I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) and Spanish to kids and families who are just learning the languages. Teaching languages to kids is so different than my adult students, and I am constantly trying to come up with fun ways for them to practice communicating, in authentic and natural ways. I was so excited that PomTree Kids sent me some of their mess-free crafts to try out. This is a sponsored post, though I wouldn’t endorse a product I didn’t like! Here’s how I use crafts to to get kids talking.
Before taking the crafts to my students, I told my kids we were going to do a craft in Spanish. We took out all of the supplies- our kits has paper, foam and felt stickers, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and beads. I told the kids to design and decorate as they like, and they had so much fun! Because I meet several of my students at the public library, one of the best parts about these kits for me is that you don’t need glue (no mess!).
Using the foamies and stickers, My 8 year old made the cutest little girl, and soon all 4 kids were making little people. They started to make them chat with each other in their little voices, and I knew I would be doing this at my next tutoring session! Here are some ideas I came up with to use crafts for language learning:
Using Crafts in Language Learning:
Colors and shapes: While the child is working on their craft, ask them about it in the target language, having them describe it to you using vocabulary they’ve learned:
Tiene pelo rubio.. dos piernas azules.
His head is a circle. Her dress is a triangle.
If they are lower level, have them point out details that you describe:
Point to his red legs. Where is the green circle?
Likes and Dislikes: I am teaching the verb “gustar” in Spanish, and will use these little people to practice expressing like and dislike:
Le gustan los tacos? Does she like to dance?
Commands: I have done this with play-dough before, and it’s also fun with craft supplies. When their language is proficient enough, kids love to tell the teacher what to do! When I only follow Spanish instructions, and act rather silly in the process, the kids are laughing so hard they don’t realize they are acquiring language. Practice having the kids give and follow instructions:
Put the red circle above the green circle. Usa 2 estrellas para los ojos. Make him have 2 heads!
Conversations: I have some ESL students who speak some English, but really need practice communicating in “no-stress” situations. At school they get nervous and clam up, but when they are in a comfortable environment playing games or doing crafts, they relax and speak much more. Much like puppets or dolls, these little people are perfect to encourage them to have informal conversations (and they love using voices!).
What’s his name? Where is he from? What does he like to play at recess? Does he have any brothers or sisters?
Have fun with these craft supplies, and be creative! Let the kids use their imagination and creative meaningful language learning opportunities.
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Please let me know how you use crafts in language learning with kids. I am always looking for new ideas for my students! To find out more about PomTree Kids, you can find them on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.