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Archive for the ‘bilingual kids’ tag

March 31st, 2014 at 5:39 pm

5 Easter Children’s Books in Spanish

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Although Easter is still three weeks away, it’s never too early to start getting your kids excited about this celebration. One of the best ways to do this is to teach them all about it based on their age. I love to do this through books and since in my house we only speak Spanish, I’m always on the lookout for books in my native tongue.

Here are the ones that have become favorites in my household through the years:

1. La aventura de Dora y el Conejo de Pascua: Dora and Boots come to the rescue after Swiper snatches the Easter basket from the Easter Bunny. The thing about Dora the Explorer books is that most kids are familiar with the characters, so they’re perfect for introducing them to new concepts and celebrations.

2. Pascua: A colorful book perfect for preschoolers to learn all about Easter.

3. Baile de los cascarones: Cascarones (hollowed eggs filled with colorful confetti) are a cultural tradition that all kids, regardless of whether they’re Latino or not, should partake in at least once in their lives. This book will teach them all about it. And hopefully, will get them excited about making their own cascarones too!

4. Clifford y el día de Pascua: Another great option to teach little kids about Easter through characters they already know. In this particular story, Clifford helps his friends find the hidden Easter eggs.

5. Jane decora un huevo de Pascua: Kids learn about Easter through the adventures of a trio of friends: a hen, a bear and a cat.

 

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

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March 18th, 2014 at 5:01 am

4 Tips for Parents of Future Bilingual Kids

4023143488_c039b5d2e8I spend a lot of time talking about the subject of raising bilingual kids, but mostly to parents who are already in the middle of the process. But what about those who are thinking about raising bilingual children once they have them?

Here’s some advice for them:

1. It doesn’t “just happen.” People like to say that children are like little sponges who absorb everything around them. While I think that’s true, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make any efforts to raise a bilingual child. Besides the commitment to make that happen, you have to make a concerted effort to expose your child to as much Spanish as possible on a regular basis. In other words, it’s not like you’re going to sit them in front of the television to watch “Dora the Explorer” and expect them to become bilingual.

2. It’s not always going to be easy. Along the same lines, it’s important for you to know that while this won’t be the case all the time, there will be periods that are more difficult than others. Some of this difficulties have to do with time, your support system in terms of who can help you expose your child to Spanish and also just pure rebellion on the part of your child which will happen at some point or another when raising a bilingual child.

3. It’s going to be funny. Raising a bilingual child with more than can one language can also be a lot of fun. And it can be pretty funny too. Some of these episodes will happen when your children come up with funny words or phrases that mix both languages. Some people think this has to do with the child being confused because he speaks two languages, but it’s really just their way of figuring out both his languages.

4. It’s always going to be totally worth it. In the end, there is absolutely no denying that teaching your child two languages will be totally worth it. The benefits of bilingualism have been proven over and over again both academically and culturally. It is a gift that your kids will carry with them for ever and one that they will surely thank you for in the future.

Photo Credit: Penumbra

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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February 4th, 2014 at 5:01 am

8 Fun Riddles to Practice Spanish with Your Kids

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The most important advice I like to give those raising bilingual children is to remember to make the journey as fun as possible. The minute speaking another language becomes a chore or an obligation, it’s more than likely that your kids will rebel and refuse to speak it.

In the past we’ve talked about music, board games and even tongue twisters as tools to make sure learning Spanish is a fun activity for your kids. Today, I want to share some riddles in Spanish that will hopefully help you do the same. Some riddles are extremely difficult, but the ones I’ve chosen are a few pretty simple ones that I remembered from when I was a child. Enjoy!

Adivina, adivinanza,
tiene un solo ojo
y una cara ancha.
(La panza)

Verde por dentro
verde por fuera
si quieres saber qué es, espera.
(La pera)

Sal al campo por las noches
si me quieres conocer,
soy señor de grandes ojos
cara seria y gran saber.
(El búho)

Fríos, muy fríos estamos
y con nuestros sabores
a los niños animamos.
(Los helados)

Me pisas y no me quejo,
me cepillas y me mancho,
y con mi hermano gemelo
bajo tu cama descanso.
(Los zapatos)

Empieza por “a”
y no es ave,
sin ser ave, vuela.
¿Quién será?
(La abuela)

Una en la tierra,
una en la luna;
pero en el cielo no
encontrarás ninguna.
(La letra A)

Tengo patas bien derechas,
pero no me puedo mover,
llevo a cuesta la comida
y no la puedo comer.
(La mesa)

Photo credit: real00

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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January 21st, 2014 at 5:01 am

Music Videos in Spanish for Children

babypianoI’ve taught my bilingual kids all of the children’s songs in Spanish you’ll find below and they love singing them. I remembered the lyrics for most of them, but for the ones I didn’t, I turned to YouTube. Not only so that I could be reminded of the simple lyrics of  my own childhood, but also because of the cute videos that you can find for each song.

These allowed my kids to watch something fun while learning several songs in Spanish. I’ve included the lyrics for each song, but you can click on the name of each song to watch the video. Also, keep in mind that some times, the lyrics may differ a little because there are different versions of the same song.

Un elefante se balanceaba:

Un elefante se balanceaba
sobre la tela de una araña,
como veía que resistía
fue a llamar a otro elefante.

Dos elefantes se balanceaban…

Arroz con leche:

Arroz con leche
Me quiero casar
Con una viudita
de la capital

Que sepa coser
Que sepa planchar
Que sepa abrir la puerta
Para ir a jugar.

Vaca lechera:

Tengo una vaca lechera,
no es una vaca cualquiera,
me da leche condensada,
ay! que vaca tan salada,
Tolón, tolón
Tolón, tolón

Pin pon:

Pin Pon es un muñeco
muy guapo y de cartón,
se lava su carita
con agua y con jabón

Se desenreda el pelo
con peine de marfil,
y aunque se da estirones
no llora ni hace así

Pin Pon dame la mano
con un fuerte apretón,
que quiero ser tu amigo
Pin Pon Pin Pon Pin Pon

Image credit: San Mateo County Library

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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December 10th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Christmas Gifts With A Latino Twist

5220663566_ffce30a320Christmas is right around the corner and if you want to give out some unique gifts this holiday season, I have some ideas with a Latino twist. Some of these would be great for bilingual kids, but even if you don’t have children like that on your list, these gifts are so different that they’re sure to be a hit no matter what!

Latin music — The CD Coloreando: Traditional Songs for Children in Spanish was released recently by Global Language Project, an amazing organization that provides language training in Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic to disadvantaged elementary school students. Performed by Colombian singer Marta Gomez, these traditional children’s songs in Spanish are catchy and will have kids signing in no time even if they’re only able to repeat a few words.

Latino fashion — From onesies to adult T-shirts, Dos Borreguitas is an online store with lots of unique, Latino-themed clothing items for the entire family. One of my favorite ones is a tee that says I Speak Spanglish because I do and I’m proud of it!

Latin roots — I like these customizable maps created by Children Inspire Design so much that I feel like getting all of them. Truth is that this is a great gift for all kids because you can customized the map to reflect their roots regardless of where their family is from.

Latino literature — There are a lot of options to choose from, but I highly recommend anything written by Alma Flor Ada or by Pat Mora. Both of these are well-known, prolific Latina authors whose children’s books would make absolutely wonderful gifts.

Photo credit: metaphoricalplatypus.com

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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November 26th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Online Resources in Spanish for Kids

5574119017_793e970b8eWhether we like it or not, our kids are growing up in a highly digital era, surrounded by technology everywhere they turn. Thus, it makes sense for us parents to put it to good use. While I’m very careful of what I allow my kids to do online, I must say I have discovered several sites that are excellent resources in my journey to raise my children bilingual.

Here are my favorites:

Math/Science:

  • Curiosikids — Tons of fun online experiments for kids of all ages.
  • AAA Math — Divided by age group and math concept, in this site you’ll find anything and everything your child may be studying.
  • Brain Pop —  This excellent site offers both math and science and its free content is entertaining and educational.

Reading/Writing:

Games:

  • PBS Kids — From Curious George to Cat in the Hat, PBS Kids offers a wide range of games your children can play to learn important concepts in a fun way in Spanish!
  • Childtopia — Lots of fun activities and games for kids in preschool and early elementary school that will keep your kids entertained for a good while.

Do you know of any others that you can share with us?

Credit: Paul Mayne

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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October 15th, 2013 at 5:01 am

4 Fun And Educational Bilingual Toys

ingenioI’ll  never get tired of saying that the best way for kids to learn is to do it through play, while they’re having fun, because they won’t even notice they’re actually learning. Because I’ve been raising bilingual kids since birth, I’m always on the lookout for quality, bilingual toys that can help me in my journey. Here are five of our favorite ones:

Ingenio: It’s hard to choose just one of the toys made by Ingenio, a company dedicated to bilingual toys in several language combinations. My kids and I discovered these toys about four years ago and they were an instant hit. From puzzles to play tablets, there’s something for everyone!

Chicco Talking Farm: This cute toy teaches children numbers, animals and colors in both English and Spanish. We’ve bought several of Chicco’s bilingual toys and we haven’t been disappointed. Some people don’t like that the Spanish used is from Spain, but I don’t really mind.

Leap Frog Learn & Groove Music Table: This toy is not cheap, but it’s worth the money because it’s the kind of product that your kid will play with for a long time to come. It teaches shapes and numbers in both English and Spanish and it has a ton of fun activities that are sure to keep your child entertained.

Just Kidz Sweet Berry Bilingual Laptop: My daughter got this toy laptop for Christmas three years ago and she continues to play with it. It includes memory games, math games and musical activities, among others. Some where too challenging when she first got the laptop, but now that she’s 7 years old, she can play all of them.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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October 1st, 2013 at 5:01 am

4 Activities to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with your Kids

We’re half-way through Hispanic Heritage Month, which means you still have some time left to do some fun activities while you teach your kids about the culture of the more than 50 million Latinos in the United States.

1) Learn a new song in Spanish: Ideally, you’ll choose a simple children’s song that is easy to learn because of its repetitiveness and length. For some ideas, visit Mama Lisa’s World of Children and International Culture, where you can choose songs by country and you even get an audio file of each of them.

2) Make a traditional Hispanic dish: Latin American food is so varied that there’s something for everyone. Maybe you can do taco night and teach your kids a bit about Mexico or you can make a dessert like flan and talk to your kids about where the recipe came from. In my house, it’d be Puerto Rico, but many Latin American countries make this delicious dessert.

3) Make a cultural craft: From piñatas to maracas, there are many arts & crafts you can do to teach your kids about the Latino culture. You can choose to do a few that are representative of a different country in Latin America and that way you can also teach them a bit about where they came from.

4) Go online: There are several websites that have lots of information related to Hispanic Heritage Month, including activities, games and history, which are an excellent resource for you to share with your kids. Check out Scholastic.com

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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September 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am

Outfit of the Week

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Over the past few years, animal print has become a big fashion statement. This outfit comes from our new 365 Kids from Garanimals line. The words “pretty in pink” come to mind with these leopard print leggings and long-sleeved graphic tee. The stylish graphic shows a funky skirt, legging and sneaker combination…little girls will love the fact that they’re wearing those exact leggings!

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September 17th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Hispanic Heritage Month: 5 Children’s Books About Prominent Latinos

Hispanic Heritage Month is underway and if you’d like to teach your kids about the rich and diverse history of Latinos in the United States, I have the perfect books for you!

1) My name is Celia by Monica Brown — A biographical tale about the iconic salsa singer Celia Cruz. Brown starts the story in Cuba, where a young Celia starts her career and then follow her to New York and Miami where she becomes famous.

2) Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter — An inspiring story of a little girl of Puerto Rican heritage who was able to achieve one of the highest honors by becoming the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

3) Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown — A tribute to the two of the most powerful Latino activists that every child should know.

4) Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Johan Winter — All kids, regardless of their heritage, should know about one of the greatest baseball players ever: Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente who was a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite facing all kinds of challenges, Clemente had so much talent that he came to be known as “The Great One.”

5) Tito Puente, Mambo King by Monica Brown — Learn all about the life of five-time Grammy winner  Tito Puente. As she does in the other biographies she’s written about important Latino figures, Brown introduces children to the life of this musical prodigy in a fun and simple way.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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