Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ways to Teach Baby Spanish

I recently came across a blog called My Bilingual Kid. In his blog, Josh notes that even though his son is too young right now (4 months old) to do the activities in my Spanish colors lesson plan, he looks forward to using them when he's older.

Es verdad - It's true, I wrote those lessons when my twins turned 3 years old, but I offered ideas on how I interact in Spanish with my 17 month-old. Usually he's napping when I do Spanish Time with my girls.

So here are some simple ways you can teach and interact in Spanish with your baby (infant/ toddler.)

1. In the morning, sing a Spanish “hello” or “good morning” song.

2. Gently lift your baby up and down say “arriba” “abajo.”

3. Open and close your hands and say “abierto” “cierre”

4. Name the food and beverages you give in Spanish.

  • Aqua = water
  • Leche = milk
  • Jugo = juice
  • Jugo de naranja = orange juice
  • Jugo de manzana = apple juice
  • Jugo de uva = grape juice
  • Cereal = cereal
  • Bread = pan
  • Rice = arroz
  • Galletas = crackers/cookies

5. Make simple comments and ask simple questions when it’s eating time.

  • Here you go = Aqui tienes
  • Let’s pray (say grace) = Rezamos
  • Mmm, yummy = muy rico
  • Almost finished = Casi terminado
  • Finished? = ¿Terminado?
  • Want more? = ¿Quieres mas?
  • Yay! You ate all = ¡Comiste todo!
  • No more. = No mas.
  • Do you want something to drink? ¿Quieres algo beber?

6. Diaper time is the perfect time to sing the Spanish alphabet song or the songs you learned from the Boca Beth cd’s .

7. Go over the parts of the body in Spanish and ask, for example, ¿Dónde está tu nariz? Where is your nose?

8. I like to see the big smile on my 17 month-old’s face when I take him by the hand and say “Corre, Jaden, corre.” Run, Jaden, run. And we run (at his pace of course) across the room.

There's a whole lot more that we do and as I think of them I'll post up some more ideas for how you can teach your baby Spanish.

¡Hasta luego!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teaching Preschoolers Spanish

My twin girls and I went to see an African-drum show at my eldest daughter's school. On the way back, it started to rain. I beamed with pride when I heard Janai exclaim, "¡Lluvia, lluvia! That means rain in Spanish."

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it is because her reaction showed me that Spanish is becoming a part of her. She said it with no prompting and with no singing to the tune of a song. She simply made the connection and verbalized it.

It also showed me that even though we're not a Spanish-speaking family or come from Spanish-speaking families, our children are learning Spanish from the activities, environment and exposure we've given them.

Yes, it is possible for monolingual parents to teach their children Spanish. Doing so is worth the time and effort--with benefits to last a lifetime.

¡Hasta la próxima vez!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

It’s Breakfast Time – Es la hora de desayuno

Es la hora de desayuno - It’s Breakfast Time

My twins are at the age (preschoolers) when they want to help me do everything--like prepare breakfast. So this is a good time to learn and practice using Spanish with them as well.

Here are some words and sentences you can use to make Spanish a part of your breakfast time. I included help with pronunciation.

Es hora de desayuno. It's time for breakfast.
(ehs OH-rah day day-sah-YOO-noh)

¿Qué quieres para desayuno? What do you want for breakfast?
(kay kee-AYR-ays PAH-rah day-sah-YOO-noh)

¿Cereal o wafles? Cereal or waffles?
(say-ray-AHL o WAH-flays)

Bien, necesitamos un tazón, el cereal y la leche. Ok, we need a bowl, cereal and milk.
(nay-say-see-TAH-mohs oon tah-ZOHN, ehl say-ray-AHL, ee lah lay-chay)

Vierte el cereal en el tazón. Pour the cereal into the bowl.
(bee-AYR-tay ehl say-ray-AHL ehn ehl tah-ZOHN)

Entonces vierte la leche en el cereal. Then pour the milk into the cereal.
(ehn-TOHN-says bee-AYR-tay lah lay-chay ehn ehl say-rah-AHL)

¿Qué más necesitamos? What else do we need?
(kay mahs nay-say-see-TAH-mohs)

Las cucharas Spoons
(lahs koo-CHAH-rahs)

Vamos a comer. Let’s eat.
(bah-mohs ah koh-mayr)

TIP: Remember you don’t have to use the whole Spanish sentence in order to make Spanish a part of your day. (That will come as you learn more and more Spanish). You can just focus on vocabulary.

It’s breakfast time. In English we say “breakfast,” in Spanish we say “desayuno.”

What do you want for “desayuno.”

Hope this helps. Let me know by commenting below.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

¡Feliz Dia de las Madres - Happy Mothers' Day!

from Jessica and family.

Here's a little background on the Pink Rose:

Roses are a symbol for love and gratitude. While different roses may have more specific meanings, these are still the underlying message of any color rose.

Pink roses now carry a connotation of grace and elegance, as well as and sweetness and poetic romance. Different shades of pink also carry their own significance. Dark pink roses are symbolic of gratitude and appreciation, and are a traditional way to send a message of thanks. Light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration.
excerpt from FloraPedia

Friday, May 9, 2008

Babies Discern Languages Through Visual Cues

An amazing article about babies and multiple languages:

Babies discern languages through visual cues - BabyCenter: "Babies discern languages through visual cues

THURSDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) — Infants can tell the difference between two languages without hearing the spoken words, simply by watching the face of the adult who is talking, a Canadian study says.

'It is important, because it tells us how babies are prepared to learn multiple languages,' said Whitney Weikum, a doctoral candidate in neural sciences at the University of British Columbia who led the experiment."

(Read more)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spanish Time! at Our House


Here are some snapshots of my girls during, what we call Spanish Time! It's a time when we focus on learning and having fun in Spanish. We have a lesson plan topic for the week, and we do the Boca Beth songs, bilingual books, dvd's and activities that go along with our topic.

Janai, Jaida, Jessica
They just finished "Movin' and Groovin"

They're dancing along to "Five Little Monkies - Cinco monitos"

This is the arts and crafts part of the lesson.

I don't remember what song they're clapping to.

My little boy is sleeping during all of this, but very soon he'll be in on Spanish Time! with his sisters too.

Learn how to have Spanish Time! with your family!

!Hasta luego!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo - Courage, Teamwork and Triumph

I've always heard of "cinco de mayo" being a Mexican holiday, but I've never really known what it meant. I mean, I know "cinco de mayo" means the 5th of May, but what does this day celebrate for Mexican culture?

I did a little research and came across this thoroughly informative article. In addition to giving a brief history of this holiday, it gives "cinco de mayo" party ideas, activities and kid crafts.

What Is Cinco de Mayo? The History Behind the Holiday
By Cara J. Stevens

Hola! Get ready to become acquainted with the history, traditions, recipes, and crafts of Cinco de Mayo--a vibrant and festive holiday celebrated by people of Mexican heritage.

Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on the 5th of May, commemorates the triumph of a small Mexican army over French forces in an 1862 battle.

The Battle at Puebla took place only 14 years after the United States defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. With a weakened army and lagging national pride, the odds were against the Mexican people. But when French forces..." (Read more)