Yesterday as I watched my 3 year-old twin girls, Janai (pronounced ja-nay) and Jessica play, I couldn't help but be amazed at how much Spanish they know. I didn’t work with my twins with the Spanish as much as I worked with Jaida, but they know a lot.
While they were playing with their Dora castle, I put on Las tres mellizas bebés. It was an episode about thunder and lightning. The girls came to watch some of it. I heard Jessie say, "Let's play the tres mellizas bebés." They wrapped themselves in a sheet, and then Janai said, "Let's pretend that we're scared. Tengo miedo."
Other times I’ll hear one say, "Ayúdame, ayúdame!." And the other respond, "Ok, I’ll save you." And ever since we did the Spanish lesson about colors, they both go around the house naming the colors they see in Spanish. What's funny too is, in the lesson we didn't go over the colors black and white, but they remembered those colors from Boca Beth's song, "Veo colores."
Interaction with children in Spanish is very important. But don't dismiss just playing Spanish music or a Spanish kid show in the background while they're playing or eating. It may seem like they're not paying attention, but their little brains are absorbing the language. Their little brains are absorbing the "feel" of Spanish, the sound of Spanish, the beauty of Spanish.
Another for instance: I had been playing the cd we got from Juguemos a Cantar every day or so. Then one day I heard Jaida singing the Spanish alphabet all the way through! That caught me off guard because I didn't even know the Spanish alphabet song all the way through. So I had to buckle down and learn it so that we could sing it together. And now she's able to identify individual letters in Spanish as well.
I’m trying to document everything that we are doing or have done, so that you too will be encouraged to teach your children a second language even if you don’t speak the language. The fun part is learning the language together. The awesome part is hearing your child speak the language.