Nov 092015
 
 November 9, 2015  bilingualism, Education, education3 Comments Off on Learning All About Ants in Spanish

Learning All About Ants in Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Teach kids all about ants in Spanish with these wonderful activities from my blogging buddy and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs Board member Jennifer of Spanish Playground!

Doing activities related to a theme is fun way for children to learn Spanish. They learn new words and hear them used naturally as they sing, do crafts and listen to stories. Below you’ll find a set of activities for a theme I call All About Ants. Try them with kids, and soon all of you will be talking and singing about hormigas.

Learning All About Ants in Spanish

  • Choose words you want to focus on as you do the activities. For beginners, start with just a few words. You can add more when those are familiar. You can also download a printable All About Ants vocabulary list.
  • Incorporate basic concepts like numbers and colors. It’s fun to count ants in Spanish!
  • Short activities are usually better. Adapt the All About Ants activities to help kids understand and keep their interest.
  • Spread the activities over several days, and come back to All About Ants at a later date. This will help kids remember what they learned.

Photos
Talking about photos helps kids learn new words. Point to these pictures of ants as you describe them. You can find more fabulous photos online because lots of people love ants!

Two ants

ants with flower

ant hills

Song
I tell parents that music is language glue. It sticks language into kids’ heads.

Las Hormigas by Jorge Lan is perfect for this All About Ants theme. You can hear a clip of the song on iTunes. We learn the song and then play follow-the-leader as we march and sing:

Vamos marchando las hormigas.

Vamos marchando sin parar.

Vamos buscando comida y esta al hormiguero nos la vamos a llevar.

Printable Activities
Using pictures cards and playing games helps children learn new words. These printable activities fit the All About Ants theme and are focused enough for beginning Spanish learners. Try the size sort, the pattern activities and roll-an-ant game in this packet: Free Printable Ant Activitites by A Teaching Mommy

Size sort. I add ant hills to this activity. We cut 3 ant hills out of construction paper – small, medium and large. We sort the hormigas pequeñas, medianas y grandes into the different ant hills. This gives kids practice using size words and the word hormiguero.

Pattern activities. Kids practice colors in Spanish as they copy the patterns. We also count the ants.

Roll-an-ant. Kids can learn the parts of the ant with this game. You can also use it with beginners to practice numbers.

Video
This cute animated video has basic ant information and repeats key vocabulary. Beginners can tap the table each time they hear the word hormiga. They will be tapping a lot! Watching this video, kids will learn all about ants and learn Spanish too.

Start at 0:33 to skip the theme song. You may want to watch just part of the video with beginners.

Crafts
Crafts are excellent language activities. Choose one that lets you repeat the words your child is learning.
Doing this simple craft from Muck Monsters you will use the words hormiguero and hormiga. (Of course, you won’t write A is for ant on the picture.)

There are lots of crafts for making ants online. These egg carton ants are Pink Stripey Socks. You can talk about the parts of an ant as you make them.

You can also talk about ants as you color. Coloring.WS from DLTK has ant coloring pages.

Kids can help make an ant snack. You can make traditional ants on a log, or search ant snacks on Pinterest. You will be amazed at the possibilities!

Books
Picture books about ants will have more language than young Spanish learners can understand. With my students, I read the wonderful book Arriba, Abajo instead. The illustrations have plenty of ants. You can find them, count them and talk about them.

You may also want to tell a simple version of the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. In Spanish, the story is called La cigarra y la hormiga. You can tell the story in your own words pointing to illustrations to help kids understand.

Try sentences like these for beginners:
Hace sol. Es verano.
La hormiga trabaja mucho. Lleva comida al hormiguero.
La cigarra no trabaja. La cigarra juega. No le gusta jugar. etc.

There are 5 basic drawings for the story in this printable version of La cigarra y la hormiga on Web del Maestro. Click on the link DESCARGA AQUÍ Cuentos infantiles. La cigarra y la hormiga.

You can also act out the story with stick puppets, or with ants you made as a craft.

By the time you have done a few of these activities, there is a good chance you will ready to talk about a new topic! Choose a theme your kids will like and look for songs, activities, and crafts to do in Spanish.

All About Ants Photo credits:
CC Image by Katja Schulz
CC Image by M M
CC Image by Emma Wallace

Jennifer raised her three children speaking English and Spanish, and she has been teaching Spanish to other young world citizens for over twenty years. On her blog Spanish Playground, she shares resources for parents and teachers of Spanish language learners.

Sep 182015
 
 September 18, 2015  bilingualism, Education, Halloween 2 Responses »

Spanish Halloween Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

I am always on the lookout for fun activities I can do with my kids to learn Spanish, and what is more fun this time of year than Halloween?  Here are some of my favorite Spanish Halloween activities to help you and your kids have some learning fun getting ready for el día de las brujas!

Note: Most of the activities and printables included below are free.  Those few that are paid are very inexpensive and well worth it!

Vocabulary

Halloween Story Cards and Letter Match Printables – Mommy Maestra: These super cute printables are a fun way to practice letters and encourage storytelling with your preschooler!  Also includes a video and list of Spanish Halloween books.

Spanish Halloween Printable Picture Cards – Spanish Playground: Here are printable vocabulary cards in Spanish, plus a matching game.  I love all of the extension activity ideas!

Spanish Halloween Memory Game: Have students that resist learning vocab words?  Try this fun pumpkin memory game to teach Halloween vocabulary!

Spanish Halloween Vocabulary Activities – Spanish Playground: Collection of fun Halloween activities you can adapt to practice Spanish.  Includes a comprehensive list of Spanish vocabulary related to Halloween.

Spanish Dual Language Kindergarten Halloween Pack: I put this 26 page mini pack in the “vocabulary” section, but it has lots of math activities as well.  Chock full of learning activities for kindergarten, with no English on the student pages!

Spanish Halloween Read and Draw Printable – Spanish Playground: Practice seasonal vocabulary with this read and draw activity!  Great for practicing reading and listening skills.

Spanish Halloween Jokes – Spanish Playground:  My son loves telling jokes, so I cannot wait to try these Halloween jokes with him!  This is a really fun way to practice vocabulary!

Halloween Printable Spanish Minibook – Mundo de Pepita: Follow along as Pepita and her friends dress up and get ready for Halloween!

Crafts

C is for Calabaza – For the Love of Spanish: I adore this calabaza (pumpkin) craft!  Don’t miss the song and activity at the end to practice counting, vocabulary, and feelings in Spanish.

Science

Pumpkin Life Cycle Mini-Book in Spanish – Kid World Citizen: Get into Halloween science by making a pumpkin life cycle mini-book!  Wonderful way to teach fall related vocabulary and practice reading in Spanish.

Math

5 Educational Things to Do with (Halloween) Candy – Mommy Maestra: Once you have all that Halloween candy, try these math activities to put them to good use!  Includes a link to a bilingual candy bar graph.

Pumpkin Size Ordering Activity – For the Love of Spanish: This activity is a fun way for kids to learn relative sizes in Spanish – with pumpkins!

Gross Motor

Spanish Skeleton Song – Spanish Playground: My kids and I have already been having fun dancing to Los esqueletos thanks to this post!  It is great for practicing numbers, time, action words – and of course, your best skeleton dance moves!

Of course, Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in Latin America, though it has become popular in some places in recent years.    From what I’ve heard from my Costa Rican family, for example, it was something of a fad a few years ago!  Just for fun, you can share with your kids how people have started celebrating Halloween in Spain!  (Day of the Dead – or el día de los muertos – is not just a version of Halloween but an entirely different tradition, though it also stems in part from All Saints Day).

Looking for more Halloween fun?  Don’t miss my Fall Fun for Kids board on Pinterest, plus check out these amazing posts from the All Things Kids Halloween Blog Hop!

Potato Print Spider Craft – Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Halloween Chalk Art – Craftulate

Bat Yarn Craft – Sugar Aunts

Floating Ghosts – Rainy Day Mum

Pumpkin Ice Painting – Crayon Box Chronicles

Sep 072015
 

Latino Bedtime Stories | Alldonemonkey.com

In anticipation of Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some favorite Latino bedtime stories!  Some are in Spanish, others are bilingual, others are mostly in English with Spanish phrases sprinkled in; some emphasize cultural themes or traditions.

What they have in common is passing on heritage – whether through language or culture – through the snuggly intimacy of bedtime stories.  Enjoy!

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of books from Bab’l Books for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Latino Bedtime Stories

Kitchen Dance is a new favorite of mine!  Two children are tucked into their beds when they hear strange noises coming from the kitchen.  They sneak our of bed and find … their parents, dancing as they put away the dishes!  Their father croons a Spanish song into a wooden spoon as he spins their mother around the kitchen.  Soon the children are discovered and included in the kitchen dance before being gently returned to bed.  This sweet story about a family’s love is a wonderful way to send your children off to dreamland.

George was the shortest giraffe in his herd. He dreams of being so tall that he could eat the moon. But when one night his dream comes true, he gets a big surprise! The Giraffe That Ate the Moon (La Jirafa Que Se Comió la Luna) is an adorable bilingual story about learning to be happy as you are and discovering what is really important.  It and the other bilingual books from Bab’l Books were created through a unique translation process: crowd sourcing!  Read more about it in this interview on Trilingual Mama and enter below for a chance to win this book and Don’t Wake the Baby! (No Despiertes a la Bebé!)

A truly beautiful book is Nochecita from the wonderful Yuyi Morales (also available in English as Little Night).  Nochecita is a story all parents and children can relate to, of a child playing hide and seek instead of coming when her mothers calls her.  But this is no ordinary child, it is Night itself, thus the delightful twist at the end as we discover that Nochecita is not getting ready for bed – as most children do when it grows dark – but going out to play in the night sky with her ball, the moon.  Children will enjoy the playful antics of Nochecita and Mother Sky’s loving responses, as well as seeing if they can guess where Nochecita is hiding this time.  The enchanting, magical illustrations complement the story beautifully, as Nochecita’s bath is made of stars, her dress of clouds, and her hair pinned up with the sparkling trio of Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter.

I got turned onto Texas author Pat Mora thanks to my friend Becky at Kid World Citizen, and I’m so glad!  While Mora has written many wonderful books, Little Monkey and I are currently loving her My Family/Mi Familia series, which follow the adventures and daily rhythms of one bilingual family.  In Sweet Dreams/Dulces Sueños, Grandma comes to tuck the children into bed, telling them about all the animals that are also lying down to sleep. A wonderfully gentle way to coax your little ones to sleep as well.

Can’t sleep? Why not count sheep – in English and Spanish? Counting Ovejas is a really cute story about a boy who does just that, though the sheep don’t do exactly as they are told! This bilingual book is a fun way to teach numbers and colors in Spanish.

Take a fantastical journey through a dream world as the night spins tales to a child at bedtime. The imagination has no limits as the child travels from one magical scene to another before finally drifting off to sleep. Cuento de Noche (Spanish Edition) is a beautiful bedtime book from Spanish author Roberto Aliaga that highlights the wonder of the imagination.

A long-time favorite in our house is Arrorró, mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games.  Described as a “Latina Mother Goose,” this is amazing collection of the best known lullabies and gentle games for young children in Spanish.  If, like me, you did not grow up with them, you will appreciate the wonderful English translations and clear instructions, in addition to the piano music at the back for learning the melodies!

In a similar vein, ¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes is an incredible collection of traditional Spanish nursery rhymes, including favorites like De colores and Los elefantes.  It is a comprehensive set of almost any traditional rhyme from Latin America, all wonderful to share with your kids at bedtime!

This post has been shared at the wonderful Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Bilingual Books Giveaway!

Enter below for a chance to win a pair of bilingual books from Bab’l Books!  You could win The Giraffe that Ate the Moon (La Jirafa Que Se Comió la Luna) or Don’t Wake the Baby! (No Despiertes a la Bebé!)These wonderful Spanish/English children’s books are ideal for children ages 2-6.  Giveaway goes through September 15, 2015. US, UK, and Europe shipping only.

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Aug 252015
 

Three Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Now that Little Monkey is approaching three years old, I’m incorporating more preschool activities into our homeschool.  One method that never gets old (and that my five year old loves as well) is music.  My boys both love to dance and sing, and music is playing constantly at our house and in the car.  Kids seem to be naturally attracted to music, and it is a great way to make any lesson fun.

Below are some easy ways to incorporate music as you teach Spanish, whether you are doing this in a classroom, a homeschool, or just informally. (Read more of my favorite resources for teaching Spanish).

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of CD’s of Mister G for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish

Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of this post, going through September 1!

To my mind there are three levels of engagement you can employ when using musical activities to teach Spanish: passive, partially engaged, and fully engaged.  Which level you use depends on the child’s level of Spanish and interest, your own level of Spanish, your goals in teaching, and the goal of the particular activity.  My kids and I have high levels of Spanish, but I don’t always opt for “fully engaged” activities since I have to be careful about their level of interest (one reason I love using music, since they are always interested in that!)  I find that a mix of activities works really well for us, to keep things fun but also keep them learning.  Experiment and find the mix that works best for you!

1. Passive Learning

This could also be termed “sneaky learning,” but I’ll try to sound professional by calling it “passive learning.” 😉 For kids with little to no knowledge of Spanish, this is a great method to use to start out.  Basically it involves exposing the kids to the sounds and rhythms of the language by playing music in the background, either during free play time or a dance or other exercise activity.  You aren’t calling attention to the lyrics themselves, just familiarizing them with the sounds.  If you are teaching Spanish at home, I’ve found that it’s great to play Spanish or bilingual songs in the car.

My kids, for example, love listening to the music of Mister G.  The topics are really fun (what kid wouldn’t love a song about chocolate, or an entire album about animals?), plus the music itself – which features Grammy award winning musicians – is wonderful.  In addition, the albums are bilingual, meaning that kids without much knowledge of Spanish to start won’t feel lost.

For kids with more knowledge of Spanish, passive learning is still a great way to increase their exposure to the vocabulary and structure of the language.  It can also be a great tool to get them to think more in Spanish by increasing the amount they hear.  This is very important in our situation.  Since Spanish is our minority language, I’m always looking for ways to balance out how much English the kids are exposed to throughout the day.

2. Partially Engaged Learning

Once you’re ready to begin teaching basic vocabulary, you can do activities involving partially engaged learning.  This is where you start to pick out one or two key words or phrases from a song and base a game or activity around them.  So, for example, you could teach them the word rana and have them hopping around like frogs to Mister G’s La rana, or teach them jirafa and send them on a giraffe hunt to the tune of Una jirafa en mi casa.  The song Siete elefantes is great for learning to count in Spanish!

These activities are great for kids without much background in Spanish because they are engaging without being overwhelming.  It’s a fun way to learn basic vocabulary and get some exercise!  This type of learning is also great for boys like mine, who have always been exposed to Spanish but whose understanding is mostly passive (meaning they understand very well but prefer to speak in English).  I’ve noticed that my older son especially is very hesitant to speak in Spanish because he is unsure of himself.  Really taking the time to reinforce the basics can build confidence and cover any gaps they may have in their understanding.

3. Fully Engaged Learning

For kids with greater understanding of the language, you can go for fully engaged learning.  This would involve building on an activity like the ones mentioned above with extension activities.  You can ask them questions in Spanish about the song, or teach them the lyrics, or do activities afterwards based on the full lyrics.  (In Spanish: Can you imagine having a giraffe in your house?  What would you do if you found one?  Let’s draw a picture of a giraffe in your bedroom!)  You could also have them engage with the full lyrics while the song is playing, by imitating the actions described, or having them jump up or twirl around when they hear particular words.  For kids with greater understanding of Spanish, this can be a fun way of getting them to pay closer attention to the lyrics and process what is actually happening in the song.

Something rather unique that I love about Mister G’s albums is that the songs are interspersed with short spoken conversations between Mister G and his friends.  Especially if you are a non-native speaker or – even if you aren’t – if you don’t have many Spanish speakers in your area, this is a wonderful way to increase the kids’ exposure to the flow of conversations in Spanish.  Great for vocabulary and grammar!

Enter to Win a Copy of Los Animales from Mister G!

Los Animales - Mister G

I am so excited to announce that I am giving away a copy of Los Animales from Mister G to TWO lucky US readers!  Enter below for your chance to win!

Mister G is a Latin Grammy nominee and Parents Choice Gold Award winner.  His albums have been selected by People magazine, Parents magazine, The Washington Post and Education.com as top albums for children.  His new release, Los Animales, is a collection of original bilingual songs for children inspired by his love of animals.  It features Grammy award winning musicians who together with the “kid-friendly, bilingual rock star” Mister G have created a fusion of salsa, jazz, bolero, Tejano, folk and rock music that kids and adults will love!  Listen to the music here and find out more about Mister G on his website.

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Aug 192015
 
 August 19, 2015  bilingualism 4 Responses »

Raising Multilingual Kids: Can a Non-Native Speaker Raise Bilingual Children? | Alldonemonkey.com

When it comes to raising bilingual children, many non-native speakers (such as myself!) are plagued with doubts.  How well can we really teach our children a second language?

In the beginning, my husband and I used the One Parent One Language method.  In other words, he – as a native Spanish speaker – would speak to our son only in Spanish, and I – as a native English speaker – would speak to our son only in English (read more about language learning methods).

But eventually found that this method was not very successful for our family.  As a result, when our second child was born, we switched tactics and I began speaking more Spanish at home, especially to the little one.  And while this heavier concentration on our minority language is more successful, it does raise the question of how helpful it is to have a non-native speaker teaching the kids a second language.

So based on my experiences – and my observations of other families – do I think a non-native speaker can raise bilingual children?  Go to the video below to find out!

Can a Non-Native Speaker Raise Bilingual Children?

Question from Kid World Citizen

This post is part of this year’s Vlogging Telephone from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Here’s how it works: think of it like a big chain, where one blogger asks a question, to be answered by the next blogger, who asks another question to be answered by the next blogger, and so on!  All of the questions are related to a topic, which this year is Raising Multilingual Kids.  (If you missed it, be sure to check out last year’s Vlogging Telephone on Travel with Kids!)

The question I’m answering above is from Kid World Citizen.  To follow the chain, visit the piri-piri lexicon to find out how she responds to my question: “What do you do when you meet resistance from your child to learning/speaking another language?”

 

Jul 222015
 

Top Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Bilingualism has always been important to us: one or the both of us has been speaking Spanish to the boys since they were born.  But Monkey in particular has been resistant to speaking Spanish himself, often identifying as an English speaker “who speaks a little Spanish.”  Though we have come up with creative ways to make language learning fun for him, this year I decided to take a bit of a different approach.

As I was creating our homeschool curriculum for the fall, I decided to include Spanish as a subject.  Up til now we have done our Spanish learning through conversation, media, and immersion trips, but we’ve been more casual than didactic.  Monkey responds well to classroom instruction – especially when they include games and activities – so I thought this could be fun for him, and so far it has been!  And after all, we teach English as a subject even though we speak it everyday, so why not give the same attention to his second language?

Here are some great resources we have been using.  What are your favorite resources to teach Spanish?

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  I was provided with a complimentary copy of Sofía en una Aventura por la Selva for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Top Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish

Circle Time

Something that is working really well for us right now is incorporating Spanish into our circle time.  I had a hard time finding a display I could use, but I am quite happy with the Spanish calendar set that I found, which lets us talk about the days of the week, months of the year, holidays, seasons, and the weather in a very interactive way that both boys enjoy.

Books

Finding quality children’s in Spanish can be a challenge, though thankfully much less so than in the past.  Here are some of our favorites, plus don’t miss my tips for finding books in Spanish for your kids:

Sofia en una Aventura por la Selvaence (Spanish Edition) is a great book to use in homeschooling because – as with all the books from Kids Yoga Stories – it encourages very active learning.  Kids will really engage with the story and the language as they do the yoga poses throughout the book.  What better way to learn the words for snake and jaguar then by acting like snakes and jaguars?  Beginning learners can focus on these basic words, while more advanced students can discuss the story.  Kids, most of whom are natural environmentalists, will also really respond to the book’s theme of conservation.  It also includes a Parent-Teacher guide!

ArteKids: Bilingual Books about Art for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

I love integrating subjects, so I was thrilled to come across ArteKids bilingual art books, which are a wonderful way to introduce basic vocabulary to beginning learners through art!  They are perfect for younger children who are just learning shapes and colors, but they work for older students, since each book contains more detailed information (in English) at the back of the book on the featured works of art, which include ancient and modern art from Latin America.  For more, you can read my full review of ArteKids books.

Multimedia

Music and videos can be a terrific way to encourage language learning, especially for reluctant learners.  I keep several Spanish language music CDs in the car, which we listen to frequently.

One of these is from Whistlefritz.  My kids really love the music, which is fun and upbeat.  Homeschoolers will also love the full Spanish for Kids collection, which is a tremendous resource for parents and teachers.  For more information, you can read my full review of Whistlefritz.

Another CD in constant rotation in our car is Spanish Songs for Kids (Bienvenidos) from Rockalingua.  Little Monkey especially requests this CD almost every time I strap him into his car seat.  The rock’ n ‘roll songs are really fun, and the lyrics are all based around themes, such as the days of the week or travel – yet somehow it manages not to feel educational (though of course you as the parent/teacher know that it is!)

Educational videos are also a great way to reinforce Spanish for kids.  I really recommend Little Pim DVDs for young children.  The segments are fairly short and teach related groups of words (such as food vocabulary in Little Pim: Let’s Eat), with a review at the end of each segment.  Little Pim is one of the most well-known language programs for kids, and with good reason.  For more, you can read my full review, included in this article on bilingual parenting.

Blogs

As a blogger myself, I’m very oriented towards blogs as a resource, plus as a member of Multicultural Kid Blogs, I’m lucky enough to know a number of amazing bloggers who focus on teaching languages to children.  They have such creative ideas!

Spanish PlaygroundOne of my absolute favorites is Spanish Playground.  It is very focused on learning through play and has materials and resources that can be adapted to all different situations and levels of Spanish.  I can also attest personally to how thoughtful she is in everything she presents to her readers.  You can trust that anything on her site is absolute top quality!  You’ll find lots of language activities and printables, as well as product reviews.  For example, I love this post on Spanish at the beach, which shows that you can incorporate language learning in all you do!

Mommy MaestraAnother of my favorite resources is Mommy Maestra.  As a homeschooler herself, she has a real understanding for what materials will be useful to other homeschoolers.  She has a lot of great activities and freebies on her blog, but her TpT store is also amazing. And don’t miss her an amazing list of Spanish curricula!

 

 

Mundo de PepitaAnother great resource with high quality materials is Mundo de Pepita.  The printables are wonderful, plus you can also find fun crafts and activities, in addition to tips for classroom learning.

I also adore For the Love of Spanish, which has a wonderful series focused on Learning Spanish Through Play.  Her activities are all well-suited to active learners and are easy to put together, so you can take learning wherever you go.

Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes Another personal favorite is Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, by an incredibly creative mom determined to pass on her culture and language to her son.  You can find a range of cultural activities on her site, including ones specifically focused on teaching Spanish.

Learning in Two Languages is a fantastic blog from a teacher in a dual language classroom.  You’ll find all kinds of teaching tips, plus great materials you can use with your kids.

 

For even more resources, be sure to check out these Pinterest boards:

Teaching Spanish on Pinterest



Multilingual and Multicultural Printables on Pinterest



Dec 052014
 
 December 5, 2014  bilingualism, Kid Fun, music 11 Responses »

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I received a complimentary copy of ¡Sabor! for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Raising our children to be bilingual is important to us, and we are always looking for fun ways to encourage language learning.   So I was thrilled to receive a copy of the ¡Sabor! – a CD of Spanish learning songs from Whistlefritz – to review.

Music is such a wonderful way to learn language, as it makes it easy for children to absorb the rhythms and sounds of a language.  Plus it keeps learning fun, particularly important when teaching a a child who may not want to learn a language just because his parents think it’s a great idea!  In our experience lessons are learned best through play, especially with languages, since Monkey is often resistant to speaking Spanish.  But he loves music and so doesn’t mind what language it is in, as long as it is fun!

And this music definitely is fun — The themes are ones that speak to children: “Juguetes, jugetes, Yo quiero jugar. (Toys, toys, I want to play.)”  And what child wouldn’t agree that “no hay fiesta sin pastel (it’s not a party without cake)”?

The album features Spanish versions of a few classics that your children will already know – like “En el rancho de MacDonald” – but also new favorites.  My kids love “Caminemos en el Bosque/Let’s Walk Through the Woods” – which features a wolf howl!

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

The music itself is also the type that you can’t listen to sitting still. The songs are also lively and upbeat, and the lyrics are interactive, encouraging the listener to make animal noises, shout out a response, or sing along.

Singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya takes the listener on a journey through a fusion of different world music styles, such as cumbia, salsa, calypso, and merengue.  So not only is your child having fun, he is also absorbing some of the musical culture of Latin America along with the language.

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

As a non-native speaker, I really appreciate that the CD includes a booklet with the full lyrics, in English and Spanish.  But this feature had an added bonus that I hadn’t anticipated!  My reluctant Spanish speaker is also an emergent reader.  He loves to read anything he can get his hands on, and thanks to ¡Sabor! he now spends our car trips reading the album lyrics in Spanish!  Sometimes he reads it like a book (even when the music is off), and other times he reads it along with the music, exclaiming as he recognizes the words being sung.

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I highly recommend this album, whether your children have already been exposed to Spanish or are just getting started.  It is a fun way to encourage Spanish learning even for the most reluctant speakers!  To see for yourself, you can listen to clips of the songs.  For more on this award-winning line of language learning materials (not just Spanish but French, too!), be sure to visit their website.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 302014
 

The Language Story of the Creative Mom: Bilingual Kids Rock Podcast interview

I am so pleased today to share the interview I did recently with Olena of Bilingual Kids Rock.  She has an amazing podcast series, interviewing parents from around the world who are raising their kids to be bilingual.  In our interview we talk about religion, choosing which language learning system to use, learning Spanish while residing in Bolivia, switching languages when speaking to adults and a whole lot more.  Listen to the interview on Bilingual Kids Rock – we’d love to hear what you think!

The Language Story of the Creative Mom: Bilingual Kids Rock Podcast Interview

Apr 022014
 

Lessons Learned from Language Learning - Spanish Playground on Alldonemonkey.com

Today’s post comes to us from a very dear friend, Jennifer Brunk.  Jennifer writes about language learning and resources for teaching children Spanish on Spanish Playground.

What do children learn as they acquire a second language? Vocabulary, grammar, culture, history, geography… All of these, no doubt, but there are other lessons that come with learning language, too.

I believe that learning a second language shapes children and their view of the world. These benefits may be harder to define than higher test scores or job opportunities, but they are just as important and lasting.

As children acquire more than one language, they learn:

The point of language is to understand and be understood. To be successful, children must learn to listen and be respectful of others.

Languages, cultures and interactions are complex. Children understand that their perception is not the only one possible, because it is interpreted and expressed slightly differently in each language. As they learn two languages, children see that there is a lot they don’t see. They learn to be open to exploring a situation, rather than making assumptions.

Variation is a given. Native speakers of the same language say things differently. Living this reality in more than one language helps children internalize that different is not a question of right and wrong.

Content is more important than form or presentation. Children learning two languages learn to listen for ideas. They focus on the message rather than being distracted by accent or appearance.

Language is powerful and it is a privilege to speak more than one. They can understand that they have a responsibility to use their skills to help others. They learn to appreciate the power of words and to use them carefully.

The globe is theirs to wander and absorb. They learn that each language brings new territory to explore and that when they can’t travel, language will transport them through stories, movies, and music.

Learning never ends. They are aware of what they know in one language and not the other and understand that they will keep learning their entire life.

Photo Credit: David Light Orchard via Compfight cc

Spanish Playground

Jennifer raised her three children speaking English and Spanish, and she has been teaching Spanish to other young world citizens for over twenty years. On her blog Spanish Playground, she shares resources for parents and teachers of Spanish language learners.

Feb 192014
 

Book Review: My Way - A mi manera - Lynn ReiserToday I am so happy to be posting for my good friend at Toddling in the Fast Lane.  I am so impressed by all the bilingual learning activities she does with her daughter, so I am happy to share about a bilingual book we discovered lately.

Read all about it over at Kristen’s fabulous blog:

A Mi Manera: Book Review

And be sure to also visit my collaborative Pinterest board on Bilingualism!


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