Summer Packet Letter 2020

My Dear Friends, Fellow Linguists, and Citizens of the World:

This year’s summer packet for Spanish is a list of 50 ideasboth online and offline–that you are welcome to reference when your child invariably complains, “I’m bored!” during the summer months. Have them choose their favorite number (or use the Random Number Generator LINK –> input a range of 1-50), and then do the corresponding activity on the list.

If you are strongly committed to incorporating Spanish throughout the summer, you can also print out the calendars below and mark an “X” whenever you do something related to Spanish language or culture.

A few activities on the list require that you leave your house. At the time of this writing, it is unclear when all businesses will reopen; obviously, do what is best and safe for your family. There are plenty of activities you can do at home. So let’s get started! And if I don’t see you sometime this week, have a wonderful summer!

Your Resident Linguist,

-Señorita M.


50 IDEAS

**For those of you interested in a Digital Detox, I have divided up the ideas into ONLINE (#’s 1-22) and OFFLINE (#’s 23-50). Just print out this page and power down your devices!

  1. Check out Universal Yums!, where you order and receive snacks from a different country every month.
  2. If you have any change in your piggybank, count all of it, and then type that number into an online currency converter to see how much it would be in a Spanish-speaking country. For example, $100 US dollars today is about 92€ euros in Spain, but 392,111 pesos in Colombia. WOW!
  3. Listen to the Cuban folktale The Barking Mouse (ends at 4:21). It is in English and Spanish, and a great story!
  4. Check the weather every day for a week in your favorite Spanish-speaking city and country using this site: Accuweather. Draw signs comparing the climates if you want!
  5. Change the clocks on all of your devices to the “24-hour clock”. Many Spanish-speaking countries use this, and it is useful to know that 15:30 is the same as 3:30pm!
  6. Work on Duolingo (or Memrise) for 15 minutes a day.
  7. Joan Miró was a famous artist from Spain. Look at THIS VIDEO PAINTING and THIS VIDEO PAINTING to understand what he sees, and then try to recreate one of his paintings with paints.
    • THE GARDEN coloring page.
    • “For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings./Para mí, un objeto es algo vivo. Este cigarrilo o esta caja de cerillos contiene una vida secreta mucho más intensa y apasionada que la de muchos seres humanos. -Miró
  8. Listen to The Legend of the Cactus, folklore from Argentina.
  9. Watch a movie–like Coco or Ferdinand–that explores culture in a kid-friendly way. THIS LINK has a list of Spanish Movies for Kids, ratings included.
  10. Change the language of your iPad, phone, computer, and all of your devices to Spanish for 24 hours. Can you survive??!
  11. Play the Language Game, and try to get a score higher than 50.
  12. Learn to count to 100 in Spanish. Watch this video for SEVEN days in a row, and copy the exercises the woman does. You will learn in no time!
  13. Listen to the entire Spanish Summit playlist of songs HERE.
  14. Use a decorative box as a “Vision Board”, where you put names and photos of all the places in the 21 Spanish-speaking countries that you would like to visit to one day. Note that these cannot simply be country names—they need to be names of specific places in those countries! This is listed as an online activity because you might need to do a little research.
  15. Explore these other language-learning apps. There are sections for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students, but you do have to scroll. HERE is another list of apps.
  16. Learn about Worry Dolls from Guatemala in this short VIDEO, and then try to make your own.
  17. Label ten things in your house in Spanish. Use WordReference or Google Translate to look up the correct spelling. Make sure to include the “el” or “la” word–for example, la mesa/the table.
  18. Listen to at least 3 full songs from THIS PAGE, pick your favorite, and then put it on loop as you dance around or do chores around the house.
  19. Watch a movie (that you have already seen) with Spanish voiceover and English subtitles.
  20. Get a head-start on the holiday season, and make Picasso-inspired tree ornaments. Activity HERE.
  21. Play the card game Mano Nerviosa to practice counting/numbers in Spanish. This super short video explains how to play, but if you would rather read the instructions, this is the LINK.
  22. Look at your stuffed animals, and make a list of what types of animals they are. If you don’t have any, just pick your favorite animals.
    • Next, look up the names of 5-7 of these animals in Spanish, and write the words of each one on little slips of paper and tape them to your stuffed animals/peluches.
    • Hide them around the house (or outside), and create a treasure map with clues for your family to find them.
  23. When you go to the beach, build a model of this famous REAL SCULPTURE in Uruguay called, “La mano” (the hand). It is huge in real life! Take a time-lapse video of you building it, to save the memory!
  24. Paint a white t-shirt the colors of your favorite Spanish-speaking country’s flag, and be sure to print the name of the country on the shirt. Ask your parents what kind of paint is best to use.
    • For example, Spain would be red and yellow stripes and say “SPAIN” or “ESPAÑA“. HERE are the flag colors for other countries.
  25. Play “Red Light, Green Light” outside with your family, but say the Spanish words instead: “Luz roja, luz verde“. “Luz” is pronounced like the English word, “loose”, as in baggy or loose pants.
  26. Cook/bake/make/eat a different traditional recipe from a Spanish-speaking country with your family each week. Here are a few ideas:
  27. Taste-test a bunch of new foods from Spanish-speaking countries that you’ve never tried before. Make it a big deal: dress up in a fancy outfit, display the food platters on a big long counter or table, take photos, critique the food… have fun!
    • You could also prepare THREE RECIPES (see #26), and have your own “Cooking Show”, where you get to critique the food and decide which is the best one!
  28. Pretend you are in Spain, and change all of the clocks and watches in your house six hours ahead for a day. For example, if it is 9am here, it would be 3pm in Spain. Make sure to ask your parents before you do this one!
  29. Spell out a word in Spanish with an unusual material, like uncooked spaghetti on the sidewalk, or a gigantic “JUGAR” (‘who-gar’/play) sign out of leaves and sticks in your yard. Make it so big that airplanes could read it! Or not… 🙂
  30. Look at your clothing tags, the sticker labels on your fruits and vegetables, and the labels on cans and other food products, and notice where these things were made and where they came from.
    • For example: clothing “Made in Guatemala”, bananas from Costa Rica, avocados from Mexico, etc.
    • Then, see if you can find 3-5 products from Spanish-speaking countries; or fill in my chart HERE.
  31. Ask your parents or relatives if they have ever traveled to another country. If they have, see if you can find tickets, receipts, foreign currency, brochures, postcards, magnets, or anything else from their trip. Make a decorative box to store all the treasures in. Be sure to interview/ask them all about their trip!
  32. Take a field trip with your family and explore the Salvador Dalí Museum, and/or just try to recreate some of his works yourself at home.
  33. Take a Bioluminescent Kayaking Tour. If you don’t know what bioluminescence is, check out this beautiful VIDEO. The video showcases Australia, but bioluminescence occurs in Puerto Rico, too!
  34. Think about language in general: do you have a favorite word? What is it? Why? Do you have a favorite Spanish word?
    • I used to like the word chic because it sounded smooth and fancy and grown-up. I also used to like the word raw, because it was fun to pronounce; but then I realized it spelled “war” backwards, and decided that I didn’t like it as much.
  35. Try to speak in a different accent for a WHOLE DAY!
  36. Create a Costa Rican rainforest in part of your house, like the one we made in our classroom. Do you have stuffed animals that might live there, like monkeys or frogs, or green birthday streamers for vines? Be creative!
  37. Play hopscotch outside, but say the numbers aloud in Spanish as you jump on each one. Hopscotch, or Rayuela (‘rye-you-A-lah‘) in Spanish, is also the name of a very famous book from Argentina.
  38. Look for signs in English and Spanish when you are out shopping with your family (Lowe’s always seems to have a lot!).
  39. If you are staying home, look for warranties, manuals, and/or instructional booklets that have Spanish translations. When you pay attention, you will start seeing translations everywhere!
  40. Color in every square inch of a sheet of paper with bright colored markers.
    • Next, put the paper in a tray and squirt water all over it (squirt, not pour), so that the colors blend together. Let the water evaporate overnight.
    • Then, fold the paper in half a bunch of times and cut out snowflakes to hang up. You can pretend that that area of your house is the southernmost tip of Argentina, since it is really cold there for most of the year!
  41. Build a huge fort (like La Alhambra in Spain) in your house again, with chairs and blankets.
    • Make a big sign in Spanish that says, “NO ENTRAR” (don’t come in!) or “¡PELIGRO!” (‘pay-LEE-grow’/danger!).
    • Variation: Build a fort outside in your backyard with branches and other natural materials!
  42. Count how many days in a row you can do something Spanish-related. Be sure to mark it off on your calendar so that you don’t forget!
  43. Visit your local library and/or bookstore, and ask where the children’s foreign language section is. Browse through the books for ten minutes and see if you can find any words in Spanish you recognize!
  44. Listen to a Spanish radio station or podcast for 20 minutes and try to pick out five words you understand. This could be five minutes a day for four days; it does not have to be all at once. What does Spanish sound like to you? Rap music? Raindrops?
  45. Ask to schedule a family night out at a local Mexican/Cuban/ Spanish-speaking restaurant. Then, either order in Spanish (if you already know how), or ask the waiter a few questions and learn how!
  46. Draw out a maze on a sheet of paper (maze idea #1; maze idea #2 is harder!). Then, go outside and transfer this maze to the sidewalk with colored chalk. Now walk through the maze. Every time you get to a dead end, you have to name a different Spanish-speaking country in under five seconds!
  47. Use Spanish as much as possible, wherever you go. Make it a game. Are you waiting in line? At the mall? At the grocery store? Online waiting for a website to load? At a stoplight? Train your brain to use those ten second blips of nothingness to remember anything Spanish. This could be:
    • the last thing you studied on Duolingo, OR
    • counting as high as you can, OR
    • closing your eyes and remembering any of my wall word signs in the Spanish classroom, OR
    • you could ask your parents what words they know in Spanish.
      • First, they say a word, then you say a word, then they say a word, etc. The person who can’t think of anything else when it’s their turn, loses!
  48. Play “Spanish soccer” (fútbol) outside. Decide which Spanish-speaking country you represent, and then keep score with Spanish numbers. Incorporate any vocabulary words you remember, like “Pásala” (pass it!) or “¡Por acá!” (over here!).
  49. It is very common in many parts of Mexico to eat, well, bugs. Really! Supposedly, Mexico is the country with the greatest variety of edible insects: 549 species.
    • To test your courage, visit the Candy Store in Dunedin and buy a few fried crickets. There are even fun flavors to whet your appetite, such as: Bacon & Cheese, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion.
  50. When you go to the beach, build a sandcastle and trace out the word, “Castillo” (castle) in the sand with your feet. Every time a wave washes part of it away, whisper “¡Adiós, castillo!” (‘kahs-TEE-yo’/Goodbye, castle!).

You read all the way to the bottom?! Thank you so much!! Have a great day!

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