Every year on December 7th, Colombia celebrates “La Noche de las Velitas” (also known as El Día de las Velitas), a night filled with candles and joy to celebrate Virgin Mary. This night also marks the beginning of all Christmas activities in Colombia.
I am always looking for ways to bring some culture to my Spanish class. One way to do it is through the use of traditional games. Below I am sharing links of some games that can be easily used in foreign language Spanish classes. Just click on the links to learn more about each game.
Every year I do this project with my second grade classes, and they are amazed at how beautiful and well crafted Molas are. I like to pretend that we are taking a trip together to the border of Panamá and Colombia to visit the Kuna-Yalapeople so we can learn firsthand about their art.
I use a map to locate the city and country where we currently live, and I use a paper airplane to travel from our homebase to the lands of the Kuna-Yala.
I also love using Google Earth to show pictures of the Kuna-Yala people and the places they live. Many live on a small island in Panamá called San Blas, and they also live in small villages in Colombia in the “Darien Gap.” They speak the Tule language, and some of them speak Spanish. They are famous because of their art which is called “Mola,” a term which also means clothes in the Tule language. The Kuna women are the ones in charge of making the molas that are part of their clothing. I take this opportunity to share pictures of a few molas with the children and ask them to describe them by naming the colors they see. I observe the pictures with my students and share with them the fact that molas are made of three layers. Two of the layers are the same shape, but with different sizes, a small shape and a big shape, laid on top of one another to expose the different colors. Then, simple shapes are used around the main part of the art to decorate it. All the layers are usually of different colors and are sewn by hand.
The “Make Your Own Molas” Art Project
In this project we will use the same basic technique, but instead of sewing, we will be using paper and glue.
Quetzals are found in the highlands of Guatemala and Mexico. For this activity, find a map where you can locate Guatemala and Mexico. You can also use Google Earth and find locations where this beautiful bird lives. What a great opportunity to review colors and describe the differences between the male and female bird (those differences being colors and feather length) – even a chance to touch on science and social studies, too. More information may be found HERE.
Here is a great video that you can share with your students:
To make the art and craft you will need: 1. Glue gun or craft glue 2. Green pompoms, different sizes 3. Pieces of red and yellow felt 4. Googly eyes
5. Piece of a branch or stick
1. Glue the pompoms together
2. Add googly eyes and use the yellow felt for the beak. 3. Use the red felt for the front of the bird. 4. Glue the green feather.
5. Glue the bird to the branch / stick. 6. Prepare the quetzal to sing in your room like this QUETZAL.
I grew up playing this game in Colombia and had tons of fun with it. I recently used it in a unit on clothes with my second graders. We have played the game outside when the weather is nice, and we’ve also played the game in the classroom with a wolf made out of felt. The children enjoy each of the versions – indoor or outdoor.
The game is simple, just pick a wolf and have everyone else sit in a circle. The wolf will stand up in the middle of the circle while the rest of the class chants.
I made the props for the song using felt (see picture below). We use it to dress the wolf while singing the song. My students love it!
Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo los pantalones. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el chaleco. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el saco. Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: Me estoy poniendo el sombrero (or sombrerito) Class: Juguemos en el bosque mientras el lobo no está. ¿Lobo estás? Lobo: ¡Sí! Y salgo para perseguirte / ¡Sí! Te voy a comer / ¡Sí! Corre
Download the set of silly rhymes to decorate your classroom or cart. You can also use this rhymes as attention grabbers by saying the first sentences and your students respond with the other part of the rhyme. Click here download them all!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.