So you’ve finally settled into your new place in Spain, you’re a pro at remembering your new family’s names (it took me a little while, especially with the pronunciations: How do you say Arnau?) and you’ve finally established your set days with your host family. Great stuff, you’re on a role. Now for the tricky part: what do you do with them? Well, never fear as I am here to give you some ideas of tried and tested activities to do with your host family in Spain.
From origami fun to days out in the sun, there´s plenty of things to do with your new host family in Spain that will surely strengthen your bond. Who knows? You could win them over and get presents for the Three Kings Day celebration (I got some fancy herbal tea and a special mug; an absolute dream for a Brit).
In living with my current Spanish family, and other host families in the past, the following are my favourite activities to do with them. Let’s get bonding!
Indoor Activities to Do with your Host Family in Spain
1. Helicopter Game
For those who haven’t heard about this game, you’ve missed out. Who doesn’t love to jump rope? You’ll need a bit of string and a small weight to tie on the end (I just used a rubber I found).
Then, spin the rope around you on the floor to imitate the blades of a helicopter. The kids stand around you in a circle and have to jump over the rope as it approaches them. Each round you ask a question like “How many countries will you visit in the future?”, then count the amount of times they jump over the rope, and “tah-dah!”, it tells them their future. It’s a great game to practice numbers and the future or conditional tense.
2. Baking Bonanza
Who doesn’t love a bit of cake? There are so many recipes online that you can choose from that are simple to follow and don’t have expensive ingredients. You can look on websites such as Yummly and BBC Good Foods for healthy baking recipes for kids. It’s a great activity to teach about food hygiene and English food vocabulary.
3. Fort and a Film
Some of life’s simple pleasures can be experienced when building a fort out of chairs, pillows, and blankets. Why not build it in front of the TV and watch some of your favourite kids’ films inside a blanket fortress?
4. Awesome Origami
Origami can be heaps of fun and inexpensive. A simple Google search will show you step-by-step guides on how to make dogs, fish, penguins and even fortune tellers all out of paper.
5. Magic Show Mania
You don’t have to be the next Houdini to show kids the art of magic. Why not learn magic tricks with them?
You can show them a magic show on TV (I highly recommend El Mago Pop who is big here in Spain at the moment or if you want to go for an English Magician, go for Dynamo).
After, you can see video tutorials online that show you how to do simple tricks. To finish, put on a spectacle for the parents to enjoy.
6. Potato Art
Ah… the wonderful potato! A versatile item that can be baked, boiled, mashed, and used to make magnificent art. If you want to get crafty, cut a raw potato in half and get the kids to draw a shape on the potato (stars, rectangles, hearts, etc.).
Then (adults only) carve out the shape with a knife and “tah-dah!”, you’ve got yourself a potato stamp. You can make cool designs using your new potato stamp and paints. You can even get more creative and decorate a plain notebook cover, a backpack or a decorative pillow
7. Dress to Impress
Who doesn’t like a bit of dress-up? If the kids already have some cool costumes, it’s great. Get creative with games of cops and robbers, princesses or animals in the jungle.
If they don’t have any, it’s time to get the arts and crafts kit out, and make your very own superhero costumes. You can make the capes out of old fabric and the masks out of the card.
8. Master Chef’s
So, I’m from the United Kingdom and we aren’t exactly known for amazing food, but your family is probably curious about the foods that come from your country. It’s time to put your apron on and get the spatula out for a cooking session with the host family kids.
Be sure to go for a simple recipe with cheap ingredients as anything too complicated can often go wrong. You can make little chef hats for them out of paper and it’s a great activity to teach them English food vocabulary. If you’re curious, I opted for the classic English scone with clotted cream.
9. Dance Party
If your kids are crazy about dancing, why not make up a dance with them? In the past, I’ve used songs like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams, ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA and ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake. If you’re stuck for dance moves ideas choose a song that already has a dance-like ‘The Cha Cha Slide’, ‘Macarena’ or ‘The Ketchup Song’. It’ll help the kids burn off some energy.
10. Share your Skills
Maybe you’re an excellent guitarist, a pro at basketball, or like me, you like to shake it at a salsa class. Well, why keep these talents to yourself? Be like a true teacher and share your knowledge and craft.
Out in the Sun with Your Host Family in Spain
1. Museum Mayhem
This will depend on what’s in your area, but a trip to the museum can be heaps of fun. Be sure to go to an interactive museum with your host family in Spain with lots of things to do as the kids probably don’t want to see a museum on ancient literature. A science museum is always a good option.
2. Life’s a Beach
If you live near the coast, a trip to the beach is a perfect way to spend the day. Make sandcastles, dig trenches, sculpt yourself a mermaid tail, play volleyball and frisbee, have a paddle, go snorkeling; the possibilities are endless!
3. Take a Hike
Explore the great outdoors by packing a picnic and trekking along some of the amazing hiking trails that are around Spain. The kids’ ages will determine how far you can go and what level of difficulty the walk can be. Be sure to pack lots of snacks to keep your energy up and don’t forget the sunscreen!
4. Get on Your Bike
Who needs a gym membership when you have a sweet set of wheels? No, I’m not talking about a motorbike, I’m talking about the next best thing, a pushbike! I don’t want to see any of these electric scooters thank you, that’s cheating.
Your host family will probably have their own bikes, but if not, there are usually places where you can hire a bike for the day. Map out a route the day before and go out exploring the great Spanish countryside on two wheels. Again, you’ll need to bring some snacks along the way.
5. Out and About
This title may sound a little broad but it’s all dependent on what is in and around your local area.
If you live in a large city, you can see the touristic sites, go to skate parks, go shopping; the world is basically your oyster.
If you live in a small town, however, have a look in the local tourism information office for some inspiration of what there is to do in the area. A trip to the ice cream shop is always a successful venture; just don’t go to a toy shop unless you’re willing to buy something, as it can be very difficult to get the kids of your host family out of there, trust me.
6. A Teddy Bear’s Picnic
Grab the bears, the jam sandwiches and a brightly coloured blanket because it’s time for a teddy bear picnic. This delightful lunch outdoors can be enjoyed in the garden or in the park. Pack some yummy foods from your home country to show your host family in Spain your native cuisine.
7. See life on the Farm, Zoo or Aquarium
Educating kids about animals and the environment is a fantastic way for them to learn to respect the world around them (it’s also great for learning vocabulary about animals).
What better way to do this than going to see some exotic animals and a pig or two? If you get a family ticket at the farm, zoo or aquarium it usually works out cheaper as well.
8. See a Show or a Film
Are you not entertained? Grab some popcorn and a bag of sweets and transport the kids to the world of cinema and the movies. Be sure that the film isn’t in or dubbed to Spanish. You can check this by seeing ‘VO’ (Versión Original) in the description, unless it’s originally in Spanish.
You can also catch a show at the theatre. It’s unlikely that the show will be in English but if you look around you’ll be surprised what you can find.
9. Go out for a meal
Lunch in Spain is the main meal of the day and you can spend two hours sitting at the dinner table, tasting different dishes and having a good chat. Be prepared to share your food as here in Spain people love to share different plates.
No matter where you live in Spain, you are sure to have an amazing time with your family. If you have any more ideas of activities to do with host families, you can leave your comments below.