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Archive for the ‘multicultural’ 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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January 7th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Cambios que pienso implementar en mi casa bilingüe este año

2616385537_41df926ac7No soy de las que le gusta hacer promesas de Año Nuevo, pero he notado algunas cosas en mi hogar bilingüe que me gustaría cambiar antes de que sea demasiado tarde. Mi esposo y yo estamos criando a nuestros hijos bilingües, lo que significa que sólo hablamos con ellos en español. Aunque estoy contenta con lo que hemos logrado hasta ahora, me he dado cuenta que tengo que ser aún más consciente del uso del español de mis hijos si quiero que se queden bilingües.

Por eso he decidido poner en práctica algunas cosas. Para empezar, tengo que volver a leerle a mis dos hijos. Todavía lo hago, pero no tan seguido como me gustaría. Mi hija es lo suficientemente grande como para leer solita y lo hace a diario, pero me he dado cuenta que está empezando a olvidar un montón de palabras básicas en español. Así que al final termina diciendo una frase entera en español utilizando la versión en inglés de la palabra que no sabe o que ha olvidado. La lectura es una de las mejores formas de ampliar el vocabulario de un niño.

Durante las vacaciones de Navidad, mis hijos vieron un montón más televisión de lo que normalmente les permito y la mayor parte de lo que vieron fue en inglés. A pesar de que no verán ni una cuarta parte de tele ahora que han regresado a la escuela, tengo que volver a recordarles que todo lo que ven tiene que estar en español. Eso no siempre es posible, pero tengo que asegurarme que lo hacen cada vez que sí lo sea.

Por último, la nueva regla será que para poder utilizar mi tableta o mi teléfono inteligente tienen que jugar sólo con apps en español. Por suerte, hoy en día existen un montón, así que esto no será un problema. ¡A ver cómo nos va!

Photo credit: Neeta Lind

Roxana A. Soto es cofundadora de SpanglishBaby, el sitio en línea para padres que están criando niños bilingües y biculturales. Actualmente está escribiendo su primer libro, basado en su blog, que será publicado en septiembre. Roxana también es redactora de MamásLatinas.

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December 24th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Crafts for Three Kings Day

29e00695ef07831d4f65d360d9ae79e1Tonight most Latinos will celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), but the holiday season won’t be over until January 6, which is known as Three Kings Day. Although this is still a pretty big celebration in Spain and some other Latin American countries, it’s no longer as widely celebrated as it was when I was a child.

Even so, I’m making sure my children grow up knowing all about this beautiful tradition. We usually read books about the holiday and work on at least one craft, like the ones I share below. The night before Reyes, my kids leave some hay (food for the camels) in a shoe box underneath their beds and they find small gifts inside the next morning. I used to leave a shoe underneath my bed, but stockings can also be used. Check these out:

Three Kings Stockings:  Made by Ruby of Growing Up Blackxican, these stockings look like the perfect craft to make with little kids. The instructions are not too complicated and the best part is that your children can decorated them however they please.

Crowns: Another great craft with endless possibilities are these super cute and easy-to-do crowns in honor of the Three Kings. For this one all you need is construction paper, ribbon, fake gemstones and glue.

Three Kings Dolls: All you need are some toilet paper rolls and a lot of imagination! There are several ways your kids could decorate these dolls, but whatever they end up doing, I can assure you it will be lots of fun! If you don’t want to use toilet paper rolls, here’s another option made with wooden pieces.

Photo Credit: thatartistwoman.org

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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November 12th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Latino Twist

thanksgivingAlthough Thanksgiving is a quintessential American celebration, those of us who came to the United States from Latin America don’t have a problem embracing it because two of its main ingredients are of utter importance to us: family and food. Latinos love to get together with friends and family regardless of the reason. And, if there’s food involved, even better!

While I think the turkey needs to remain the main Thanksgiving dish because of what it represents, there are several things you can do in the kitchen to give the sides a Latin twist. Here are a few ideas:

Spicy mashed potatoes — Give the same old boring mashed potatoes a spicy twist by following this super easy recipe.

Green plantain turkey stuffing — Also known as mofongo stuffing, I can’t think of a better way to Latinize your Thanksgiving turkey!

Brussels sprouts with chorizo — Even if you thought you didn’t like brussels sprouts, you haven’t tried this amazing recipe!

Pomegranate sangria — Sangria is always a hit when entertaining a large group. You can make it ahead and everyone seems to like it. Give yours a twist by adding some pomegranate juice and seeds.

Squash bread pudding with rum sauce — A delicious bread pudding with nice chunks of squash and plum raisins. A Thanksgiving dessert like no other!

Make one or make them all! If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving dinner, then consider making one of these dishes to take to your hostess. They are so original and flavorful that they’ll be sure to delight!

Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC

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 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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August 6th, 2013 at 5:01 am

5 Language-Learning Apps for Bilingual Kids

Let’s face it: our kids will play with our smartphones and our tablets so we might as well put them to good use. If you’re trying to raise bilingual kids, then you may want to do what I do to get them to practice their Spanish. Buy a few of the following apps and tell them they have permission to use your iPad only if they agree to spend at least half of their time practicing their second language. These apps are fun and engaging, so I’m sure they won’t say no.

Number fiesta: Perfect for preschooler who are learning how to count in both English and Spanish. At 99 cents it’s totally worth having this app for your kids.

Learn Spanish with Little Pim: “Colors”: If you’re raising bilingual children, you’ve probably heard of Little Pim. This app is just one more to the many that are available to help your kids learn Spanish. This one is all about colors.

Revista Babybug en español: A digital magazine in Spanish for little ones! The app has audio and video features which make the magazine come to life.

La Sirenita 3D Interactive Pop-up Book: A interactive pop-up book, this is only one of several titles that come in electronic form. The best part is that Spanish is not the only language you can choose.

Bilingual Child Bubbles Word Game: Kids love popping bubbles, so this app should be a hit! With over 100 vocabulary words, kids get to pop the bubbles that match the words being said by the app’s main character.

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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