I love art and I love learning Spanish. Put them together and just try to keep me from doing a happy dance. Art is hands-on. Art is visual. Art is a great way for kids to learn and express themselves. That is why I love using art to teach my kids Spanish!
A while back I was introduced to a book series put out by the San Antonio Art Museum. I love this series for how it uses pieces of art from the museum and blends them with bilingual text to engage kids in learning about art and Spanish. You can read them like a story, or use them much like an I Spy book, discovering colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and other treasures. We will be sharing Spanish learning ideas for each book in the series. Our first post presents Black and Blanco: Engaging Art in English y Español.
A great feature of the book is the index in the back of all the textiles, sculptures, and paintings used. It lists the name of each piece, the artist’s name, the type of media, and date. It is like a first art history book for kids. I love the diversity of art used, and the variety of media. If you do not have access to many art museums, books like this are a perfect next-best choice for exposing kids to art. You can read the manta we chose to copy is actually a poncho woven in Chile circa 1920.
After reading through the book a few times, then keeping it handy for fun Spanish practice we decided to copy some of the fun art pieces we saw in it. The first project was a manta or blanket. We tried to imitate the woven look by trying this fun weaving project for kids. We used felt to make it feel more like a blanket, but you could also use newsprint, magazines, or regular paper.
Fold the piece of felt in half and cut from the folded side to nearly the edge of the other side without cutting clear through. My boys are young, so I did all the cutting parts beforehand. Older children could probably do this step independently.
Next cut strips of whatever compliment color you choose. Obviously we chose negro and blanco for our colors to mimick the blanket in the book.
As with any Spansih projects we do, I try to speak in Spanish as we go and teach the kids phrases or words to go along with it. With this project I did that, but I wanted to make sure the kids really came away from the fun knowing what blanco and negro meant. To accomplish that we did a blanco and negro scavenger hunt. I set out a white basket and a black basket and we searched around the house for white things and black things to put in them. This activity worked great for my boys who like to learn by being active!
So many wonderful pieces of art fill the pages of this book, I know we will come back to it again and again to learn about different forms of art. You can see in the picture below how hard it would be to choose among all the differnt pages. Many possibilities for practicing art and Spanish!
Lastly, we made black serpientes like the one we saw in the book. I remember doing a project like this in elementary school, although we used bigger paper then. With my boys I just grabbed the only black paper we had. The bigger the paper, the longer your snake. Draw a spiral on the paper, cut it out, and you have a snake! We decorated ours with white marker and crayon.
**Disclosure: I received free copies of these books; however, all opinions are my own and I only share products that I think my readers could really use and enjoy!