Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bilingual Fun and Charades

Who doesn't love a good round of Charades? I remember as a child, this was often a favorite wintertime game for the family. We would gather in front of the fire and act out silly things. My 5 year old received a kids version of Charades for Christmas this year. As always, we are looking for ways to make our children's bilingual development fun and natural. So after one round of English, we made a new rule: Spanish only.

Both my 3 yr old and 5 yr old had a blast! Using actions to reinforce language is a common technique I use in my language program. Otherwise referred to as TPR ( total physical response), you teach actions and movements that are associated with words or phrases in Spanish. When children are actively participating in the language learning, vocabulary is often absorbed more easily. My daughter picked out the cards, which had pictures only on them and acted them out. I guessed in Spanish, and this was an excellent reinforcement for her comprehsion. Then we switched and I acted out the words, and she had to make the guesses. Again, producing the words in the target language is more difficult, but she was able to do it with ease. Then my 3 yr old was able to act some out as well. We guessed in Spanish and he was able to tell us if we were right or wrong, showing his grasp of the language comphrension.

Charades for children is a perfect way to keep the language learning fun and relevant to their lives. The words we acted out were things that are common in their little worlds, such as truck, ball, dancing, ice cream, jumping rope, etc. Even if your child doesn't not have fluency in the language, they should be able to recognize and produce simple words and phrases with this game. It is good practice for the parents too!
This is going to be our new evening activity when we need some action and bilingual fun!

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