Kids need to get out and work off their energy, even as they’re learning. If a child sits still for too long, she loses focus and can’t absorb information as easily. Using physical activities to reinforce learning will help memories form as well, meaning the information imparted has a better chance of making an impact on the children in the future.
Soccer is an important part of the Spanish-speaking sports world. As the world’s most popular sport, it’s certainly not only played in Spain and Latin America, but it’s easy to incorporate Spanish traditions in your games, which teaches students the history of the game in those nations. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid are considered two of the best soccer teams in the world. Children can learn about their top players. They can imitate Cristiano Ronaldo’s ball flips and dribbling moves, or practice Lionel Messi’s trademark runs. They can also practice the different styles of play. Real Madrid has an individual offensive game whereas Barcelona concentrates on a tight passing game.
While bullfighting has long lost its global appeal and it even dying out in Spain itself, the cultural and historical implications of the spectacle are worth teaching. While students certainly aren’t going to be real matadors, they can dress up in the colorful garb and learn how to hold the cape. They can pretend to bullfight with each other, taking turns role playing. If you’re looking for a less violent take on this piece of Spanish cultural, try to simulate a running of the bulls festival. In this situation, the small towns often let bulls run loose among the people and all would race ahead trying to keep away from the bulls to start a week of festivities. It was an opening ceremonies of sorts. Some children can pretend to be the bulls, others the spectators and others the runners in this role-playing activity.
Dancing is popular throughout all Latin cultures. Introduce the kids to several beats and musical genres within the Latin realm, such as meringue, salsa, flamenco and bolero. Each of these have their own steps and styles and children will easily line up and follow a leader to learn the moves. Most Spanish dances can be done individually and with just a little practice, the students will be able to hold a simple rhythm. As you teach the dance itself, you can also teach the history behind the dance, and when and where it’s used in the culture.
Festivals are a huge part of Latino life. Whether they be religious, family-oriented or historically based on location, Spanish cultures go all out on fiesta days. You can have your children create their own festival by making ethnic foods from the culture of their choice, playing music from that culture, and combining all three of the sections above into one huge party. Fiesta-goers can play Spanish sports or learn about bullfighting, while others can dance, cook, eat and learn. A Spanish festival is a fantastic way to wrap up a term on culture and history in Spanish-speaking nations.