11 Exciting Ways to Learn Spanish as a Family
Learning Spanish as a family can create an educational environment and be a great bonding experience, as everyone attends classes, goes on immersion trips and enjoys a shared activity.
And, it surrounds you with people you can practice with and motivates you to accomplish your goals.
In this post, I’ll lay out the 11 best ways to learn Spanish as a family.
- Family Spanish Lessons to Have at Home
- Family Spanish Lessons Around Town
- Opportunities Abroad for Family Spanish Lessons
- And One More Thing…
Family Spanish Lessons to Have at Home
1. Have a Spanish night
One of the reasons so many people learn English as a second language is because of a genuine interest in movies, music and the culture behind the language. The same is true for people wanting to learn Spanish as a second language.
So embrace the culture by hosting a Spanish night and enjoy the rich history, delicious food, art, music and movies of your Spanish-speaking country of choice.
Pick a new country each time! For Spain, dress in Spanish clothing, decorate the house Spanish-style and eat Spanish food. After a meal of paella and gazpacho, the whole family can settle in to watch Spanish movies or listen to Spanish songs.
The best part about watching movies and playing music is that they not only help you appreciate the culture, they also allow you to test your vocabulary and comprehension.
If you want a more active Spanish night, invite Spanish-speaking families or other families learning Spanish over to play games that encourage you to speak Spanish to each other.
2. Play games regularly
Seriously, games aren’t only for Spanish night—the learning process is supposed to be enjoyable! If you have young kids, it might even be necessary to make your efforts to learn Spanish as a family fun by playing games regularly with them.
Make-believe games, such as pretending to eat at a restaurante (restaurant) or imagining yourself as a taxista (taxi driver), are sometimes the best learning games since they allow everyone to practice useful vocabulary.
However, there are also Spanish board games, such as Spanish Bananagrams or KLOO’s series of games to learn Spanish, like Race to Madrid.
Some other options are Spanish Bingo, as well as flashcard matching games. If none of these meet your fancy, there are all kinds of great ideas out there for Spanish games that children will enjoy.
3. Do at-home activity books
There are many workbooks, challenges and activity books for families to complete together. One of the best is “52 Weeks of Family Spanish.” This resource is a structured home-study program in book form. It provides a year’s worth of weekly lessons, games and activities and is designed for family participation.
The topics are basic, so even young learners can be readily engaged. The lessons and activities are meant to be an integral part of your family’s daily life. They’re applicable to ordinary situations like family mealtime or describing objects in the home, so there should be lots of teachable moments for the whole family.
4. Watch Spanish learning videos together
Most of us watch at least some TV en casa (at home). That little habit makes it a snap to bring Spanish lessons to the family! Here are a few programs or platforms you can use to make TV time more educational:
- HeyKids. HeyKids videos are made for children, but don’t kid yourself—adults will learn from them, too. The characters and storylines are engaging so prepare to watch for a while once they hit the screen. The subjects they tackle are basic—just the sort of material beginning learners need to form a solid Spanish foundation.
- Muzzy. Muzzy is a popular language learning program put out by the BBC. Along with the classic TV show that teaches Spanish through fun stories, Muzzy now also offers an online learning website, hundreds of games, sing-alongs and more. That’s a lot of material and honestly, it does a great job of teaching even young children how to speak Spanish.
- FluentU. FluentU uses an immersion method, letting you learn Spanish through videos. Unlike Muzzy—which is made for kids but works for adults—FluentU is made for serious adult language learners but also has great content for kids, too. There are plenty of clips from shows like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol, Disney songs, animated read-alongs, catchy children’s songs and more.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Family Spanish Lessons Around Town
5. Take Spanish classes together
Having a native-speaking instructor guide you through the learning process is ideal. However, taking classes as a family at a Spanish-language institution can get expensive fast.
Thankfully, plenty of cost-effective options are likely available in your local community, such as classes at a community college or through community centers and local libraries.
No matter where you decide to go, make sure you get the most out of the classes by going at least once or twice a week.
If it’s impossible to find days or opportunities that work for everyone in the family, don’t fret. You and your family can always sign up for online classes and study independently.
6. Eat at a Spanish restaurant
When learning Spanish, do your best to immerse yourself in the culture. If traveling abroad as a family isn’t an option, take advantage of local restaurants that boast cuisine from Spanish-speaking countries, such as Spain, Mexico, Ecuador or Argentina.
Practice ordering beforehand and get familiar with the vocabulary. Make it a game to see who can go the longest only speaking Spanish. You can also ask each family member to challenge themselves (and practice) by using full Spanish sentences to order their dishes. No menu pointing allowed!
7. Meet with those that share your passion
Meetups are a great way to connect with new people interested in learning and developing their language skills. Often, it’s possible to find native-Spanish speakers who want to polish their English and are willing to help you and your family with Spanish.
You can check Meetup.com for meetups revolving around all sorts of activities in your area.
If you can’t find a meetup, start your own! There are probably like-minded folks near you with the same interests, so don’t be afraid to start your own group if you don’t immediately see one that interests you!
8. Volunteer (in Spanish)
Volunteering isn’t just limited to other countries. Local communities have plenty of opportunities to work on your Spanish.
Look through websites like VolunteerMatch to find opportunities to volunteer with individuals in your local community who consider Spanish their first (and potentially only) language.
Sitting in on sessions can help you build fluency if you’re still learning Spanish. Though these aren’t formal Spanish lessons, you’ll be surprised by how much you pick up. As you become more confident, your translation skills may be invaluable to organizations looking for volunteers.
Opportunities Abroad for Family Spanish Lessons
9. Be tourists together
Full immersion in a Spanish-speaking country is by far the best way to learn the language. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. As one might expect, there are several opportunities to travel while learning Spanish.
The most obvious way to do this is by going to a Spanish-speaking country as a tourist. While exploring the region, you can challenge yourself by only speaking Spanish to the locals. They’ll definitely appreciate your attempts to speak their language.
However, when taking the trip as a family, make sure that everyone is getting to participate in the conversation. Often, those who are most confident in their abilities will dominate chats with locals, making it harder for those who are more timid to continue to learn.
Another way to learn Spanish abroad is through volunteering opportunities.
The advantage of this is that you’re learning a new language and giving back simultaneously. One great option is Volunteer Latin America.
This organization provides numerous opportunities that cater to families looking to work together.
However, the typical requirement is that the children be at least 13, so this might not be the best option for young learners. But keep it in mind, and once your little ones aren’t so little anymore, check out this amazing program and think about how much growing you all can do together!
11. Study abroad
Want a unique way to immerse yourself in the Spanish language? Your whole family can participate in a Spanish language intercambio (exchange), like this American family did in Guatemala.
They lived with a Maya family for an entire month!
The difference between this and a volunteer experience is that an intercambio is purely for immersion. And, since you’re not volunteering, you’re free to explore the country after the lessons.
But that’s not the only way to study as a family! Check out the Family Spanish Program from the Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools geared towards families that want to study Spanish together. Get your passports ready!
A few other resources, programs and opportunities include:
- TLCdénia. Their programs in Spain are for adults and children over the age of five. They feature Spanish language lessons as well as family-friendly cultural and athletic activities. Adults take language lessons separately from their children, but the immersive experience gives ample time for the family to practice what they’ve learned together.
If your family can’t just pack up and head to Spain, there’s good news! TLCdénia offers family lessons online so bringing their Spanish courses right into your own home is possible!
- ISLS (Institute for Spanish Language Studies). Located on several campuses in Costa Rica, ISLS has some super options for family learning. Their children’s immersion program accepts kids from eight to 13. Children are placed in classes according to age and language level, so while adults take adult-level courses, the kids are learning, too!
They also have a kindergarten program that accepts children as young as 18 months. It’s a half-day program that teaches young learners in an unstructured immersive environment while their parents attend adult language classes.
Learning Spanish as a family will not only be more fun than doing it alone, but it’ll also create stronger bonds between you and your children.
Additionally, giving your children (and yourself) the gift of fluency in a second language will have benefits that will last a lifetime!
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Sign up by November 28th to receive a 60% discount with our Black Friday sale!