What can we do at home?
So it's the weekend... the summer... winter break... and you want to help your children keep their Spanish skills sharp. Here are some ideas to try:
- Listen and converse! Are there any Spanish-speaking adults or children in your life? Set aside time for your child to spend with them. Give your Spanish-speaking friends a friendly challenge to speak as much Spanish as possible.
- Music! Music has very strong ties to language learning, and also contributes to your child's development of cultural awareness. In the car, at home, anytime--play songs in Spanish!
- Read, read, read! If your child is already reading, provide access to picture books in Spanish or Spanish/English bilingual books.
- Find familiar materials in Spanish! Coloring books, simple games, computer games, favorite books--if it's something they know and love in English, see if you can switch it to Spanish or find a Spanish version.
- Learning Spanish through everyday activities - Some ideas from Mariana Swick at PBS
Things to Remember
- Do show your enthusiasm for learning languages! If you speak other languages, talk to your child about how that has changed your life. If you don't speak other languages, consider learning along with your child--or learning from them. Ask them to teach you what they're learning! It will show them you value Spanish and it will help reinforce their own knowledge.
- Children learn languages best in context. Try designating a time or place for Spanish, like a particular corner with Spanish materials or a block of time set aside in the day for listening to only Spanish music. This makes the language easier for your child's brain to absorb.