Sticky notes have to be one of the handiest inventions ever. In addition to keeping us organized, they are wonderful for language activities to teach kids Spanish.
You can rearrange sticky notes, so they are perfect for matching activities. You can put them on a wall, so everything is bigger and kids can stand up and move. You can put them anywhere, so language can be applied to the physical world (I couldn’t resist the pun). They come in fabulous colors, so it is easy to differentiate or associate ideas by color. The different sizes also make sticky notes easy to use. Choose small ones to label pictures in books. Use big notes on household objects so you can read them easily from a distance.
40 Ways to Use Sticky Notes with Children Learning Spanish
1. Introduce or practice shape words. Put the words on the sticky notes and let kids label objects in the house or in picture book illustrations.
2. Practice adjectives. Put words on the notes and let kids put them on objects in the house or in pictures.
3. Work with adjective agreement and word order. Put nouns on one color note and adjectives on another. Match pairs that agree grammatically. You can decide if they should also make sense or if you want to make silly phrases. If you do this with household objects, you can put the notes around the house: refrigerador grande, puerta blanca, ventana limpia.
4. Practice opposites. Put the words on the sticky notes and let kids find objects to label. Give them the words in pairs (grande, pequeño). The objects may not be near each other, but thinking about them in pairs helps children learn the concepts and the vocabulary.
5. Label pictures in books using the vocabulary from the story.
6. Practice food vocabulary. Let kids label food and food containers with Spanish words. This is a very popular activity with my students. They write the food word and often draw a little picture. Your cupboards will be full of notes.
7. Practice body parts. Put notes with body part vocabulary on yourself or on each other.
8. Practice body parts again by putting notes on a full-length mirror. A child stands to make the notes match the reflection. You can move the notes around, put a hand up for example, to make it harder and more fun.
9. Make sticky notes with words in a picture or places on a map. Put them in the wrong places and have kids straighten them out.
10. Practice numbers. Mix up notes with the numbers 1-100 and have kids count and put them in order. This is more fun on a wall.
11. Put numbers and symbols for math operations on notes. Make math problems to solve. Be sure to say the problems aloud: 6 + 3 = 9, Seis más tres es igual a nueve.
12. Practice initial letter sounds. Put letters on notes and stick them to objects that start with that letter.
13. Put letters of your child’s name or another long word or phrase on the notes. See how many words you can make out of the letters.
14. Practice the alphabet. Put the letters of the alphabet on notes, mix them up, and have kids put them in order.
15. Put the syllables of words on the notes. Kids put the syllables in order. If the word is a household object, they can put the notes there: ven-ta-na, puer-ta
16. Practice household vocabulary with a treasure hunt. Put notes labeled with words on objects around the house. Give the kids clues that describe the object. They find the object and bring back the note with the word. Post the description and the word together: Para tocar música – el piano, Para comer sopa – la cuchara.
17. Write words related to an object on notes and let them make the shape of that object on the wall. For example, they can make a tree out of words like hoja, rama, verde, nido, pájaro, ardilla. Depending on the size of what they are making, they will probably have to repeat words, but repetition will help them learn the words. This is my favorite picture made of sticky notes.
18. Make scrambled sentences. Write the words of a sentence on notes. Mix them up and have kids put them in order.
19. Put lots of letters on notes and make a crossword on a wall. This is like the game Bananagrams. You can keep adding new letters and making it bigger.
20. Put letters on notes and make a word search on a wall. Kids can mark the words they find by putting a dot on the letters with a marker.
21. Help kids put messages in Spanish on sticky notes and take a fun picture like this. If you want to be able to read one message in the picture, you can put a letter on each note. In this case, figure out where you want the notes and put them on the wall first.
22. Let kids use sticky notes to cover English words with the Spanish equivalent on calendars, containers, book titles, magazines, in the newspaper – anywhere they see a word they know or want to learn in Spanish.
23. Make a chore list or a to-do list on sticky notes. Let them arrange them in the order they want to do the tasks and put the list wherever they want. They can move the things they have done to the end, another place, or take them off.
24. Let kids cover something with sentences or words about it. This example is a little extreme, but you get the idea.
25. Use sticky notes for relays. Put notes with answers to questions on a wall. Give the teams the questions on notes. If you leave the notes together each team member can take off the question when it is her turn to run. They run to find the answer to the question and post their questions and answers together. Of course, this can be done with any kind of matching.
26. Match descriptions of photos to the picture. Gather pictures from magazines and write descriptions of them on sticky notes. Kids put the note on the picture. These can be simple sentences (Hay un carro rojo.) or more complicated descriptions. In a classroom setting, students can bring pictures and descriptions. Separate them and the class can work to match them again.
27. Write verbs associated with household objects on sticky notes and let kids attach the notes to objects: ver on a mirror or the TV, abrir on a door, a backpack, a book. Verbs like ver, abrir, sentarse, acostarse, jugar, and lavar will have lots of possibilities. When you have found a place for all the verbs, do it again and try to not repeat the same places.
28. Practice me gusta and no me gusta. Let kids put notes with Me gusta and No me gusta on things they like and do not like in the house.
29. Practice prepositions. Put phrases with prepositions on notes and let kids put them around the house. For example, you can use phrases like para niños, para adultos, de Papá, para jugar. You can also write where the note should go: encima del escritorio, debajo de una silla.
30. Do sorting activities. List words in different categories on notes and let kids sort them out. For example, they can separate farm animals and jungle animals or living things and nonliving things.
31. Practice comparisons. Make notes that say things like pesado and más pesado or dulce and menos dulce and let kids find and label things in pairs. It is fun to include subjective adjectives like interesante and importante too.
32. Use sticky notes for dialog or thought bubbles for characters in books and fill them in. This is fun with animal sounds too.
33. Put adjectives on small notes and label people in picture books. You can start with blank notes and label as you read based on the story, or you can just use the pictures and not read the story. The adjectives can be physical descriptions like moreno, alto, joven or descriptions like contento, enojado, triste. Including the verb ser or estar is a good idea.
34. Practice direct object pronouns. Label objects with the direct object pronoun (lo, la, los, las) you use to refer to it and a verb you use to talk about it: La llevo (mochila). Lo toco (piano). La tomo (leche). Me los pongo (zapatos). Me las pongo (botas).
35. Make a flipbook for a verb like saltar or volar or for prepositions like arriba and abajo. It is easy; put the binding to the side and don’t separate the notes. Search “making flipbooks” if you’re not sure how.
36. Put articles (el, la, los, las) and nouns on separate notes. Match the article to the noun.
37. Match colors. Put green notes on green things. You can write the word on the note too. Be sure to use the Spanish color words as you stick the notes.
38. Make a word wall. When kids ask “How do you say (whatever) in Spanish?” write the word on a sticky note and let them make a word wall. You can have special fun colors or shapes for this. Carry some with you when you are out, but leave them attached until you get home. Beware, kids will start to ask a lot! Talk about the words on the wall together whenever you can.
39. Write notes to your child in Spanish. Put them everywhere.
40. Use a sticky note to remind yourself to speak Spanish with the kids!
You may also be interested in this post: Polite Expressions in Spanish that Every Child Should Learn