Language Fun With Kids

‘Fun’ being the key word


Kids always learn more when the learning is fun. The same holds true for adults, although many adults have forgotten how to have fun (and therefore stop learning new things).

There was no school this last Friday and my daughter and her hubby both had to work so I went over to their house to spend the day with my two beloved granddaughters. I did NOT go over there to babysit! I don’t do babysitting. I don’t go over there to lord over them and be some authoritarian parental figure. I go over there to PLAY with them.

For years I have been telling them that I am NOT the boss; that they are! I am only there to talk with them, play with them and do whatever they order me to do. I am their equal; just a big and old kid. And that is how they treat me.

That’s right, I’m the cool grandpa.

But I have to admit that I employ trickery. I always try to add a little learning to the games we play. When they are having fun playing a game they don’t realize that they are learning something new. They don’t want to learn, they want to play. If I were to say to them, “Okay, now I’m going to teach you some stuff,” they would have none of it and order me to stop and play instead.

It can be quite a challenge to teach through play but it can be rewarding for both the girls and for me. I invariably find that I learn a lot, too.

So before I went over to their house on Friday I was racking my brain trying to come with a new game for us to play and for something to teach through that game. I try to come up with a new game every visit but it’s starting to get difficult.

And then it hit me. I would teach them a tiny bit of Spanish. Of course, I don’t speak Spanish so it would definitely be a learning experience for me as well.

I got out a sheet of paper and my trusty dusty Spanish/English dictionary. I searched for a dozen words that any six or nine-year-old could relate to. On the paper I wrote the Spanish word followed by its pronunciation and then its equivalent English word.

I started with all the Spanish words for colors. (That would make coloring fun, I thought.) Then I added some words for animals and the word for house and for eyes. (I…