Raising Spanish-speaking children in an English-speaking country can challenge the most capable of parents. Whether newly arrived to the country, or emerging from a Spanish-speaking home into the public school system, Spanish children can get lost in both language and cultural differences. Interactive and hands-on learning activities help engage these children to improve understanding and communication levels.
One of the best ways to get a Spanish child over his shyness in practicing English is to schedule play dates with native speakers. Invite a neighbor or friend over and encourage pretend play, such as going to McDonald’s to buy a Happy Meal or buying a ticket to a favorite movie. For younger children, ask them to talk about what they liked best about vacation, or to describe their favorite television program. Practicing with native speakers encourages new vocabulary and confidence in speaking.
Working on a project offers an interactive learning experience with computers and art. The computer isn’t scary anymore once children learn to copy and paste pictures, type simple documents and print them on paper. Project theme ideas include family albums, favorite animals or local places to visit. After a child completes her project, she can share it with the family and then display it on the refrigerator or mantle for all to admire.
Art is a universal language that can connect speakers of all languages. For a lesson about advanced colors, help your child cut out pictures from magazine and newspapers to discuss specific color names, such as fire-engine red, periwinkle or teal. Teaching the names of basic artist tools, like paint brushes and erasers, while creating a craft can increase vocabulary and hands-on understanding of the object.
Celebrating international holidays with your Spanish-speaking child maximizes entertainment and learning. Select and make recipes from various countries together and read about what life is like for kids in different places. Children can draw a favorite holiday memory and frame it to make a special keepsake.
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