Friday, December 3, 2010

Welcome Baby Javier!

Multicultural Doll Collection Offers the Gift of Tradition and Heritage

As a mom raising bilingual children and an educator of many Bilingual Fun students, I am enamored by Baby Abuelita Products! My daughter received Baby Andrea a few years ago and it was an immediate favorite. She loved to sing along with the familiar Spanish songs and lullabies. My little students who are learning Spanish have always been thrilled when Baby Andrea makes a classroom appearance. My children were so excited to meet Baby Javier and hear his classis nursery rhymes come to life! I am proud that Baby Abuelita was founded by 2 moms Carol Fenster and Hilda Argilagos Jimenez, who shared a goal to leverage traditions Spanish-language childhood songs to ensure that Hispanic heritage is preserved, passing it along to the next generation.

Gifts that touch the cultural and traditional heartstrings of families will score big this holiday season and Baby Abuelita Productions is there to meet consumer needs. In its 5th year, the Miami based company is rolling out Javier, the first toddler boy doll in the series of products that focuses on classic Spanish nursery rhymes and favorite lullabies of Hispanic Heritage.

Affordably priced at $24.99, each doll comes in packaging designed to look like a rocking chair and sings a different group of songs, such as “Arroz Con Leche” (Rice Pudding), “Duermete Mi Niña” (Sleep, Baby, Sleep) and “Campanitas” (Little Bells) in a voice reflective of the doll’s character at the press of its hand. This adorable dolls are perfect for teaching Spanish to children and preserving heritage!

Be sure to check out the other characters:
Abuelita Rosa
Abuelito Pancho
Baby Andrea
Baby Tita

If you know a child that is learning Spanish or already bilingual, this is a fantastic gift that they will love to play with and learn from at the same time!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adventures in Teaching our Kids Spanish

The journey and adventure in raising bilingual children takes many turns as they grow and develop. When my children were babies and toddlers, we spoke Spanish with them all of the time and their bilingual development happened naturally and easily. They responded and interacted in both English and Spanish with ease, as their little lives were immersed with both languages. Today, with my children being elementary age, their bilingual development has changed and focuses more on age appropriate learning skills that they are currently learning in school. My son is learning to count by 2's, 5's, and 10's in his kindergarten class. Likewise we focus on these same math skills in Spanish with him. My daugther is a proficient reader in English and we have been working on her proficiency in Spanish as well. Her bilingual brain allows her to easily hear the sound of Spanish and understand how to pronounce words. We focus on the vowel sound differences when reading in Spanish and she can immediately know when she is pronouncing something incorrectly. As a bilingual educator, I know the importance of being a proficient reader in your first language before introducing the second. We waited until I felt my daughter was secure in her English reading skills before introducing Spanish literacy. We often read bilingual books that are written in English with a smattering of Spanish words thrown in the text. This enables my daughter to differentiate the sounds and pronunciation. It is fun to find new ways to teach Spanish to my children. Here is a brief clip reading the beautifully written and illustrated Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Foreign Language Friends

Foreign Language Friends is a web-based language learning process created just for children. Filled with rich multimedia content, this approach will help your children learn a new language almost effortlessly!

This fun, interactive site teaches languages to children through full immersion with a variety of activities, theme based learning, and encourages family participation. As a parent of bilingual children and an educator, I am always very interested in worthwhile, interactive resources that children can use to develop their language skills. Foreign Langauge Friends hits the mark!

My own son enjoyed navigating the site and playing the fun games. It was a great reinforcement of vocabulary and communication that he hasn’t used frequently and a perfect way to peak his interest. One of our Bilingual Fun families tried it out as well and had this to say: “I have been looking for something that would get my son interested in learning Spanish and I think I found it with this website. We worked with the website together in the beginning after 8-10 minutes he took over the mouse and was doing it on his own at his own pass. He really was enjoying it and following right along he said a few times on his own "this is really fun", "ok how about we do this every day at 10:00", and the words I have been waiting for "can we sign up for this?”

Here is what my kids and I really like about Foreign Language Friends:

• the introduction to all the vocabulary words first before beginning games or exercises
• the comparison review ( great reinforcement)
• the length of each section, just the right length of time before kids lose interest
• great graphics that hold attention
• relevant, interesting subject matters
• familiar games like matching game, hangman layout, spelling games, etc
• easy to navigate website
• upbeat, fun music and songs
• opportunities to hear the language and practice speaking, repeating

Visit to learn more about the program and how to sign up! Take advantage of the 7 Day Free Trial to try it out yourself!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fun with Piñatas!

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15- October 15. The culture and language can be taught and celebrated in a variety of ways. One fun children’s activity is to make an authentic piñata. As an integrated activity, you can play the Pinata Concentration game to teach children Spanish. Also be sure to read the beautiful children's book El Piñatero/ The Piñata Maker by George Acona.

Piñatas are found at almost every Mexican celebration. Traditionally they were in the shape of a six-pointed star and were filled with fruit, candy, and small toys. Today you can find them in all shapes, including animals, flowers, and popular characters. At fiestas, the piñata are hung in the air and children are blindfolded and take turns swinging at the pinatas. Kids often sing “ dale, dale, dale no pierdas el tino, mira la pinata que hay en el camino. No quiero oro ni quiero plata, lo que yo quiero es romper la piñata.” Eventually, the piñata is hit hard enough and it breaks releasing the candy and toys that it contained.
Making an authentic piñata is a fun, interactive lesson you can do either at home or in a school setting. Bilingual Fun incorporates this cultural activity in our summer camps, as it takes a few days for each layer to dry. The kids love participating in the creation of the piñata and of course the culminating fiesta is worth all of the hard work.
• 3 cups water
• 2 cups flour
• 1 balloon
• Newspaper cut into long strips
• Colored tissue papaer
• String
1. Blow up a large balloon and tie the end
2. Mix the flour and water together until it makes a smooth paste
3. Cut the newspaper into long 1 inch thick strips and dip into the flour/water mixture
4. Carefully place the strips on the balloon until it is covered, leaving a hole at the top
5. Set aside and let the balloon dry
6. Place another layer of newspaper dipped in the mixture over the balloon and let dry
7. Repeat with one or two more layers, making sure you leave the hole at the top
8. When dry, pop the balloon with scissors point and remove the balloon
9. Cut small pieces of colored tissue
10. Scrunch the papers into little pieces and glue all over the piñata.
11. If desired, hang colored crepe paper from the sides and bottom
12. Punch 2 small holes in the top near the opening and string a large piece of string through the two holes
13. Fill your pinata (through the hole you left at the top) with candy, toys, or any other fun surprises.
14. Get ready for your FIESTA!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Of My Favorite Language Websites!

If you haven't been a visitor to Multlingual Living yet, race over there now! It is a multitude of resources, tips, expert advice, ideas, and inspiration about raising a multilingual family. The creators of Multilingual Living offer a smart, useful, and inspiring site that just keeps you wanting to learn more. If you are a parent, teacher or bilingual learner yourself, you will most definitely want to sign up for their newsletter. As a teacher and parent myself, I am always looking for ideas, resources, activities and fresh new strategies to keep my children and students bilingual development growing and stimulated!

One of the exciting things that they are doing this summer at Multilingual Living is an impressive language challenge! Children and parents alike have committed to learning Spanish in 101 days. The activities, methods, ideas, and committment have been impressive and so much fun to follow. Maybe you can grab some ideas from their challenge. Check it out!

We Have A Winner!

..... and the winner is..... la ganadora es....

BETH T!!!!

THank you all for your insight and feedback regarding using music to stimulate your child's bilingual development!

If you haven't checked out yet, be sure to visit them. Fantastic products and great music!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teach Spanish with Music!

I strongly believe music is an extremely important element in the language acquisition of young children. As a mom and educator, I teach Spanish to children through movement, hands on activities, interactive games, and of course music! I love to add new music to my repertoire of songs and CDs that are teachable, easy to sing, and that will engage young children.

I was thrilled when our friends at Whistlefritz announced the release of their second CD, Cha, Cha, Cha! We are big fans of their first CD and the award winning singer Jorge Anaya. This newest release is definitely a colorful collection of songs that helps children learn Spanish. Not only does it have songs rich with everyday vocabulary, but it is a lively mix of Latin rhythms, including bachata, merengue, cumbia, reggae, and more!

Some of our favorites are Cha Cha Cha to Los Números and the samba to Los Vocales. In my many years of teaching, I have found some very great songs that teach basic Spanish ( number 1- 10, colors, etc), but it is sometimes difficult to find more advanced structures such as counting through the hundreds, communicating about travel, clothing, or other vocabulary themes. Whistlefritz hits the mark here with a great mix of easy to sing along songs that really are a super tool for teaching Spanish to kids!

My own kids and I have been having dance party in the living room as we have been listening to Cha, Cha, Cha! If you like to move, groove, and reinforce Spanish with your kids, I think you will certainly enjoy this new CD.

We would love to extend you the chance to win the great product!

One lucky winner will receive Whistlfritz’s CD Cha, Cha, Cha!

To enter and a chance to win:
1. Please leave a comment telling us what your favorite Spanish song is with your children.

2. For an additional entry, please “ LIKE” us on Facebook. Gracias!

Contest will end August 10, 2010.