Posts Tagged ‘teaching Spanish to children’

Unique Mom Invented Products featuring Bilingual Fun

Monday, March 8th, 2010


I had a great time on FOX News showcasing some fabulous Mom invented products! Bilingual Fun was honored to be featured!

Hispanic Heritage Month

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15- October 15

Our Bilingual Fun language program which focuses on teaching Spanish to children, celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with cultural activities in our Spanish classes. Our students have a great time as we celebrate with fiestas, musica, comida, and more!

Test your trivia knowledge with us!

Did you know?

1.Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

2. 45.5 million is the estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2007, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority.

3. 132.8 million is the projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30% of the nation’s population by that date.

4.Many adopted Spanish words are food terms, such as tamale, taco, salsa, cilantro, guacamole, enchilada, oregano, and burrito. They are usually used in their original Spanish forms. Others, such as tuna, which comes from the Spanish atún, are variations of the original.

5.The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore what is now the United States, and the first to found a permanent settlement here (St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565). From Alaska’s Madre de Dios Island to Mexico, Maine, the United States is dotted with Spanish place names. Others include: Las Cruces ( New Mexico)- the crosses, Boca Raton( FL)- mouth of the mouse, Los Angeles ( CA)- the angels, and Nevada- snow covered.

6. El cinco de mayo is commonly misinterpreted as Mexican Independance, but it is actually the victory of a battle in Puebla.

7.The first female Hispanic astronaut was Ellen Ochoa, whose first of four shuttle missions was in 1991.

8.Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner was Oscar Hijuelos, 1990, for his novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.

9.Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee: Carlos Santana, 1998.

10. Geraldo Rivera was Broadcaster of the Year in 1971.

Test your cultural Spanish knowledge. Try this quiz.

Looking for more activities to do with your family or children? Try these Hispanic Heritage Resources.

Idea Exchange

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Learning languages is more exciting and effective for children when games and interactive activities are incorporated. As a teacher, I have always been of the mindset that sharing and exhanging teaching tips makes things fresh and exciting. When I come up with a new lesson or game that is effective, I can’t wait to tell others about it!

In the language program that I run, I create and implement all of the lessons and activities for the students ranging in age from 18 months to adults. They cover a multitude of topics and themes, and I am always creating and searching for other fun ways to teach the language. Here are some of my favorite activities that work well in class and at home with my own children:

1. Colored Mats/Dancing: I use the mats from the CandyLand DVD game and play upbeat music. When the music stops, we all run to a colored mat. I ask ” Qué color?”. The kids all shout the color in Spanish. We do variations of dancing, marching, jumping, spinning, running, crawling,etc.

2. Duck, Duck, Goose: I choose 2 vocabulary words pertaining to our current theme. ( ex: perro/gato). The kids play the game using the Spanish vocabulary rather than the original. This is a great way to get the kids active and actually say the words aloud.

3. Latin Pop Music: this works best with tweens-adults. I choose a popular song from a popular artist ( some of my faves are Juanes, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Elvis Crespo, etc). I make copies of the song and we listen and sing it each day. We talk about relevent grammar and vocabulary. At the end of the week, I white out specific words in the song and test the students by having them fill in the blanks. Not only is this an excellent reinforcement of pronunciation, fluency, and listening comprehension, it is a great way to infuse some culture into the lesson.

4. The Cup Game: take 5 or 6 plain white plastic cups. Depending on the vocabulary you want to reinforce, attach either a picture or word to each cup ( animals, numbers, colors, etc). Turn all cups face down and hide a small object under one. Kids then have to guess where the object is. I always make a big deal of having all of the students ask the question ” Dónde está el carro?”. Then each child takes turns and has to guess by using the correct Spanish word on each cup. I use variations of this game for all ages and levels.

These are just a few fun ideas that have been popular with the children and teens that I work with. We would love to hear your input and experiences! Do you have any games or ideas that work well with your children at home?

Bilingual Babies

Friday, October 12th, 2007
I have been in awe and wonderment as my own children have developed so naturally with both English and Spanish. When they were very little, my husband and I spoke almost exclusively Spanish with them. As they have gotten older we have instituted certain routines and rituals into our daily lives. We have meals in Spanish, bath time in Spanish, and bedtime stories in Spanish. That is not to say that throughout the day we don’t communicate in Spanish, which we do often. We have just decided to make particular times of the day Spanish only, and we encourage our children to communicate and develop their vocabulary. When we travel to Mexico or visit our relatives, my children are able to communicate effectively and effortlessly. It is amazing to watch their development, as they just absorb and retain the language. As parents however, we need to make an conscientious effort to keep the language alive, so that the children do not fall into the rut of answering in English. As a teacher, I have seen so many children that fully understand a second language, but are not able to communicate because it was never enforced that they answer in the target language. Being bilingual is such an incredible gift, and although it may take some family effort and participation, encouraging your children to speak and practice will pay off in the long run!

Raising bilingual children often comes with some triumphs and blunders. My children’s personalities are very different and their learning styles were very different. My daughter merely absorbed the Spanish language and was speaking and understanding both languages well before she was 2. She also had the unique insight to know who spoke English and who spoke Spanish. She was very precise in who she addressed and in what language. My daughter also could easily switch from one language to another with an understanding of the difference between English and Spanish. My son, whom we affectionately refer to as ‘ el tremendo’ was and is a different story. Most of his first words were in Spanish and he understood commands and discipline very well in Spanish. I was not surprised at 16 months, his babysitter asked for ‘cheat sheet” of Spanish phrases that she could post on her fridge. I was so excited that she wanted to communicate with him and thought perhaps she wanted the basic ( colors, numbers, greetings, food). But no, she was interested in how to say ” get down, no climbing, no throwing, be careful, etc”. Apparently since we had not been disciplining him in English and he just didn’t respond to her! My son also spoke to whomever he wished in Spanish, seemingly having no clue if they were Spanish speakers or not. I often had confused looks from the nursery workers in the church as I dropped him off and heard him shouting ‘ pelota!”. Just as the language develops, everything begins to fall into place. Now at age three, he clearly understands the difference between Spanish and English and will respond appropriately when asked in each language. He still does respond better to discipline when spoken to in Spanish, but maybe that is because he is ‘el tremendo’.

Why did you decide to expose your child to a second language? Are you having success? Are you having problems? Do you have any funny stories to share? Do you have any questions about bilingual development? I would love to hear stories, suggestions, feedback about your experiences.


Thursday, September 27th, 2007

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage month, Bilingual Fun hosted a Family Fiesta where guests enjoyed an afternoon of culture and fun. Families enjoyed group Spanish lessons, sampling of authenitic Mexican food, live cooking demos, and professional Latin dance presentations. We ended the afternoon with a dance party, with everyone dancing merengue and salsa! A lively atmosphere, with upbeat music, delicious burritos, quesadillas, and salsa and families learning Spanish together allowed community members to learn more about our country’s Spanish speaking population. As a bilingual educator, teaching Spanish to children, I was proud that our event was able to showcase our unique program and to raise an awareness of early language instruction. With close to 200 hundred people attending our Fiesta, we were happy to benefit the Vistas Nuevas Head Start program, which serves the primarily Spanish speaking populuation of SW Detroit. Check out our fabulous participants! Mariachi Mexico Restaurant, Dancers Amy and Ray, Chef Brian Ramirez, Matrix Human Services
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