Favorite online and print Spanish dictionaries for children of all ages
My first and third graders are engaged in their daily quiet reading time, when I hear the older one stop to ask me about a word. “Mom, what does aguacero mean?”
My three children are bilingual – learning both English and Spanish. So when we’re reading together, there are often new, interesting words to introduce.
When they were younger, we enjoyed Spanish-English picture dictionaries together. Now that they’re getting older, they’re ready to look up unknown vocabulary words in their own dictionaries. We’ve discovered excellent options for learning new words in both languages!
So if you’re looking for a new dictionary for your own child, I have ten recommendations for you! In this post, you’ll find six excellent print dictionaries for English and Spanish vocabulary. These recommendations are organized by age: for the youngest learners up to high school students.
You’ll also learn about our four favorite online dictionaries – perfect for students in elementary and beyond to search for vocabulary words digitally.
Age levels listed below are approximations based on information from the publisher, when available, and my own evaluations as a teacher and parent.
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Ideas for using a dictionary with children
So how might you and your child use a dictionary at home to practice Spanish or English? Here are some ideas to get you started learning new vocabulary!
- Word of the day
- Select a new word each day, post it somewhere your child will see it often, and make it a game to see how many times you use it throughout the day
- Words of the week
- I recommend selecting a handful of words related to a specific topic, posting them, and involving the whole family in learning together
- Explore an interesting theme
- Pick words related to a topic like the season of fall, zoo animals, or rivers and lakes
- Maximize reading time
- Teach your child to look up unknown vocabulary words they can’t solve using other reading strategies
- Improve writing activities
- Help your child look up a word, check the spelling, and find synonyms or antonyms
- Play word games
- Make a list of words with a specific rule (for example, words that start with “t” or “br”)
- Have a family word race – try to list as many words as you can in a specific category (like ocean words or words related to winter)
- Silly sentences – pick one or two words from the dictionary and make up a silly sentence using them
Print Spanish Dictionaries
By Rebecca Emberley [Ages 0-5]
For the youngest learners, I recommend starting with this bright and colorful board book. My own three kids have all enjoyed practicing naming Spanish animals, toys, food, and clothes with this vivid dictionary.
This book is sturdy and has simple illustrations of popular preschool themes to get started with Spanish and English vocabulary. Inside, your child will learn words for colors, shapes, numbers 1-10, and more themed vocabulary.
Your child will love pointing to objects you name, or telling the name of each object on the page. A great start to bilingual learning for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers!
By DK Publishing [Ages 3-8]
This picture dictionary is a perfect choice for your children learning Spanish! Inside, you’ll explore vocabulary words by theme – like ocean or mountains. Readers will find large, colorful illustrations labeled in both English and Spanish – along with the Spanish pronunciation.
It includes English to Spanish dictionary pages at the end of the book. These pages allow parents or older children to look up a variety of English words and get the Spanish translation. A top recommendation for parents looking to help their beginning dual language student at home.
By Make Believe Ideas Ltd. [Ages 3-8]
I purchased this dictionary for my oldest child when he was in preschool. I appreciate the photographs of real people, animals, and objects as well as the bright colors and bold, easy-to-read lettering. This dictionary has a table of contents where your child can find a great variety of topics to easily explore new words. Some themes include family, garden, tools, school, beach, and rain forest (among many others).
I also recommend this picture dictionary for classroom use. It would be an excellent resource for kindergarten, first and second grade dual language students and teachers. Students can begin exploring new words around a theme that interests them!
By DK Publishing [Ages 6 and up]
This dictionary is an amazing resource for visual learners! Packed with 10,000 words, it includes pictures with bilingual labels for vocabulary themes like home, sports, environment, and shopping. This dictionary is the new favorite for my third grade child!
A table of contents helps students find vocabulary words based on a category. At the end of the book, you’ll find an index in both languages so that you can search for a word in either language. The book also includes an excellent audio app so children can hear all the words being spoken by native English and Spanish speakers. A great addition for working on pronunciation!
By Jean-Claude Corbeil [Ages 8 and up]
In this visual dictionary, you’ll find 8,000 detailed, full-color illustrations that introduce 22,500 words! I recommend this one for students and adults alike! It is an excellent tool for learning new vocabulary at any age or stage of language learning.
Inside, you and your child will discover vocabulary organized by categories – such as plants and gardening, art and architecture, science and energy, or sports and games. Categories are color-coded in the table of contents to help readers find what they need. At the end, you’ll find both English and Spanish indexes for looking up individual words. An excellent pick for older kids or adults who would benefit from a visual aid!
By Merriam-Webster [Ages 8 and up]
My last pick for print dictionaries, this choice is a standard Spanish-English dictionary (no visuals) that includes over 40,000 words. This dictionary would be incredibly useful for middle and high school students, as well as college students and adults of all ages!
Readers can find English to Spanish translations as well as Spanish to English translations. This book also incorporates special sections on verb conjugations, common Spanish abbreviations, and Spanish numbers (among others). I would have loved to have this dictionary when first starting to learn Spanish in high school!
Online Spanish Dictionaries
This is my top choice for online dictionaries for kids! This website is very easy to use – with a clean, simple, and colorful design that will appeal to students of all ages.
Right at the top of the website, you’ll find the search bar for translating a word from Spanish or English. Then you’ll not only get a translation with the part of speech, but pronunciation (with a video of the person saying the word), examples, and a thesaurus.
You can also use the site to explore additional learning topics. You’ll find popular grammar topics, themed vocabulary lists, tricky pronunciations, interesting words, and more!
An online visual dictionary in Spanish and English for kids or adults starting out with Spanish. On this site, language learners can discover over 1,000 basic Spanish words organized by category. Children young and old will appreciate that this site includes real photos (not clipart).
Some of their themes include animals and pets, people and clothes, food and drinks, and world and nature. As an added bonus, each word includes an audio pronunciation!
Kids can search for new vocabulary words by letter of the alphabet and then by theme in English (like camping, flowers, vehicles, or weather, to name a few). In each theme or category, you’ll find dozens of picture representations and their English and Spanish names.
This site also includes links to educational activities and games. It would be an excellent resource for parents who don’t speak much Spanish and want to help with vocabulary learning at home!
They also have a Spanish-to-English version here (and many other language options)!
On this simple but powerful website, older students can search translations from English to Spanish or Spanish to English. When searching for an unknown Spanish word, students will find a translation, a definition in Spanish, and Spanish synonyms to aid in comprehension.
Example sentences are also given, and learners can select “in context” or “images” to find their word in recent Google news or images. This was helpful for one of our recent searches for the Spanish word “aguacero” (downpour)!
I also appreciate that this website includes audio pronunciation for each word, and – interestingly – you can select Mexico, Spain, or Argentina for the pronouncer’s accent. This site would be a great choice for teens and adults who want trustworthy translations without visuals.
You might enjoy these related reading posts:
- 10 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Reading Motivation
- A Spanish Pronunciation Guide: How to Read Spanish with Your Kids (Free Printable)
- 8 Beginning Reading Strategies: Help Your Child Solve New Words (Free Printable)
Which Spanish dictionary would be best for your child? I hope this round-up of our top ten favorites introduced you to a few excellent options for your child to learn new Spanish vocabulary!
Try out a new print dictionary or two and bookmark these digital dictionary sites for your child today!
Do you have another favorite? Let me know in the comments or connect with Bilingual Balance on social media!