it was interesting to see how my son was teaching his best bud how to say the animals in Spanish. What was even funnier was that shortly after practicing she comes out "talking" in Spanish!    Truth be told, I had no idea what she was saying because it didn't even sound like Spanish or English! I was laughing so hard that I couldn't help myself, and my son tells her, "That's not Spanish!" So on they went to practice some more the animals in Spanish.

Once at the zoo we all greeted each other. Little one's best bud greeted little one's new friend with, "¡Hola!" This was out of the blue, and unexpected. When I asked her where she learned that word from she says, "¡Dora!"  Sweet!  We let the kids play a little so they can warm up to each other before beginning our Spanish lesson.

For the Spanish lesson I used a mini-book from Scholastic's Vocabulary-Building Bilingual Mini-Books. I really enjoy this book because it uses cognate words. Cognates are words descended from a common ancestor; that is, words having:  the same linguistic family or derivation (English). This is really helpful for English speakers learning Spanish. (You can see a list of the animals below). 

For the play date, I made copies of the "animales/animals" bilingual mini-book, and brought with me a box of crayons. At the zoo each child picked up their own map of the zoo

To begin our Spanish lesson each child wrote their names on the mini-books, and I read to them the names in both English and Spanish. They  repeated after me.   They also circled on the map where the animals were located, and we reviewed what route we were going to take.  Afterwards, we walked through the zoo looking for the animals but we also made some frequent stops to look at other animals that weren't in the mini-book.

Once they found the animal we would stop so they can color it in their min-books (this also gave us an opportunity to review the names again in Spanish, and to take a break!) They were pretty excited, and enjoyed their outing at the zoo. 
The little ones pointing at the jirafa in their mini-book. 
They just saw un gorila and were showing it off on their mini-books. 
Of course, after a morning of fun learning at the zoo we had some lunch, and we let the children play for a bit longer at the playground area located inside the zoo before we called it a day. :) 

Looking for the animals that were in the mini-book was exciting and fun! 

Would love to hear how you make learning fun for your children! Please comment, like, share or pin!



  1. So fun! I love the story of your son's friend speaking Spanish. My oldest loves to tell me she is speaking Spanish and if I tell her, "no that's not Spanish" she responds. "It's language Mama - you don't know it." Another great activity in a fun location!

    1. Hahahahaha your daughter is a smart kid! Too funny! Get started on practicing Spanish, and before you know it she'll be really talking in Spanish!

  2. What a great playdate! And that is really cute that his best friend is trying to learn Spanish, too. A friend of mine taught kindergarten, and there were a couple kids that only spoke Spanish when the year started. Another little boy was sure that if he just talked to them in English REALLY LOUD they would understand him - if only it were that simple lol!


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