Snack time is my favorite time for working with small groups of kids. By far!
If you teach young kids Spanish, please try using snack as a way of engaging in new language. It rocks!
- You have their attention.
- Their bodies have (for many) stopped ricocheting and they’re engaging in a fine motor activity (little fingers sort gold fish, raisins, apple slices, etc.)
- All their senses are engaged — texture, flavor, fragrance, color — and if you add songs you’ve got all 5 senses!
- You can enlist choice during a time that they’re motivated to engage. Juice or water? Teddy bear cookies or fishy crackers? And now they have a REASON to speak.
So how do you do this?
- First gain parents/caregivers permission. Are there allergies?
- Find a time in your daily routine to include a regularly scheduled snack time.
- Based on dietary restrictions, choose a variety of food to strategically present that will lend themselves to conversation. (I liked to start by making a “phone call” on a banana that I’d then slice and share.)
A tip about food options:
Treat the process with great care. Use sterilized cutting boards, knives & containers (fresh out of the dishwasher, or carefully scrubbed) to avoid any cross-contamination of allergens.
Choose two options that contrast nicely in color, shape, taste, texture, etc.
Teddy bear cookies vs. fishy crackers (los osos/ los peces)
Show how they walk/swim as kids are eating.
¿El oso camina o nada? (manipulate the snack to do these actions). ¿El pez camina o nada?
Red apples vs. green apples (rojo / verde)
Count the number of green slices vs. red slices in the group. As they are eaten, the number goes down!
¿Cuál quieres? / Which do you want?
¿Cuántas manzanas verdes hay?/ How many green apples?
¿Cuántas manzanas rojoas hay? / How many red apples?
¿Cuál es mas dulce?/ Which is sweeter?
¿Cuál prefieres? /Which do you prefer?
Bring a little cinnamon/sugar to sprinkle from a salt shaker.
Dried cranberries vs. raisins (rojo / negro)
Count the different colored raisins, have them sort them.
¿Cuántas pasas rojas?/ How many cranberries?
¿Cuántas pasas negras? / How many raisins?
¿Cuál prefieres? / Which you you prefer?
Raw broccoli vs. snap peas (families will LOVE you!)
(broccoli / el brécol — los arbolitos / little trees)
(snap peas / los chícharos — los barquitos / little boats)
Bring an image of a tree, and another of a boat. Teach them the words.
Play with the food, take the peas out of the pod to make a boat.
Make the boat ride around and tie up next to the tree. Or the tree ride in the boat!
¿Te gusta? / Do you like?
Me gusta. / I like.
No me gusta. / I don’t like
I hope you’re getting the idea…food brings us together, we feel good when we eat, we settle down when we’re eating. It makes for a perfect opportunity to share some time, laughs….and some new Spanish words!