2 quick, helpful activities to successfully learn lives in Spanish 🏡

A town with people living underground and a town with everyone living in the same building? 🤯 No matter where you live, knowing how to say lives in Spanish is an important phrase if you want to communicate with Spanish-speakers.

Since there is only one phrase (vive), this lesson is pretty short with a listening and reading activity. Listening and reading are super important and have to happen to successfully learn Spanish.

I created a couple of activities to practice vive and bundled them. The first is a listening activity to ask questions about friends and family. I asked questions about our family and friends using photos. I’ve included a script with instructions, an example, and an audio recording so you can hear the pronunciation.

The second activity is a reading activity with sentences to match to pictures. The audio recording includes audio of these sentences and the pack includes an answer key for the reading activity. You can grab the vive pack here.

pin with a picture of a house for the phrase he/she lives in spanish

How I Taught My Kids He/She Lives in Spanish

Aidan and Alex did the lesson together. We quickly did calendar time and then I asked them the questions in the lesson. The lesson took about 20 minutes but probably should’ve taken closer to 10 minutes. It took longer due to a combination of my lack of preparation and crazy energy that erupts when the two are together. 🧨🧨🧨

This lesson is based on conversation about people and/or well-known characters, so there are more words the kids need to know than in previous lessons. I created a word wall like the one I have in my classroom to help the kids understand the questions.

spanish word wall
This is the word wall I made to help the kids with interrogative words and other words necessary to make complete sentences.

Here is a pdf with the words:

I colored the borders for fun (or what I thought would be fun – took forever!), laminated them to help them last longer, and glued them on the back of the foam board that the calendar is on. I don’t think they need to be colored or laminated, but I highly encourage putting a word wall together. Pointing at each word while I said it helped them understand what I was saying. And it slowed my speaking down, which is a must! I naturally talk really fast, so slowing down is a constant challenge for me.

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I showed about ten photos of different family members, friends, and the boys’ snowmen and then asked a couple of questions about Spongebob. When I showed a photo, I asked the questions from the lesson. Alex gave the correct information about the people, but Aidan gave me information that was wrong but funny. For example:

Me: ¿Cómo se llama ella?

Them: Sarah

Me: ¿Vive Sarah con Poco (our cat)?

Alex: No

Aidan: ¡Sí!

After that, I kept asking if each person lives with Poco, and Aidan said yes every time.

Alex with snowman to practice lives spanish
I pointed to the snowman and asked, “What’s his name?” and “Where does he live?” This is the description in Spanish I told them based on their answers:
Él se llama Snowman. Snowman vive en el corazón (heart) de Alex.
Aidan's snowman to practice lives spanish
I did the same thing with Aidan’s snowman. Here is the description I said after they answered: Se llama Fred. Fred vive en las nubes (the clouds).

This activity is based on a method called Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA), and I use it in my class all of the time. I first heard about it at a TPR Storytelling® workshop and from Ben Slavic. If you are interested in learning more about Comprehensible Input methods, those are both great places to start.

At the end of the lesson, I quickly checked if they understood the phrases vive and se llama by just saying a short sentence in Spanish and having them tell me the translation in English. For example, I said “Se llama Lucy.” Aidan told me, “She’s called Lucy.”

What I Learned

They like doing the lessons separately. Since they are better behaved separately, I’m going to try to do parts of the lesson with them individually and then do the games with them together. Because I have all of that extra free time and nothing else to do with it. 🤦‍♀️

Something I should’ve known (but for some reason thought wouldn’t apply to teaching my kids) was to have the pictures ready to go before starting. I started to write the lesson and prepare everything but was in a hurry and thought to myself: I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I can wing it.

Ummm, I would *never* start one of my classes with a new activity without having prepared every bit of it before class started. I have no idea what I was thinking. The wait time between photos while I scrolled through my phone resulted in immediate chaos. Then having to get them back on track was a huge waste of time. So, have your photos ready before you start!

A great reminder more than something I learned: pointing at each word while I said it helped them process what I was saying.

If laminating: color first, then laminate and then cut. I cut the words for the word wall first, then colored and then laminated. Major pain to put and keep the pieces in the laminating pouches!

Listening to and understanding Spanish is the first step to learning it. Talk about enough family members, friends, and/or pets until your kids understand what you’re saying without looking at notes!

Did your kids give correct answers about the pictures like Alex or make things up like Aidan? Tell me in the comments below!

P.S. Are you looking for a quick and fun way to help your kids start learning Spanish? If so, check out my free Spanish for Kids Starter Guide! You can immediately use any of the 9 simple tips to introduce your kids to Spanish. Know what the best part is? You don’t have to know Spanish to use it!

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