Make a Reservation at a Mexican Restaurant
Call the number of Mexican restaurants in another state and make a dinner reservation for five people for next Friday at 7 p.m. In Spanish.
Don’t forget to greet the person when they answer the phone (“Hola, buenos días”) and then you can ask to make the reservation. There are lots of variations on how you can say that: “quisiera reservar una mesa…”, “me gustaría hacer una reservación…“, etc.
But what if they don’t take reservations? Well, then they’ll tell you so, and it’ll feel amazing when you understand it. Or you can ask upfront before making the reservation, if you’d like.
And what if they answer the phone in English? Just start speaking in Spanish and don’t switch over! If the person on the other end really doesn’t speak Spanish and they can’t hand the phone over to any Spanish speakers, then you’ll just need to try another number.
Then, the following day, call them back to cancel the reservation. Yup, because we’re good people and don’t want to cause a no-show—plus we get more Spanish practice!
This exercise is perfect because it’s super low pressure, yet it’s still authentic.
You can obviously branch out from Mexican to other varieties of restaurants where Spanish is spoken. And be sure to mix up the number of people, days of the week and time of the reservation. You could make a bunch of reservations in a row and cancel all of them the next day, or call somewhere new every day one week.
One final variation is to ask for something other than a reservation when you call. What are their hours? Are they open on Sundays? What are the prices like? Does the restaurant have vegetarian options? etc. By the end of it, you’ll be a pro!
Hold a Jimmy Fallon Lip-sync Challenge with Spanish Songs
The point is to give an amazing lip-sync performance to a song in Spanish.
In Jimmy Fallon’s competitions there are three rounds, and each competitor lip-syncs to a clip of a different song each round—but choose whichever format you prefer.
Before you can hold the actual challenge, you’re gonna have to practice and memorize the lyrics. It’ll really help if you know what your song is all about beforehand.
Next, practice singing along to a performance by the artist. Watch their mouth. Notice how in Spanish, you open your mouth much wider than you do in English. When you can sing the song(s) forwards and backwards, and know how to make your face expressive enough to win, you’re ready to give your performance of the year.
Some favorites include:
• “Recuérdame” by La Quinta Estación
• “Volverá” by El Canto del Loco (for some intense facial expressions)
• “Limón y sal” by Julieta Venegas
• “Ni una sola palabra” by Paulina Rubio
• “Esclavo de tus besos” by David Bisbal
• “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar featuring Lucenzo (to get everyone dancing with a catchy dance hit!)
Get Hooked on Spanish Trivia
How many of you already play Trivia Crack? If you have a smartphone or tablet, download the app for free right now!
There’s a reason why this game is called Trivia Crack.
Before starting a game, simply select Spanish as your language on the first screen. You can play against a random opponent, so you don’t have to know someone personally who’s willing to play against you in Spanish.
A question will appear on the screen with four possible answers. Tap one of the four choices before your time runs out. If you get the answer right, you get to go again. Win a crown in each of the six categories (differentiated by color) before your opponent does to win the game—just as you would collect the pie pieces in Trivial Pursuit.
It feels good enough to know trivia answers in English, but when you know the answer in Spanish? Pure glory.
Interview Spanish Speakers for a “Class Assignment”
The point of this tale? You can do it in Spanish, and just pretend it’s an interview for “school.” Those types of lies are acceptable, right?
Heck yes! It’s so much easier to approach people when you have a set list of questions to ask. Plus, it allows you to get comfortable with the basics and ask questions based on what you want to practice.
Ask for their town of birth and have your interviewee spell out the town name to get practice with spelling. You could ask for birthdays to get used to numbers, years and months. If you’re more advanced, feel free to pick a theme or ask about opinions on current events or deeper issues—your imagination is the limit. So depending on what you need to work on, design a page of interview questions.
Next comes the interviews. If you live in a bigger city or a city with a Spanish-speaking population, you’ll know where to head. If you’re not sure, go to the nearest Latino grocery store or any big store where you often hear Spanish being spoken.
You could record the sound or video (with the interviewee’s permission) and have your subject write their answers on your questionnaire afterwards. This way, you can go back later and listen to the interview again and you’ll have a key if you’re ever unsure what was said.