So, when you were a child, what was your favorite cartoon?
If you’re like me, then you probably can recall childhood moments watching cartoons. In fact, I’m pretty sure you can remember some of your favorite cartoon episodes clearly.
However, now that you are an adult, cartoons might seem like a silly topic to talk about.
— Cartoons are for children, I like to watch TV shows and action movies with a lot of violence like the big man I am! — some people might say.
But cartoons are in fact, one of the most powerful tools that you might find available to learn Spanish.
They might even be more powerful than your textbook, and even better than your expensive Spanish lessons in college.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to absorb the power of cartoons in Spanish, so you can increase your skills to communicate better. I’ll also give you a list of cartoons that you can watch online so you can start improving your Spanish right away.
Why are cartoons in Spanish so powerful?
I remember back when I was a kid watching so many cartoons. And yes, even though psychologists say that TV isn’t a good friend for kids, that’s the way I was raised up.
I saw so many cartoons while growing up that I even learned some dialogs by heart. And it’s no wonder this happened because as humans, we are naturally drawn to stories.
They’ve been teaching us lessons, communicating ideas and entertaining people for centuries.
Now, when we see stories in cartoons, we’ll find:
- Engaging stories.
- Visual impact.
- A Context.
- A simple language.
Cartoons tell stories in simple language, which is the most powerful feature of this tool, so they’re perfect to train your listening skills for real everyday speaking.
In fact, experts like Dr. Stephen Krashen have found that learning languages with interesting, compelling and engaging stories could teach you a language in a powerful, long term and effortless way without actually taking lessons or studying the language.
But, how can you make the most out of cartoons to improve your Spanish?
How to watch cartoons to learn Spanish
If you’re going to watch cartoons in Spanish, you have to be aware of the level of difficulty you might find in these shows.
The more Spanish you understand, the more “mature” cartoons you can watch. This means that if you’re a beginner, the most convenient cartoons for you are the ones meant for little children, such as:
- Peppa Pig.
- Dora la Exploradora (Dora the Explorer).
- Go Diego Go.
- Jorge el Curioso (Curious Geroge)
I know these shows might seem silly for adults, but they’re definitely very powerful for adults who are learning Spanish at a beginner level.
Now, if you’re unsure about your level, test it with the following episode of Peppa Pig, make sure you turn the subtitles on if it’s too difficult to understand, so you can read and listen as you watch the episode:
Go slowly and deeply through every episode
The best thing about turning the subtitles on is that you can see which words are new to you. So whenever you stumble with a new word:
- Pause the episode.
- Open google translate.
- Translate the meaning of new words and phrases into your mother language.
And then replay the parts of the episode in which you found those new words, so you can hear them again.
Don’t hurry, don’t watch the episode just passively. Stop and clarify everything you don’t understand.
Repeat the same episodes several times, and after that, try turning the subtitles off so you can feel how your listening skills begin to improve.
The guide I made for the FluentIn3Months blog on How to use short videos to power up your language learning, might help you go through each episode deeply.
As you make progress, you can start picking some cartoons for older children, which is when things begin to get more excited, and that is when the big question really comes:
What is the best cartoon to learn Spanish with?
It simply just depends on you, and again, the level of listening comprehension you have right now.
But regarding story or language features, there’s no better cartoon to learn Spanish, they all have real Spanish that can help you improve your listening skills. The real question is:
What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
Whatever your answer is, that might be the best option for you. And I say this because if you watch something you like in Spanish, the language will have a better impact on your learning.
- Because you already know the context of the show.
- Because the vocabulary you learn will be a bit more familiar to you.
However, if you’re still unsure about what cartoon you should watch, here are a few recommendations based on some shows episodes that I found on youtube and contain subtitles for you to make the most out of every episode.
Sometimes, these subtitles will not be 100% accurate, but they are really helpful for getting to understand what is happening in the show.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can find the complete shows on youtube, usually, you may get the episodes on streaming websites or stores like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Shudder, or something like that.
So without further ado, here’s the list:
1-El Laboratorio de Dexter (Dexter’s Lab):
The adventures of a genius kid and his older and crazy sister. This is one of those shoes that actually caught my attention when I was growing up because of how clever the stories and the technology was in the show:
2-Vaca y Pollito (Cow and Chicken):
It’s about a cow and chicken who are adopted by human parents and live in the human world. I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s fun. Throughout the show, we see their grotesque and fun adventures.
3-Coraje El Perro Cobarde (Courage the cowardly dog):
In this show, you’ll meet a dog who lives with his owners in the middle of nowhere and having some paranormal and memorable experiences.
During my childhood, this cartoon was kind of an introduction to terror movies, although in the end, it’s kind of a comedy.
4-Ed, Edd y Eddy (Ed, Edd n Eddy):
Three guys live in the suburbs and have children’s adventures. In this show, you’ll see three different kinds of personalities: the smart guy, the dumb one, and the impulsive leader.
5-Snoopy y sus amigos (Charlie Brown):
This is one of those classics from childhood, which tells the story of the “loser guy”, who has many adventures with his friends.
One of the funniest shows from my childhood. It’s about a grown-up guy who’s always looking for some female attention. He’ll do anything trying to get a girlfriend. Unfortunately, girls don’t find him attractive.
7-Bob Esponja (Sponge Bob):
You’ve probably heard about this cartoon, it’s very popular even among today’s kids. It’s about the adventures of bob, a sponge who lives in bikini bottom and his friends.
8-X-men La Serie Animada (X-Men The Animated Series):
If you like superheroes, then you should check out Xmen TV show, which, just like in the movies, it’s all about the mutant humans who have superpowers and start making a difference in the world.
Another suggestion if you like these kinds of cartoons are Batman: La Serie Animada, or Spiderman: La Aerie Animada. Just do some research online, and you’ll probably find it easily.
9-Los Simpsons (The Simpsons):
One of the most popular cartoons in the world are the Simpsons, and they’re very successful because of how they portray families in the show.
If you’ve seen them in English, then a good idea could be watching some episodes in Spanish because you already have the context of the show in your mind.
10-KND Los chicos del barrio (Kids Next Door):
A global organization made by children start fighting adults’ tyranny and defending other children of the world. We could say it’s something like the FBI made for children.
Whatever option you choose, just remember that no matter which cartoon you prefer, there’s no better cartoon to learn Spanish with, all you need to do is pick one according to your level and…
Above all and most importantly: Have fun!
I love Dr.Krashen’s words when he says: “Most people don’t care about language acquisition”, and that is so much true!
In fact, most people when they begin to take Spanish classes, have only one goal in mind, which is: to learn how to speak and understand Spanish, so they can communicate with native speakers.
But right when they get involved in school, all these tests, grammar points, and stress get in the way and make it impossible to actually learn Spanish.
It is so different from the way children learn languages! They have fun and engage in wonderful stories like the ones contained in cartoons.
So, from now on, make sure you include some great cartoons in your Spanish learning time, and if you want to make the most out of these good stories, sign up for my free guide: 7 Steps To Understand Fast Speaking Latinos Through Compelling Listening stories.
And for those of you looking to transform your listening skills in Spanish using fun and engaging stories, make sure to check out this course I recently tested online. It aims to improve your listening skills in less than 90 days using conversations and stories. By the way, this link above is an affiliate link, which means that I earn a commission if you end up purchasing this course. It’s at no extra cost to you, and please if you have any questions related to this product, please let me know, and I’d be happy to answer them for you.