Teaching Tips

Read Testimonies, Watch Videos about Flip Flop Spanish

If you meet with resistance with reviewing colors, numbers, or any number of vocabulary words. Play BINGO.

Go to the games page and print out a blank BINGO sheet. Fill it in with pictures (or have your child draw them if he's an older student) of the vocabulary words. Write the list on scraps of paper and use pennies to cover each picture.

Be sure to SAY the Spanish words, not the English, with each turn.

Download a free Bingo Game now, complete with 12 words!
Learn 20 new Spanish words with each Bingo Download, all while you're having fun!
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When struggling to keep your student engaged, take a step back and think - Is he having fun? Is this easy?

Review concepts he already knows like colors, or numbers through something like telling time!

To say:
It's one o'clock = Es la una. 1:00
It's two o'clock = Son las dos. 2:00
It's three o'clock = Son las tres. 3:00
Draw boxes with the : in them, and let your child write the numbers in as you tell the time.
At four o'clock = A las cuatro.... 4:00
At five o'clock = A las cinco... 5:00
We're going to use = Vamos a usar...

Suddenly, you can say: At four o'clock we're going to use blue and the book. (A las cuatro, vamos a usar azul y el libro.) Your child will watch for 4:00 to come around on the kitchen microwave time, and can pick up his blue Crayon, ready to work through another page of his Flip Flop Spanish Workbook!

Simply changing the location or manner in which you teach a lesson can create interest and motivation for your child. If sitting in his parents' bed is a real treat, have his Flip Flop Spanish Workbook waiting for him there, and take advantage of his excitement!

Change HOW you teach him as well! Use the link below to introduce new words and listen to them and repeat to expand his vocabulary:

Give simple instructions in Spanish:

All these can be found in the Easy Spanish Phrase Book - GREAT price, and LOTS of help for non-Spanish speakers!

Espera un momento [eh-speh-rah-oon-moh-mehn-toh] Wait a moment
Cuidado [kwee-dah-doh] Look out, Careful!
Oye [oh-yeh] Listen

With any new word, say it at least three times while DOING SOMETHING. In class, we shake a maraca for each syllable of a new word, or to cheer when a word is remembered correctly (it's quieter than clapping!)

Colors: Have your student color circles (or anything) and repeat the color three times while coloring.
Animals (a): touch a picture of the animal, say it three times as you tap the picture with each repetition.
Animals (b): acting out animals (flying around the room and “singing” pájaro, pájaro, pájaro works wonders!) also will solidify the vocabulary.
Adjectives: act out the words and say it three times

A helpful supplement is: Spanish Board Books

After mastering flashcards, ask questions about the pictures, causing Spanish phrases to come from your student, instead of just single words:

Do you like it? (¿Te gusta?)
How many? (¿Cuánto?)
What color? (¿Cuál color?)
What is it like? (¿Cómo es?)

Surprise your child with a Spanish phrase or command when he doesn’t expect it. Say gracias more often, and de nada to his “thank you.” Even without correction, hearing Spanish helps him to be more comfortable when it comes time to say it.

Actively Interact

Instead of TELLING your child the words, ask him to choose!
Use Felt Boards, dolls, clothing, even blocks, or Matchbox cars, and ask him:

Quieres el carro rojo o azul? (Do you want the red car, or blue?)
Tienes el juguete nuevo o viejo? (Do you have the old toy, or the new one?)

Point or touch the item as you describe it, and if your son or daughter doesn't respond in Spanish, that's okay! Say, "Oh, tienes el carro rojo. Muy bien."

A helpful supplement is:Flip Flop Felt Friends - which comes with an instruction pamphlet to use and play with in ANY language! - Sra. Gose uses this with her students from ages 3 to 46 (that's the age of my eldest student right now) , and the set has lasted for more than four years in weekly classes, four hours a day. VERY durable!

If your student is able to read, label household items in the house with post-it notes in Spanish. If you touch it, you have to say it! Or use the flashcards Sra. Gose uses with her students, and place them word-side up around the house - Use five a day, and change them out often!

This is VERY helpful at dinner time - when you ask for a fork, you can use the phrase "¿Puedo tener el tenedor, por favor?" (May I have the fork, please?)

Puedo tener (pweh-doh-teh-nehr) can be used to ask your child to bring you ANYTHING in Spanish.

Languages on the go!
For those summer vacations, instead of getting frustrated with the phrases you hear again and again, practice your Spanish!

I'm hungry [Tengo hambre] tehn-goh-ahm-breh
I'm bored [Estoy aburrido (aburrida for girls)] eh-stoy-ah-boo-ree-doh
How much longer? [ ¿Cuánto tiempo más?] kwahn-toh-tee-ehm-poh-mahs
Are we there yet? [¿Ya llegamos?] yah-yeh-gah-mohs
I have to go! [¡Tengo que ir!] tehn-goh-keh-eer
I want to get out. [Quiero salir.] kee-eh-roh-sah-leer

The old adage, “Use it or Lose it” applies here.

Review workbook pages by talking through them: talk about what the weather was like when you did that page, or what day it was, or what you ate for dinner. Recalling the learning situation often helps the child to recall the lesson.

Make a habit of using Spanish once a day, even for a few seconds. Perhaps when you get ready for dinner, you practice with por favor (please) and gracias (thank you). Your child can name colors of and count the plastic cups as you set them out on the table.

Use Flashcards: Cut the ones from the back of the book, but make your own as well. Even after your student has mastered the words, add them back in to the pile.

Use other books! When a child sees the words he has learned in another venue, they become more meaningful to him.

Make a simple schedule.

When your student (or you!) get overwhelmed or bogged down- and it's bound to happen, learning a language is time-intensive, and seems to never end! - Try to set out a short-term time line. Decide to learn ONE WORD EACH DAY for a few days.

Lessons will be quick, fun, and your confidence will boost!

You CAN accomplish this goal! You simply must make the goal reachable!

To help with this system, you can find our Spanish Fun Activity Calendar in our Shop.

Improve your own Spanish and surprise your student with a new word!

To teach the word, use charades or draw it to allow them to guess what it means. Just click the link below!

Spanish Word of the Day

One new word every day, seven words a week. Grouped by topic and showing their origin, real life examples and pronunciation.

Puedo tener... (pweh-doh-teh-nehr) May I have?:

Use "Spanglish" to practice colors and other adjectives-

Puedo tener the ball rojo...
Puedo tener the shirt grande....

This method will allow you to see how many adjectives your child has actually absorbed in long term memory, and not just to fill in the pages of his Flip Flop Spanish Workbook.

One of the best ways to be sure your child is enjoying learning Spanish is to begin with a fun memory, and keep it going! In my youngest weekly classes, we ALWAYS began with this simple song: "Cómo estás?" Students from years back, that are now teenagers, still smile, and do the actions as we sing together, even if we see each other around town.

These two songs Señora Gose recorded for her students to enjoy at home. (Nothing fancy, no recording studio or even background music for the first two.) They are not yet featured on any of the Flip Flop Spanish CD's, but the lyrics appear in each of the workbooks in the Feelings lesson.

Flip Flop Spanish: Ages 3-5: Level 2 has four more great songs for you to learn and enjoy.

Click on the headings below to hear these basic songs.

¿Cómo estás?

¿Cómo estás? (without answers)

Days of the Week (On the CD for Flip Flop Spanish Ages 3-5 Level 2)


~Spanish Flashcard Games: Always being updated, Check back often!

The Spanish Flashcards featured here and in the Flip Flop Shop are the best out there! Why? Because they have photos, not cartoons, on one side, and the Spanish and English translations on the reverse, as well as the phonetic spelling.

See our Flip Flop Shop to get your set of Azul or Verde Flash Cards today!

~Car Bingo In Spanish
This summer, make a list of the things you'll see on your next car trip, and make a few grids to mark as you see the items. Things like restroom stops, exits, trees, signs (different types) trucks, and more... are great practice and keep your trips educational and exciting.

If you don't have time (or artistic talent!) to make your own game boards, try one from below - you'll have to look up the words they list and make a translation sheet, but these are both good alternatives. Clicking on the pictures will take you to Amazon.com to read more on these two games.
Be sure your children call each word out in Spanish as they play!

~The Shell Game
Here's a great game to spice up any vocabulary lesson!
For any list of three or four new words, use the age-old "shell game." But there's a twist - instead of finding which shell (or plastic cup at our house) has something under it, the child or student is simply having to remember the Spanish word (or any language) for the item that is uncovered. Here's an example:

We studied animals one week:
el gato - cat (gah-toh)
el perro - dog (peh-roh)
el pájaro - bird (pah-hah-roh)
el pez - fish (pehs)

After studying the words and doing our weekly activities, we took little people (fisher price, I think) and placed one animal under each of four cups (be sure they're not see-through!) If you don't have actual figures, a half-index card with the picture on it - from a magazine, or sticker, or draw it yourself, should fit under fairly easily.

Slide the cups around rapidly, trying to follow them with your eyes. Then one partner uncovers an animal. The other person has to say it in Spanish in order to keep it. Switch turns. The person that guessed now gets to move the cups. The guesser chooses a cup - hopefully there's an animal underneath! If there is, you must say the Spanish word. If there is no animal, or the wrong word is guessed, the turn passes to the opposite player. Keep taking turns until all four animals are gone. The player with the most animals wins. To make it more advanced, add a fifth cup, to make it easier, take one cup (and one word) away.

~Flashcard memory
With all the different "memory games" on the market, you can pick and choose animals, or use the Winnie the Pooh set and name the actions shown in each picture, or any set you already have.

Be sure to use a smaller set of cards - depending on the age of your child, not the whole box. As you lay them out, say the Spanish word for each picture. After each player turns over two cards, they repeat the Spanish words for the pictures. If they get a match, they only can keep the pair if they are able to say the Spanish vocabulary word!

The person with the most matching pairs wins.

~Spanish Flashcard Fishing Game
For this game, choose three cards your child is already familiar with and place them in a paper sack, pillowcase, or any container that conceals the three cards. As you place them in the bag, name them in Spanish together.

The child must then choose which word he will be "fishing" for. He will call out the word, then reach in the bag without looking. If he gets the card he was hoping for he keeps it. If not, he must throw it back.

When he "catches" the correct card, he must say the word in Spanish to be able to keep the card. Work your way up from three to five cards as he becomes more adept at remembering the words that are in the bag. Choosing the three cards based on a common theme also aids in memory.

Alternate turns until the bag is empty. The person with the most cards wins.

~Spanish Flashcard Charades
This game is similar to teaching vocabulary charades. Happily, you, the parent, actually get to play and guess with abandon!

Pick ten cards or so from the flashcard pile that you and your child are already familiar with. Place the cards on the table, picture side down. Each player takes turns choosing a card and acting it out. Other players call out the SPANISH meaning of the action. If a child is not yet reading, he simply refers to the picture.

The first person to say the correct Spanish word wins and then keeps that card. At the end, the player with the most cards wins.

~Spanish Flashcard Room Sort
Choose 4 items that can be found in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and family room. Mix the 16 cards up in one pile, and have your child lay them out, picture side up. Ask them which ones belong:

en la sala - the living room
en la cocina - the kitchen
en el baño - the bathroom
en el cuarto - in the bedroom

After your child says the Spanish word and divides them up, take each pile (one at a time) to the correct room and set the card by the item. Say the Spanish word three times!

To add more excitement, have him stand in the doorway and time how long it takes him to place the cards and say the word three times for all the cards. Which room could he do the fastest?

All these words are in the Picture Words Spanish Flashcards Set in the Flip Flop Shop

El (ehl) , la (lah), los (lohs), and las (lahs)....are not in the pronunciation guide.

~Story Telling (ages 6 and up)
Había una vez --- Once upon a time. (ah-bee-ah-ooh-nah-behs)

Choose three cards for each person and lay them out on the table, picture side up. After reviewing the Spanish words, have each person tell a short, silly story using those three words.

To make it more creative, add to each other's stories!

Here's an example: Habia una vez una escoba. La escoba was very triste. He needed un amigo. So la silla said he would be la escoba's friend. La silla and la escoba lived together in una mesa, until my mom came to sweep. She took the escoba and la silla was sad. But my mom said they could play together until she needed to sweep again. So la escoba, la silla, y la mesa lived happily ever after.

~Vocabulary Bingo
BINGO! (been-goh) Materials needed: Bingo card, pennies (or any item to cover boxes), coffee can or shoe box, scraps of paper or index cards.

To review any list of vocabulary - colors, numbers, animals, anything - print out a Bingo card. (Right click and select save the image so you can use it again and again, or just print)

~Color Bingo
Fill in each box with colors (your three year old can easily scribble a color in each box and say the Spanish color three times as he does so). Toss the crayons you used into a shoe box or coffee can and take turns pulling them out to mark the correct spot -

(Our 2 1/2 year old likes to mark an X on the box rather than cover it with pennies - he can only sit for one game at a time, anyway - But our 4 year old likes using tiddly-winks to cover the boxes so he can use his game card over and over)

~Anything Else Bingo
If your child can draw, have him draw pictures of items from his vocabulary list. Otherwise, use clipart or stickers (Farm Animal Stickers are coming in the Flip Flop Shop!), or draw stick figures yourself as you say the words together three times while you draw.

Next, write the words on scraps of paper and toss them in the coffee can or shoe box - you can read the words as you put them in one at a time as well for another round of review.

Be sure to play with him so the competitive edge drives them to succeed and remember - you can't win unless you can name your winning row in Spanish!

~¡Me Gusta!
Las Bolsas (lahs-bohl-sahs; the sacks)- Me gusta y no me gusta lesson

Materials needed: two paper sacks, lunch size, flash cards, pictures, or small items your child likes and dislikes, one sheet of paper.

Set-up: Label the Bags Me gusta and No me Gusta, and write the 6 or 7 items you have to work with in a list on a separate piece of paper (in Spanish!)

Your child will take the flashcards (or small items) while your back is turned (or eyes closed) and then puts the items in the bags according to his or her preferences. Then you guess, from the list you have written already, what items are in which bag. She answers Si or no as you guess and you get an X or check next to that item on the list (we used a pencil so we could play again without making a new list each time)

The number of Checks you get is your score. Then it's your turn to put the items in the bags. Of course, the entire time, you are to speak Spanish only - and you can introduce (or review)

¿Por qué? (Why?)
Porque es...feo, or Porque es mi favorito. (Because it's...ugly,...)
Porque es rojo y me gusta rojo. Etc.

A fun way to get to know more about the partner and practice asking questions:

¿O sí, Te gusta eso? ¡Interesante! (Really? You like that? Interesting!)

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