Los Animales (The Animals)

There is more than one way that people can name animals, including English, Spanish, and non-verbal ways such as sign language. When children learn other ways to talk with people, they can interact with more diverse people around the world.  Encourage your child to practice naming animals in Spanish (see this month’s Spanish words listed below). Take time to practice naming animals with your child throughout the week. Ask your child to identify various animals (i.e.,“Where’s the dog?  ¿Dónde está el perro?” or “What animal is this?  ¿Qué animal es este?”).

gato – /GAT-oh/ – cat

perro – /PEAR-rroh/ – dog

vaca – /BAH-cah/ – cow

cerdo – /SAIR-doh/ – pig

caballo – /cah-BYE-yo/ – horse

oso – /OH-so/ – bear

ave – /AH-vey/ – bird

ratón – /rra-TONE/ – mouse

pez – /PEZ/ – fish

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-olds—It’s important that children master new vocabulary in their primary language before learning alternative words in a second language. Look at pictures of animals and see if your child can name the animals in English (or your family’s home language). Then, sing the song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to practice matching animal names to their various sounds. When your child is ready, sing the song again, using the Spanish animal names as you hold up a picture or figure of that animal (i.e., sing “And on his farm he had a gato…” as you hold up a cat stuffed animal).
  • Three-year-olds—Learn the Spanish animal names as you play together! Build a pet park, farm, or zoo using blocks or pretend to be a veterinarian caring for different stuffed animals. Don’t forget to name the animals in Spanish as you play.
  • Four-/Five-year-olds—Play a game of “I Spy” to see if your child can guess the animal names in Spanish. Use a variety of clues, such as “I Spy a pink animal with a curly tail,” “I Spy an animal that says oink,” or “I Spy un cerdo” for a pig.

Skills Supported: Spanish, cultural understanding