Spain has a fascinating history and culture that will appeal to most school-aged children. Using hands-on learning activities in a variety of curriculum areas is a good way for elementary students to learn about the country. At the same time, youngsters can develop their skills in research, art, vocabulary, music, geography and several more academic disciplines.
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Music and Drama Activities
Flamenco is a style of music that originated in Spain about 200 years ago. Children can listen to it and use a wood block or rhythm sticks to play the syncopated beat. After watching a video of flamenco dancers, kids may want to create costumes that are similar to those worn in Spain. They can act out some of the highlights of Spanish history or make up a play about a person who visits Spain.
The food of Spain is varied and delicious. With some help from adults, children can find Spanish recipes and prepare a number of foods for their family or friends. They may enjoy making an omelette called Tortilla de Patata that contains potatoes and onions, or try the cold soup known as gazpacho. Youngsters can research the crops that are grown in Spain and the foods that are enjoyed during local festivals.
Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali are just two of many famous Spanish artists. Children can examine their work and create a painting of their own in a similar style. Young sculptors may enjoy making a traditional Spanish piñata from a flour and water paste and strips of newspaper. Art students may also draw the flag of Spain or study elegant Spanish architecture.
Look at a map of Spain on the Web or in an atlas. Have children name the oceans that surround it and the countries that border it. Identify the capital city of Madrid and the mountain range that divides Spain from the rest of Europe. Use questions such as, “Which direction will you travel if you go from Barcelona to Mallorca?” to have students practice map reading.
Learning about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, Spanish explorers, bullfighters or Christmas traditions in Spain can inspire writing projects. Kids can pretend to be a historical figure like Hernando Cortez and write journal entries from his point of view. They may want to create a poem about holiday celebrations or a short story about someone who travelled with Christopher Columbus or watched a bull fight.
Young children will enjoy learning to count in Spanish. Older kids can use a Spanish/English dictionary to find out how to say simple sentences or ask questions. Students of all ages may want to learn to sing the chorus of “Feliz Navidad” or another song with Spanish lyrics.
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