Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘bilingual’ tag

July 7th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

4 Board Books for Bilingual Kids


Many people think it makes no sense to read to a baby or a toddler, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is a great idea to start reading to your children while they’re in the womb! This is particularly helpful if you’ll be raising them bilingual because they’ll get used to hearing the minority language even before they’re born.

Through the years, I’ve gotten my hands on a fair share of bilingual board books, but here’s a short list of the ones we favor at home:

My Colors, My World/Mis colores, Mi mundo — This is a board book your kiddos must have in their home libraries. Written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, It’s colorful and full of life, and they will love to learn the colors in both English and Spanish. I promise!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar/La oruga muy hambrienta — My son will be going to Kindergarten this fall and you may think he’s done with board books, but this is actually one of his very favorite ones. By now, he knows it by heart in both English and Spanish, but he continues to ask me to read it to him almost every night. Perfect to teach your kids how to count and tons of food vocabulary in both languages.

Your Body/Tu cuerpo — I love the simplicity of this board book, one of two in a series about the body. The illustrations are eye-catching and will keep your kids entertained while they learn vocabulary related to the human body and how it moves in both languages.

Colores Everywhere!: Colors in English and Spanish — This is another one about colors, but what makes it totally unique is that the illustrations are from art artifacts that belong to the San Antonio Museum of Art. Talk about colorful! This is one book in a series of three. The other two are about shapes and numbers. Highly recommended!

Pin It

June 9th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

4 Books About Soccer To Teach Your Kids About The World Cup


The World Cup 2014 kicks off on Thursday and I can’t wait to share this experience with my kids. Since I grew up in Peru where soccer is the most popular sport, the World Cup has always had a special place in my heart.

Both my kids play soccer and though they’re still little, they’re not completely oblivious to the upcoming soccer event of the year. To help them learn more about it, we’ve checked out some books about soccer from the library and we’ve bought at least one of them. I figured now would be a great time to share them with you.

1. For the Love of Soccer —  Written by one of the sport’s most prominent and talented stars, three-time World Cup champion Pelé tells kids how he got started and why he loves fútbol so much!

2. The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Kid’s Handbook — This is the perfect companion for your kids to have while watching the World Cup. It includes info about the host country, Brazil, and everything your child needs to know about the teams, the players, the stadiums as well as a bunch of fun activities.

3. The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book — This book is perfect for kids that want to learn about the rules, the techniques and the strategies used to play this game successfully.

4. National Geographic Kids Everything Soccer — I love anything done by National Geographic and this book is not the exception. Children will learn anything and everything they need to understand the game of soccer, including fun facts, and the illustrations are excellent too!


Photo Credit: USAG – Humphreys

Pin It

May 27th, 2014 at 10:16 am

Make A Piñata In 7 Easy Steps


My kids are summer babies, so we’ll be celebrating their birthdays in the next couple of months. And the thing I love the most is that we get to celebrate them in our own backyard. For the past seven years, there hasn’t been one birthday without a piñata, but this year, we’re going to do something different. Instead of getting one to match the theme of the birthday party at the store, we’ve actually decided to make our very own piñata.

Although I’m not the most crafty person in the world and a making a piñata from scratch sounds pretty complicated to me, I found what looks like an amazingly easy tutorial on YouTube and I can’t wait to try to make a piñata with my children.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Large bowl
  • Mylar ballon in the shape of a star
  • 5 party hats
  • Crepe paper of different colors
  • Lots of newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Candy
  • String
  • Scissors


  1. Mix water and flour in the bowl until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Inflate balloon and place a party hat on each of its points and attach with a bit of masking tape.
  3. Cut the newspaper into long, 2-inch wide strips.
  4. Grab the newspaper strips and soak them in the paste. Once both sides of the strips are wet, place them on the balloon until you cover it completely.
  5. Wait for strips to dry out completely (this can take up to a day) and then make a hole on the top so you can take the balloon out and be able to fill the piñata with candy.
  6. Then, you can start decorating with the colored crepe paper. Cut into 3-inch pieces and make fringes on the end. Then paste these pieces all around the balloon starting at the bottom and going round and round using the glue stick until.
  7. Fill up the piñata with candy and then make two tiny holes at the top on each side of the big opening and put the string through these so you can hung the piñata.

Photo Credit:  BeforeAndAfterTV

Pin It

May 11th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

6 Blogs To Follow If You’re Raising Bilingual Kids


If you’re raising bilingual children, you should know you’re not alone. There’s a ton of other parents just like you who’re in the same journey and several of them share all about their experience in their blogs. Since one of my tips when raising bilingual kids is to make sure you have support from others like you, following some of these blogs is a great idea.

1. Bilingual Monkeys: Adam Beck’s blog is full of great resources and it’s simply super fun to read. This dad lives in Japan and him and his wife are raising them bilingual in Japanese and English. Adam’s posts are inspiring, funny and very honest.

2. Kid World Citizen: One of my favorite blogs to help you with ideas and resources when raising global citizens. Raising bilingual children is about the language, but it’s also about the culture, history and traditions that go with that language. In this blog, you’ll find everything you need to help your children become world citizens.

3. Growing Up Bilingual: A bilingual blog by Guatemalan mom-of-2, Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, who writes about culture, travel and family. In this blog you’ll find anything from recipes to crafts always with a Latino touch.

4. Latinas 4 Latino Lit: A great blog dedicated to promoting and pushing for more literature that represents Latinos. Its Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program is about to launch and it’s definitely worth checking out with your kids.

5. Mommy Maestra: This blog is full of resources. Created by a mom who homeschools her children, it’s great for those of us whose kids don’t go to a dual-language immersion school. I’ve found a lot of great recommendations for materials I can use with my own bilingual kids at home.

6. SpanglishBaby: (Disclaimer: I’m the co-founder of this blog). Although we’re no longer updating this blog, all the information we gathered there the last five years is still available and searchable. From book reviews to Ask-an-Expert posts, there’s something for everyone. Plus, we’re still very active on Facebook where we interact with an ever-growing community of over 65,000 followers!

Are there any others you’d add to this list?

Photo Credit: Mark Evans, Flickr

Pin It

April 28th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

5 Fun Kid Activities to Celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros


Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros is an annual celebration of books, children and cultural diversity. Although celebrations take place the entire month of April, the 30th, which is tomorrow, is the actual day known as DIA. Libraries throughout the country will have some kind of event so check yours to see if there’s something going on. If you can’t find anything, here are a few ideas for activities you can do with your kids to partake in this awesome celebration of children and books!

1. Children’s handmade books: There are tons of ways of doing this from the most basic ones (with paper and crayons) to the more elaborate. Either way, your kids will have tons of fun and you’ll be surprised by where their imagination takes them. Plus, they’ll be super proud of their creation and will want to share it with everybody!

2. Bookmarks: The possibilities are endless with this activity too, but the one I highly recommend is Scratch Art. My daughter has done several of these and they’re not only super easy, but lots of fun!

3. Help them send a DIA e-card: You can get these from ether Colorín Colorado a bilingual website dedicated to children literacy or from Reading Rockets. Both are absolutely beautiful, inspiring… and bilingual!

4. Read!: Sounds simple, but it can be so much fun. Take your kids to the library and let them roam for a while picking the books they want you to read to them or that they want to read to you. Make silly faces and funny voices and ask a lot of questions. My 4-year-old son’s current favorite book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, which we own in its bilingual edition. Although he doesn’t know how to read, he’s memorized and loves to ask me if I want him to read it to me. It’s crazy fun to hear his interpretation of this beautiful book.

Pin It

March 31st, 2014 at 5:39 pm

5 Easter Children’s Books in Spanish


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:

Pin It

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.

Pin It

February 18th, 2014 at 5:01 am

Latin Food Blogs You Should Know

cropped-official-headerI have never understood people who don’t really care about the food they eat. Maybe it’s because my dad was a cook and we always ate really, really well at home. In any event, although I didn’t get his culinary abilities, I do love to eat good food and I’m teaching my kids to enjoy it too — especially when it comes to Latin food.

Here are some great Latin food blogs that you should check out:

1. Hungry Food Love: This blog is written by Melissa, who is Dominican, but lives in the United States. Although it includes a lot of Latin recipes, you’ll find all kinds of different types of foods. Favorite recipe: Pastelitos.

2. My Colombian Recipes: I love Colombian food ever since I tried it when I lived in Miami, that’s why I was so happy to find this blog. Written by Erica, a Colombian who lives in the United States and whose recipes are inspired by her grandmother. Favorite recipe: Ajiaco Bogotano.

3. Latin Food Lovers: An Argentinian writes this awesome food blog from New York City. I’ve found Argentinian recipes that remind me of my childhood because I was lucky enough to spend two years there, but there’s also all kinds of other recipes. Favorite recipe: Flan con crema.

4. Hungry Sofia: Written by Cuban-American Ana Sofía, who was born and raised in Miami, but lives in New York, this blog includes recipes from all Latin America. I love how easy it is to find recipes which are divided by categories from appetizers to soups and stews. Favorite recipe: Croquetas de Jamón.

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.

Pin It

February 4th, 2014 at 5:01 am

8 Fun Riddles to Practice Spanish with Your Kids


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.

Pin It

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.

Pin It