Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Kid Friendly Carnaval Activities for Spanish Classes

CARNAVAL IS A BIG CELEBRATION, WITH THE POTENTIAL TO BE A WONDERFUL CULTURAL COMPONENT of our world language classes, but it can be a challenge to find resources and links that are little kid friendly. To that end, here are some I have searched out, along with some activities that work well to integrate the celebration (and don't miss our Pinterest board with more links! click here) :

Kid Friendly Activities for Teaching Carnaval in Spanish Class

*Los Mundos de Uli has an adorable cartoon featuring el Carnaval, great for a video walk! Click here for the link on Youtube. (from Argentina)

*Lulu Delacre's book ¡Rafi y Rosi Carnaval! (also available in English) is a cute story featuring Carnaval in Puerto Rico. You can find it on Amazon here. And a huge thank you to our reader, Sara B., who shared that this book is also available on EpicKidsBooks, an online library, free for teachers! Click here.

*Another great book, by Arthur Dorros, is Tonight is Carnaval (available in Spanish as well, Por fin es Carnaval) highlighting Carnaval in Perú and featuring beautiful arpilleras as the illustrations. Available on Amazon here.

*Use songs such as Celia Cruz's 'La vida es un carnaval' for Freeze Dance, Musical Chairs, Inside/Outside Circle greeting activities, or as background while kids are doing another activity-this is a great way to incorporate music without needing to teach the lyrics-kids just enjoy the sounds and rhythms of the music. Be sure to identify where the song comes from (which country) to make that cultural connection for kids. Putumayo has a cd, Carnaval, which, although out of print, can still be found on Ebay. Pocoyó also has a version of 'La vida es un Carnaval' here :)

*Print out kid friendly photos of Carnaval from a variety of countries and use them as an interactive activity with a map, instructing students to stick them on the country you indicate (use velcro or poster putty). Once they are all on the map, you could solicit observations about similarities and differences across countries. For novices learners, a great way to do this would be to use a graphic organizer such as a T-chart or graph with columns, with general headers such as 'Has parades', 'Has costumes', 'Has dances', etc and the countries down the vertical side. Kids can then answer 'yes' or 'no' to questions like 'Does Carnaval in Colombia have parades?'... mark 'sí' or 'no' on the graph. For photos, check out our Pinterest board here.

*Masks and headpieces are a great, concrete and tangible way for little kids to learn about Carnaval. I've created a series from six different countries for kids to make in class, you can find them here!

Carnaval Masks for Kids to Print and Make
Click here
*Cascarones are part of the Guatemalan tradition for Carnaval. Here is a post I wrote with three easy steps to make these fun confetti eggs!

*Follow @Carnaval_SA and @CarnavaldeNinos on Twitter for great authentic fotos and posts about Carnaval in Barranquilla, Colombia. And you can search the hashtag #CarnavaldelosNiños for more posts. Some incredible content is shared regularly!

*Here are some cute free printables from SpanischmitNatalia-click here to download them!

*And don't miss this great post from Fun for Spanish Teachers! Lots of wonderful activities for little learners, including a Marimonda craft!

Other ideas or resources? Please let me know in the comments! :)


  1. Thanks for sharing. Great ideas :-)

  2. Hola!The photos are so colorful and perfect for elementary! What specific information do you share about each country? Do you have slides you use or bullet points you share as you describe each country? Thanks!

    1. Hello and thanks so much for the comment! With little learners, I try to keep information basic and concrete, so stating that Carnaval is a celebration that leads to Easter, where many countries celebrate with parades, costumes/disguises, music and more is sufficient for me to lay the introduction. After that, depending on the country, I share something specific-so, for example, in Barranquilla, Colombia, many disguises are animal masks such as tigers. (then show some photos); in Verín, España they dress up in head dresses featuring animals of the region (and show photos), and so on, keeping it really simple. For older kids you could give more detail. As to the photos themselves, the link I provided has a bunch of photos from Pinterest which you can use to show in class-you might consider screenshotting some of them so you can print them out to use in your own classroom (obviously you can't use them elsewhere due to copyright). I hope this helps! :) Julie

  3. Thanks for these ideas! I found the Rafi y Rosi book on the free site called Epic! It shows the whole book. Here in New Orleans we are in the midst of Carnival so we will learn more about it next week. Then, we get the whole week off to celebrate! Take care.

    1. Hi Sara! Thanks so much for the recommendation, I am going to add the link to Epic Books to the post :) Hope you have a great time with Carnaval, and vacation!!
      :) Julie