Whether you want to learn a new language for a big move like us, or just for a holiday, it can be fun to learn together as a family.
Knowing another language is an amazing skill to have, and it will open so many doors in future for your kids.
I did well at GCSE Spanish but that was a long time ago so have definitely needed to brush up. I’m nowhere near fluent but am getting better every day.
The husband only knew the essentials in Spanish prior to our move (“Una cerveza por favor”) and Little H knew some numbers and animals. In just 2 weeks they’ve both learnt a lot and are doing well asking for things in shops and restaurants.
Little H had a tutor in England for about 6 months but other than that we haven’t been on any courses.
We have still been working hard at learning Spanish both in the months leading up to leaving the UK and now that we’re here in Spain.
If you want your family to learn a new language together, here are a few suggestions that have helped us…
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We’ve all been using various apps on our phones and tablets. My favourite one is Babbel – you do have to pay but I signed up via an offer which was £30 for a year. You can learn loads of languages using Babbel including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian.
Little H likes the Duolingo app which is free and easy to use. You can do tests as you learn which makes it a bit like a game. You do have to be careful though as we’ve found that some of the words are South American Spanish.
There are also tons of language apps for kids that include games, colouring and songs.
Kids storybooks are a great way to learn another language for both children and adults. You can read them together and you’ll soon find that gradually your child will pick up on the vocabulary.
A few months ago we reviewed One Third Stories which is a subscription box of kids books and activities in Spanish, French or Italian.
I also bought some exercise books from Amazon for Little H. I know enough Spanish to go through these with her and we got the husband involved so he could learn as well.
You can also download lots of worksheets online with animals, numbers, colours etc.
Lotto (Spanish bingo) is a great game to learn numbers. I call out the numbers in Spanish and the other two have to see who can get them the quickest. We started just with numbers up to 20 but are now on 21-40!
Uno is another game you can easily convert into another language as soon as you know your numbers and colours. Little H loves playing Uno anyway and now we have a rule that you have to say the number and colour in Spanish as you put the card down. We’ve just bought Dos but that’s hard enough in English for the moment!
You and your kids are probably used to using flashcards from when they were little and learning to talk.
You can buy flashcards online in various languages or in a local supermarket or toy shop on holiday. With older kids you could make your own flashcards with the vocabulary they’ve learnt already.
Speak to locals
The best way to learn another language is to speak it local Spanish people. This terrifies me every time I have to do it but hopefully, we’ll get used to it soon!
I always try to start in Spanish even if you know they’ll speak English such as in the town hall or bank – I think it’s just polite!
Great places to try out your new language are at the market if you’ve learnt your fruit and vegetable names, in a restaurant with the phrase “Can I have…” and in shops with money.
And if all else fails, Google Translate is amazing!
Can you speak another language? If not, have you thought about learning a new language with your kids?