Spanish Programming for Kids – Netflix April 2017

As I’m sure you all know, in a pinch, TV can be a lifesaver.  Until recently, whenever N gets to watch a videito I’ve had to scramble to find an age-appropriate show in Spanish, which can be surprisingly hard if I don’t already have a specific show in mind!  So I thought I would put together a cheat sheet for some of the great  young kids’ programming available in Spanish on Netflix right now.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list (and I excluded some programs that we sampled and I didn’t like), but at the very least it’s a good start. If you have any programs to add, feel free to note them in the comments!

Where available, I’ve included links either about the show or to the show’s site, including free episodes available online (not all are in Spanish). All of the shows I’ve included below are aimed at younger kids (rated TV-Y, which is appropriate for ‘all children’ or TV-G, which is for a general audience, including children), just in case your little has an active imagination and is easily frightened, like N, who walked out of Moana a few months ago and still talks about the scary “tummy guy” (aka Maui, the “demigod”).

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“The linguistic genius of babies”

I came across this 2010 Ted Talk by Patricia Kuhl recently, which is certainly not new to some, but was new to me.  I thought I would share as it supports what we’re all trying to do to some degree:  expose our children to language early and often.

Ms. Kuhl touches upon an interesting point, which is basically that children should be exposed to new languages as early as possible.  She starts out by explaining that “babies and children are geniuses” at learning languages “until they turn seven, and then there’s a systematic decline. After puberty, we fall off the map.”  This is not to say that you can’t learn a language after 7, but it does become increasingly more difficult.  I can attest to this, as I briefly flirted with the idea of learning Slovak, until I realized learning a handful of phrases during my morning commute was not going to cut it (and did you know Slovak has 7 conjugations and even nouns are conjugated?!).


Oh de foof

Sometimes, don’t you feel like Phoebe from Friends teaching French to Joey? This morning my husband was trying to get N to pronounce “svetlo” (light), but it kept coming out more like this “sleplah.” When I asked him to pronounce it for me, he very slowly said, “Mama, se dice “SLEP-lah,” like I’m the one misunderstanding.  Anyway, sometimes it’s hard not to laugh (in their faces).

‘Constructing’ My Vocabulary

I just posted about the realization that, though I am natively fluent in Spanish, there were many words on which I needed a refresher.  One of N’s first obsessions was with trucks, specifically those having to do with construction. My preferred way to learn more about them was through books (which you will notice is a common theme for me, just because they relieve so much of the pressure of providing new and interesting vocabulary), but along the way we’ve also encountered the occasional show and activity that spark some great opportunities for expanding their (and refreshing my) vocabulary.



Both N and E love this book, which their grandmother brought on a visit about a year ago and is still in our bedtime rotation.

(For the record, this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on it to purchase from Amazon, I may earn a small commission, which will allow me to fund the further purchase of books and other items so my kids can put them to the test and, if merited, maybe even earn a recommendation on this blog.)

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No todas son grúas, Mama

I’ve lived in the continental US for roughly 14 years now, studying and working mainly in English. I thought I’d been doing a good job of maintaining my Spanish, but as soon as N started getting curious about the names of things and their functions and their why why whys, I realized I needed a more extensive arsenal at my disposal. Growing up bilingually, I tended to speak Spanglish (with an emphasis on the ‘glish) when it came to topics I associated with the US, which to me included, among other things, anything to do with snow. It’s a vocabulary I learned through movies and trips to the US so for me, “copo de nieve” just did not have the same whimsical feeling as “snowflake.”  Little did I know as a young girl in Puerto Rico, that I would be spending my adult years in the cold and snowy northeast.

And leave it to a toddler to make you question your most basic knowledge. Until a year ago, I called most construction vehicles either trucks/camiones or cranes/grúas, but unsurprisingly that did not satisfy N’s curiosity.  And the list of topic-specific words I’ve had to learn goes on and on — basically every time N or E move on to new obsessions, I realize all over again how much I have to learn.

So what do I recommend for those of you who may be going through the same thing? Books. Lots and lots and lots of books, with a side of Google Translate and a dash of some well-chosen programming.  As I add more content to this site, I’ll be posting topic-specific recommendations and resources for Spanish language books, shows, movies, and activities that may make things a little easier for you.