Last week we had our very first SpanglishBaby Playgroup in Los Angeles, made possible thanks to Southern California McDonald´s. We had such a blast and it was so gratifying to see our chiquitos playing together and hear them speak and sing in español!
We got together in this occasion to talk about the power of moms in creating a literay-rich environment for our kids. We were led by the wonderful Jo from the National Center for Family Literacy (you might recognize her as a frequent guest expert on Los Niños en Su Casa show) who showed us the countless ways we can, and most likely already are, exposing our kids to the basics of reading. Things like observing the signs on the streets and singing to them in the womb are all ways to enrich a child´s vocabulary and learning.
We found that all her literacy tips applied perfectly to creating a bilingual environment as well!
Check out some of the tips for building family literacy skills that completely apply to bilingualism:
- Read often to your child, consider it your special time together. Hearing stories helps your child recognize and remember words. And, hearing them en español (or any language you´re trying to immerse them in), provides another special moment to build their bilingual skills.
- Encourage your children to draw pictures and write notes to you, because learning to write goes hand-in-hand with learning to read. Studies also prove that learning to read and write in your native language is beneficial.
- Let your children count money and change when paying cash for purchases. Practicing adding and subtracting money improves math skills and helps your kid learn to count in Spanish.
We were also given a bag with books in Spanish and English as well as a white cardboard box with a handle so that we can convert it into a Writer´s Box. Such an amazing idea to encourage our niños to practice writing. The concept behind the writer´s box is that it can be used as a writing surface and items needed for writing are kept inside.
To make your own Writer´s Box just find a nice sturdy box, preferably with a handle, that can be easily opened from the top. Involve your child in the process and ask him what he wants to fill it in to be able to write and draw. Ideas are lead and color pencils, unlined paper in many sizes and color, eraser, tape, crayons, markers, rubber stamps, stencils, scissors, yarn, ruler, glue stick, stapler, hole punch, old magazines, etc..
Thank you to all who came to spend this quality time together. We really hope to be able to do this around the country and get to meet so many of you!
A huge thank you to McDonald´s for facilitating the space and the talk with The National Center for Family Literacy. We hope to have many more SpanglishBaby Playgroups in the near future because we recognize and are constant promoters of the power of moms and bilingual playgroups.
Disclosure: We were compensated for our time to make this playgroup event happen.